2 Corinthians 8

2 Corinthians 8: The Saints help the Poor

                Paul writes to the Corinthians and encourages them to donate their riches (or a portion of them) to the poor. Even those who don’t have much can give something. Those who give will see that; “…their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” (2 Corinthians 8:2)

                Paul puts his name on the line for Titus (who would be handling their money). Paul explains that even Christ was poor, but through His giving He became rich in spirit.

Luke 12

Luke 12: Much is Given, Much is expected

                Jesus teaches to a multitude that is without number, so much so that they were on top of each other to gather closer to Jesus. He teaches that “…there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid that shall not be known.” (Luke 12:2) The Kingdom of God is not secret, but sacred. Those things that we do not understand now, we will understand later, for all things will one day be revealed.

Jesus explains that we should no fear physical death, nor fear those who can bring inflict that death upon us; “…Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do… ye shall fear… him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell…” (Luke 12:4) We should never fear the power of humans, for if someone wants to kill, that is all they can do. No one, besides God can “kill” us beyond physical death. We have no need to fear man, but only God.

Jesus then reminds His followers that they are precious in the eyes of God; “…even the very hairs on your head all are numbered. Fear not therefore…” (Luke 12:7) Those who follow God, and do not deny Him, the same shall not be denied before the angels of heaven. Jesus warns, that those “…that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost… shall not be forgiven.” (Luke 12:10) But those who do follow the Holy Ghost do not need to fear before men; for unto him “…the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” (Luke 12:12)

                Jesus reminds the people that the animals (more specifically ravens/birds) of the world do not have storehouses, or farms. Yet “…God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?” (Luke 12:24) Essentially, God love us, and we needed to be reminded of His love. Jesus also explains that we should not have a “…doubtful mind… your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things…. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Luke 12:29-31)

Jesus teaches those gathered that where “…much is given, of him shall be much required…” (Luke 12:48) If the Lord blesses us, we have an obligation to repay that debt. We will be called upon.  Jesus ends His speaking in the chapter in a very interesting way, He asks; “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.” (Luke 12:51) So if Jesus is not come to give peace, He is come to cause division? He explains that, YES, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will cause division; “…there shall be five in one house divided… The father shall be divided against the son…” (Luke 12:52-52) etc.

This division I find to be very interesting, especially in the current time. Look at the United States of America, and the division that has been caused over the past decade or so. The country is almost 50% divided on issues. A house, divided cannot stand. Jesus knew this, and was telling His Apostles and followers that this would be a sign of the end times.

Jeremiah 35-36

Jeremiah 35-36

Chapter 35: Blessings for Obedience

The Lord commands Jeremiah to go and test the obedience of the Rechabites by essentially tempting them with wine. However after having wine placed before them they tell Jeremiah and those that are with him; “…We will drink no wine: for… our father commanded us… Ye shall drink no wine…” (Jeremiah 35:6) So even after being tempted they resisted and obeyed the commandment of the Lord. This is something we should learn from… even after temptation and perhaps peer pressure or pressure from the world to do something that goes against God’s commandments… WE CAN HAVE THE STRENGTH TO SAY NO!

The Lord commends and blesses the Rechabites, who obey the Lord by staying sober and not partaking of any wine.  Their obedience is contrasted with Judah and Jerusalem.

Chapter 36: Roll or Book

Word comes to Jeremiah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim. Using Baruch as his scribe, Jeremiah writes down his prophecies. Baruch reads them publicly upon a fast day in the temple, where the princes hear him, and decide to tell the king of what they are preaching while at the same time advising both Jeremiah and Baruch to hide. Jehoiakim has the roll thrown into the fire, and orders Jeremiah and Baruch to be seized. The Lord conceals them and then later commands Jeremiah to rewrite the roll, and denounces the burning of the roll.

 

Jeremiah 5-6

Jeremiah 5-6

Chapter 5: Sin= Less or No Blessings

Judah’s iniquities are recounted. It will be destroyed by a strange nation whose tongue is unknown. Their “…prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them…” (Jeremiah 5:13) They continue to serve strange gods. The Lord calls out to Judah; “Hear now this, O foolish people and without understanding; which have eyes and see not; which have hears and hear not: Fear ye not me? Saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence…” (Jeremiah 5:21-22) The people of Judah did not listen to the Lord. Because they have strayed from His path and committed sin the Lord calls out; “…your sins have withhoden good things from you.” (Jeremiah 5:25) Because of evil and sin, the Lord can and will hold blessings that could be yours. If we are not willing to the live the Gospel and follow the Lord’s commandments he is not bound to bless us.

