Titus 1

Titus 1: Eternal Life Promised before the World was

                Paul writes to Titus, and explains to him that eternal life was “…promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:2) Paul explains that a bishop has stewardship over the flock of God; “…a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, not given to filthy lucre. But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort [urge] and convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:7-9)

Paul explains that a Bishop must be all of those things, because of men who try to change the truth and lead people away by the “…commandments of men…” (Titus 1:14) For these people “…profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient…” (Titus 1:16)

John 8

John 8: He that is without Sin, cast the First Stone!

                Jesus leaves and goes into the mount of Olives, before returning to the Temple to teach those gathered. Shortly after being in the temple, the scribes and Pharisees bring in a woman and throw her before Jesus saying; “…this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” (John 8:4-5) It is clear that the scribes and the Pharisees were only trying to tempt Jesus and catch Him in a trap. Jesus however, stooped down and began to write on the ground with His finger as if He did not hear what they just said. This angered the scribes and the Pharisees and they persisted in asking Jesus what He thought of the woman and the sin she had just performed. Jesus said to them; “…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7) Upon hearing this and after the conscience of their own guilt they began to leave one by one, until only the woman and Jesus were left. When Jesus saw that no one else was around, He lifted up His head and asked the woman; “…Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?” (John 8:10) The woman responded; “…No man, Lord.” (John 8:11) Jesus then tells her; “…Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)

Jesus takes the opportunity to teach those who had gathered; “…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12) The Scribes and the Pharisees attack Him for bearing record of Himself, Jesus explains that even if He bears record of Himself, it is still true. He explains that the Father bears record of Him and He bears record of the Father. He reminds them that in their law; “…the testimony of two men is true.” (John 8:17) The Scribes and Pharisees foolishly ask where His Father is, and Jesus explains that if they knew the Father, they would have known His Son also.

Jesus tells them; “…When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me I speak these things.” (John 8:28) Essentially we learn here that Jesus is the Son of God, and being so means that the Son and the Father are two separate and individual beings, one in purpose. Jesus tells those gathered that if they follow Him, they shall be set free. This, asking how they could be free if they were never in bondage confused some. Jesus explains; “…Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (John 8:34)

Even so, many sought to kill Jesus. Saying that they were the children of Abraham and because of Abraham they were children of the Father. Jesus tells them; “…If God were your Father, ye would love me; for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? …Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:42-43)

                The Scribes and Pharisees then say that Jesus has a devil inside of Him (which makes no sense, He just said that the Devil was evil, and evil spirit would never say such a thing) Even after Jesus explains that He doesn’t have an evil spirit, they persist. Jesus tells them that if anyone follows Him, they shall not see death. Jesus of course was speaking of Spiritual Death, but the Scribes and Pharisees said that he definitely has a devil, asking Him; “Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead?” (John 8:53)

Jesus explains that “…Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56) The Jews were angry at this point and asked Jesus; “…Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” (John 8:57) They just didn’t get it, because they did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, nor the Son of God. Jesus answered them, saying; “…Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) The Jews were even more angered and picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus escaped.

So who is I AM? In the Old Testament we read about the God of the Old Testament, known as Jehovah, who said he was the great I AM. When Moses was speaking to God and asking Him who he should tell his people that sent him; “…God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM… Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you…” (Exodus 3:14-15) Therefore, the reason Jesus knew Abraham, is because He was His God. He was His Father, and Jesus Christ’s Father was God the Eternal Father.

Ezekiel 13-14

Ezekiel 13-14

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

People will always be led away by a false preacher. I personally had the opportunity to visit a number of religious organizations last year, I felt that I needed to see and participate in services that were different from my own. I found that a number of congregations had good hearted people that were seeking the Lord. However I was disgusted to find many churches, whose so called “Pastor” would lead his people astray. He spoke nonsense, but the scriptures were true! In the hallway of the church, before the services… the pastor would setup a table of bread, with a sign that read “take what you need”. Innocent enough, to make anyone believe that it was for a good cause. But the people that came, were not only given free bread… but a constant reassurance that they were saved, just on the act of believing. How deceiving! How wrong! People, will always be led astray!

Chapter 13: False Prophets

The word of the Lord comes to Ezekiel and the Lord tells Ezekiel to go unto the people and say; “Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” (Ezekiel 13:3)

God is not happy with the false prophets that have risen only to entrap the souls of those who listen to them. God mentions that he will break down the walls of their intuitions (false churches) because their walls were built with un-tempered mortar (or in other words poorly built). God speaks to the false prophets “…ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread… by your lying” (Ezekiel 13:19) and “…with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad… and strengthed the hands of the wicked… by promising him life.” (Ezekiel 13:22)

                God is speaking directly to these false prophets, who literally bring people to their church by offering free bread and telling them that they can be saved. Salvation is a FREE gift of God, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This is absolutely TRUE! However, what many people fail to understand is that it DOES NOT guarantee our return to God. Jesus Christ died for our sins, to give us the OPPORTUNITY to be SAVED! For the Bible makes it clear; “… though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? … Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead…” (James 2:14, 17)

No one can just say, “I accept Jesus in my heart” and be done. To accept Jesus Christ, we accept the challenge of becoming like him, to follow him.  As a disciple, who is disciplined in following the commandments.

Chapter 14: The Lord will not answer to the evil-doers

“…they are all estranged from me through their idols.” (Ezekiel 14:5)

God speaks to Ezekiel and tells him that the people have forsaken him and have pursued after false gods and have listened to false prophets that have led them astray. Ezekiel cries repentance!

Jeremiah 23-24

Jeremiah 23-24

Chapter 23: False Prophets

Woe to those that have scattered the sheep of the Lord’s pasture. A king shall arise from the branch of David, and he shall be called the King of Righteousness (Jesus Christ). Jeremiah writes; “Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man…” (Jeremiah 23:9) The priests and prophets of Judah are wicked, and divine vengeance is hanging over them. The people should not listen to their false promises: they will face destruction if they do.

