By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Just Be a Little Better Than You Were Yesterday

One of the things that President Hinckley would sometimes talk about was being just a littler better each day. He would encourage us to stand a little taller, be a little kinder, and so forth. That approach appeals to me a great deal, as I tend to overwhelm myself with overly ambitious plans.

It isn't that we should not have plans and goals, but rather that we should find an opportunity each day to be a little better in order to strengthen ourselves and build up our stamina in every area. Can we be a little more patient and understanding? Can we be a little more persistent and diligent? Can we be a littler kinder and more considerate? Can we work just a little harder and complete one more small item on our to-do list? Can we spend a little more time with a loved one, listening and comforting and encouraging? Can we perform one more small act of service? Can we make our prayers and scripture study a little more meaningful?

There are so many things that we could do just a little better each day and, in the process, improve not only our own lives, but the lives of those around us. To me, this view of improvement breaks things down into bite-sized pieces that are more easily managed than the sometimes grandiose schemes we formulate in our minds. God is long-suffering and patient with us. We should be the same with ourselves.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Is Finding God Really So Hard?

Sometimes I think we humans have a tendency to make things harder than they need to be.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to seek God and to find Him. I've come to the rather simple conclusion that finding God and coming to really know Him is done by prayer, scripture study, obeying His commandments, and generally living the gospel. It's easy to think we have to study a lot of philosophy and commentary by experts (so-called) and investigate a lot of religions and so forth. When we do that, though, I think we are actually seeking ourselves. That is, we are looking for ideas and philosophies that are agreeable to us and that are simple to do or to think, requiring little or no action on our part.

If we like to study, but are a bit on the lazy side about serving others or otherwise obeying God, it's easy to occupy our time "looking" for God, hoping to find an easy God who asks little of us. God is merciful and long-suffering, but He is not an indulgent grandfather who is okay with us doing or not doing what we please, regardless of what that is. God loves us and wants us to grow and progress and become the best that we can in all areas. Common sense, as well as the scriptures, let us know that that is not always easy. We have duties, obligations, responsibilities, stewardships. We are accountable for our choices, if not now, then eventually.

Man-made ideas and philosophies and solutions may sound good, but are they really good and right and true? Do they really bring out the best in us and help us to find the real God, the one that wants so much for us to return to Him and to have a joyous eternity? As we think things through, we begin to see the shortcomings of man's notions and to understand that following an omniscient, omnipotent God who loves us is where we will find all good things, including God Himself.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Nephi's Psalm

2 Nephi 4:15-35

15 And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.
16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. 18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.
25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them. 26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.


Friday, February 01, 2008


We had a bit of a snowstorm yesterday. It was still warm enough that when I went to work, I didn't have any trouble. By the time we got off work yesterday evening, though, it had turned icy. Not fun, but I did get home safely.

I took a vacation day today (I have about 4 weeks of vacation saved up and get another day and a half every month.) since I had a routine doctor's appointment. Naturally, since I wasn't in any hurry, I got right in and out! Then I did a few errands and came home. It was still a little icy this morning. We got down to 15 for our morning low. We've had sunshine, though, and it's supposed to reach a high of about 49, so everything should melt.

There are too many distractions in this old world, if you ask me. I sometimes wish I lived in a simpler time, although I sure like our modern conveniences. I am thankful to live in a time when the restored gospel is again on earth, too. It's just that there are so many things to think about and do. There is so much information floating around out there, not to mention entertainment. Priorities and goals help, but those distractions are there, distracting us. Focus and concentration--two attributes I need to work on. Not to mention patience.