In Doctrine and Covenants we read “I, the Lord am bound wjem ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10) So if we strive to do what is right and generally do what is right, we are entitled to more blessings from the Lord and He will not have to withhold those blessings from us. However, in the case of Judah they have strayed from the Lord and therefore the Lord will not protect it.

Chapter 6: Jerusalem shall be destroyed

Jerusalem will be made desolate, because they did not hearken unto the word of the Lord.

“To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? …behold the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.” (Jeremiah 6:10)

In the Last days, like Jerusalem the people will become ashamed of the word of the Lord and will no longer listen. Because of this Jerusalem with be destroyed and punished for its transgressions by a nation from the north. This nation is cruel and will have no mercy. Repent.

Proverbs 27-28

Proverbs 27-28

Chapter 27: Hell is Never Full

“Open rebuke is better than secret love.” (Proverbs 27:5)

It is better to show/express your feelings of love rather than hide them.

“A prudent man foeseeth the evil…” (Proverbs 27:12) If we put our trust in the Lord, the spirit will guide us to know what to do. In many cases we will be warned of a bad situation (evil) and be able to avoid it.

Essentially we need to be careful because… EVIL is always around us and Hell is never full.

Chapter 28: A Faithful Man Receives Blessings

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper…” (Proverbs 28:13)

                We shouldn’t try to hide our sins, we should always try to confess them and avoid them all together.

“He that is of a proud heart sirreth up strife (conflict or trouble): but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.” (Proverbs 28:25) Pride is not good, humble yourself before the Lord!

1 Kings 9-10

1 Kings 9-10

Chapter 9: Promises of Blessings

The Lord again appears to Solomon and promises him great blessings if the Israelites are obedient and great cursing’s if they chose to forsake the Lord. Solomon reigns with power, authority and splendor. He is able to levy a tribute on all the non-Israelite residents and starts his own Navy.

Chapter 10: Queen of Sheba Visits King Solomon

Because of the great success of King Solomon as nearby Queen, the Queen of Sheba hears about this and decides to see for herself, because she did not believe what she heard. So she travels to meet King Solomon, and with her she travels as a train of camels carrying all manner of riches. When she arrives and meets King Solomon she says;

“…It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believe not the words until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame I heard” (1 Kings 10:6-7)

How often do people down play something they heard? Never. Which means that until you met King Solomon in person you would never be able to understand the kind of wisdom and wealth that he was in possession of.

It says that King Solomon exceeded the wealth of any other leader in the world at that time. It goes on to say that the entire world longed to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. He was so well liked that every year he would receive gifts of gold, silver and fine things.

 

2 Samuel 21-22

2 Samuel 21-22

Chapter 21: The Lord Sends a Famine

The Lord sends a famine to Israel, while King David reigned, the famine lasted for 3 years. David went to the Lord and inquired of the reasoning behind the famine. The Lord responded by saying that it was because of Saul and what he had done to the Gibeonites. So David goes to them and asks them how he can atone for what Saul had done. They respond by telling him that they want nothing more than the sons of Saul to be hanged unto the Lord. So David sends all of the children of Saul, except Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan who was the son of Saul.

7 of the children of Saul are delivered to the Gibeonites and are hanged on the first day of the barley harvest. Rizpah, who was the mother of two of Saul’s children held a vigil over the dead bodies until it rained. This means that the famine was over and justice had finally been brought to Israel. David finds the bones of Saul and Jonathan and takes them along with the seven to give them a proper burial.

During a battle with the Philistines, David grows weak and is almost killed by one of the descendents of Goliath, but Abishai saves him. David grows older and older, but with the help of his other three servants; Sibbechai, Elhanan, and Jonathan… Israel is able to continue in power! By the hand of David and his servants, they killed Goliath and all his giant offspring.

Chapter 22: The Lord Blesses Those Who Trust Him

David sings praise to the Lord. The entire chapter has a Psalm sort of feel to it, so I will include the verses that I felt most important in my reading.

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter unto his ears” (2 Samuel 22:7) – Some people believe that God has abandoned them in their times of trouble. On July 8, 1838, Joseph Smith was in distress. He along with other leaders of the restored church of Jesus Christ , were locked up in prison (for no reason). Joseph Smith was hungry, tired and sick. Not only were Joseph and his leaders suffering in prison, but members of the church all over were being persecuted, raped and murdered! He cried out to the Lord; “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavillion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1-3)

                The Lord responded; “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure well, God shall exhalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8). So what do we learn here? We learn that even in the darkest of hours, the Lord is with us. Often times we do not fully understand the “WHY”, but the Lord does and he needs us to be patient and endure well. Maybe he is training us for something worse, or setting us up for something better. We never know, but if we are loyal to him, we will have the power to triumph over all our foes.

David continues with his Psalm; and says that “With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward (deceitful, perverted or crooked) thou wilt she thyself unsavoury.” (2 Samuel 22:27). Essentially if we are good and follow God’s commandments, we will always see the good in God and feel of his love and warmth. But if we are deceitful, perverted or crooked, we will always see God in a different light and we will think of him as bad. Why? Because those who are perverted or crooked, will never feel the warmth and love of God, like those who love God and show their love, by following his commandments!

“It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me” (2 Samuel 22:48). Essentially, we must sometimes give up our hate and just love our enemies and let God deal with their mis-deeds.

Deuteronomy 29-30

Deuteronomy 29-30

Chapter 29: Obedience=Blessings, Disobedience= Cursing

Israel makes a covenant with the Lord that if they are obedient they will be blessed and if they are disobedient they shall be cursed.

In verse 6, it states that they knew God by not eating or drinking wine. Two ways to take this, fasting (by abstaining from food and water, helps you to feel the spirit), or that not drinking alcohol (keeping your body a temple and treating it that way, helps you to see God, sober.)

I personally believe that it is a combination of both, fasting and abstaining from Alcohol. Moses also says that they who disobey the Lord will be cursed, like the cursing of the book (of Deuteronomy). In verse 29 it talks about the secrets of the Lord can be revealed. How can you have revelation if the Canon of the Bible is closed? You can’t. That is why the LDS church believes that there is an open Canon.

Chapter 30: Blessings and Curses

When Israel scatters, the Lord promises to gather them again. The Lord tells the people that he will remember the covenant that he has made with them. Moses tells the people that they can either live or die, but they must obey the commandments if they want blessings. OR they can be cursed with all manner of curses.

VERSE 6-7, Love God with all your heart and mind, and he shall curse your enemies.

VERSE 14-17, Listen to God and do what he wants or you WILL fall away!

Deuteronomy 27-28

Deuteronomy 27-28

Chapter 27: Cursed Be…

Israel will cross Jordan to build an altar and worship the Lord. The Children of Israel, are the Lord’s people, but curses shall be among them if they do not obey him.

Moses speaks to the congregation of Israel and outlines the curses that can be brought among them if they chose to disobey him:

  • Cursed be… “…the man that maketh any graven images or molten images…” (Deuteronomy 27:15)
    • Don’t worship other gods.
    • Cursed be… “…he that setteth light by his father or his mother (setteth light: disgraces)…” (Deuteronomy 27:16)
      • Don’t disgrace your parents.
      • Cursed be… “…he that removeth his neighbors landmark…” (Deuteronomy 27:17)
        • Don’t steal property.
        • Cursed be… “…he that perverteth the judgement of the stranger, fatherless, and widow…” (Deuteronomy 27:18)
          • Don’t falsely accuse someone of something that they did not do.
          • Cursed be… “…he that lieth with his father’s wife…” (Deuteronomy 27:19)
            • Incest is an abomination.
            • Cursed be… “…he that lieth with any manner of beast…” (Deuteronomy 27:20)
              • Bestiality is an abomination.
              • Cursed be… “…he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother…” (Deuteronomy 27:22)
                • Again, Incest is an abomination.
                • Cursed be… “…he that lieth with his mother in law…” (Deuteronomy 27:23)
                  • Sexual sin.
                  • Cursed be… “…he that smiteth his neighbor secretly…” (Deuteronomy 27:24)
                    • Don’t gossip or accuse someone falsely.
                    • Cursed be… “…he that taketh a reward to slay an innocent person…” (Deuteronomy 27:25)
                      • Don’t murder for money or power.
                      • Cursed be… “…he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them…” (Deuteronomy 27:26)
                        • Anyone who disagrees with the laws, shall be cursed.

Chapter 28: Blessings and Curses

If Israel is obedient they shall be blessed both spiritually and temporally (blessed in the things of God and the world). If the children of Israel disobey they shall be cursed, smitten and destroyed. The curses that lurk are; plagues, diseases, and oppression from foreign lands. If the congregation of Israel worships false gods, they will be enslaved by foreign powers, and will have their children eaten, yes eaten (see verse52-53).