Jeremiah continues to write about the land being filled with evil and “…swearing…” (Jeremiah 23:10) which goes to show that keeping your words clean is important to God. Jeremiah writes that “…both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness…” (Jeremiah 23:11) The so called prophets of the Lord have “…caused my [God’s] people Israel to err.” (Jeremiah 23:13) But the Lord counsels the people that are hearing the false prophets; “…Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say… unto them… Ye shall have peace; and they say unto you everyone one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” (Jeremiah 23:16-17) The world today is filled with prophets/pastors who say that as long as you profess the name of the Lord you shall be saved. It doesn’t matter what you do! But in reality, it does matter what you do! If you don’t make proper choices, like following all of God’s commandments, your calling of the Lord in your heart is in vain.

Jeremiah tells us that “…in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” (Jeremiah 23:20). Jeremiah was right! We are in the latter days and we are seeing it happen, perfectly, all around us. I hear you can’t do wrong, and if for some reason you do… confess the name of God in your heart, accept Him as your Savior and you will be freed from sin! Do you realize what kinds of lies are being taught? The people are being misled and because of the false teacher/preacher/pastor/prophet they are causing the Lord’s people to err.

So if there are so many False Prophets, how do we know which ones are TRUE messengers of God? Well this is where we get into a very unique LDS Doctrine. In the past God has called prophets, like Jeremiah for instance, but God knew that they would not believe him, so He gave Jeremiah “fruits” to prove that he was a messenger of God. Jesus speaks of these False Prophets and gives a formula for proving their truthfulness… “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-17)

Jesus tells us that good prophets (men who are called of God, and given His authority to act and speak in His name) will bring forth good fruits, and bad or FALSE prophets will show forth evil or rotten fruit. It goes on to say “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruity… Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:18,20)

In the LDS church, we have a church that was RESTORED. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the RESTORE church of Jesus Christ. God restored HIS church through the hand of Joseph Smith and continues on this day with a living Prophet and Apostles. No other church on earth has this, the Authority and power of God is back on the earth! How can you know this to be true? God gave Joseph Smith a “Fruit” to prove that he was truly called of God. This fruit is known as the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the Ancient record of the people of the Americas, which was buried for thousands of years! God told Joseph Smith the location of this ancient buried record and had him translate it from an ancient language. The Book of Mormon is the fruit. If anyone wants to know the truth of these statements they must read the Book of Mormon and ask God themselves to manifest the truthfulness of this message.

Chapter 24: Jews shall be scattered and cursed

A vision after Jeconiah had been taken away captive: good figs and bad figs. The good figs symbolize those the Lord shall preserve in captivity, and the bad figs Zedekiah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem, and those that dwell in Egypt. A scattering of people will occur.

Proverbs 13-14

Proverbs 13-14

Chapter 13: Evil Pursues the Sinner

This, like many of the Proverbs has many words of wisdom, here are the ones I think are most important, followed by my thoughts.

“There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” (Proverbs 13:7)

                Sweet and simple… MONEY is not everything. You can be happy with money or without and sad with money or without money.

                “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 10:10)

                When people “have to be right” and cannot swallow their pride, you will have arguments.

                “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” (Proverbs 13:11)

                Money gained through unethical or immoral means will really have no value. However, money that is earned through ethical and moral means will mean something. Essentially, having money is not a bad thing; it is what you chose to do with it that makes you a good or bad person. If you worked hard for your money, it is yours to keep!

“Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.” (Proverbs 13:21)

                Anytime you sin, evil is drawn in and will surround you.

“A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…” (Proverbs 13:22)

                A good man will leave behind something of himself to his children and grandchildren. I don’t believe that this has to just be money… it could be a life lesson or some sort of family heirloom or tradition.

“He that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24)

                Those parents who refrain from disciplining their children are bad parents. If a child does not hate or despise their parents at one point in their life, then they have failed. Sometimes parents have to be tough… even if that include a smack on the head or a spanking. There is a difference between tough love and abuse. Good parents know that sometimes you have to do these things.

Chapter 14: Truth and Lies

“A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies… knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth. Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceives not in him the lips of knowledge.” (Proverbs 14:5-7)

                Those who are going to lie, are going to lie. If someone is doing that and is acting foolishly… don’t converse with that person… go from them!

                “Fools make a mock at sin…” (Proverbs 14:9)

                We see a lot of this in the modern world, those who say that the Bible is silly or that religion is silly… or even that God doesn’t exist. One person who does not find this mocking to be amusing is God, so we shouldn’t give into those fools.

                “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” (Proverbs 14:15)

                This is something very interesting and I find to be a great principle in the LDS church… One of our fundamentals states: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (Articles of Faith, 11)

                Right there it states that men are free to choose. We shouldn’t believe every word, we should question and question some more. Then we can know for ourselves and not follow what someone else tells us.

                “A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.” (Proverbs 14:25)

                Many churches out there are sadly built for gain. This does not discredit good churches with good church-goers. But those who are “true” witnesses will not speak lies and will only have a desire to save souls.

                “Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.” (Proverbs 14:33)

                If you are among fools, you too will become one or be known as one.

 

Psalms 57-58

Psalms 57-58

Chapter 57: David Pleads for Mercy

To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, Mitcham of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.

                As David is now fleeing from Saul and hiding in a cave he writes this Psalm. He pleads with the Lord to have mercy on him and gives glory unto Him!

He explains his situation like this; “My soul is among lions: and I lie… among them… the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue is a sharp sword.” (Psalms 57:4)

                David asks the Lord to prepare a net for his steps, for his protection.

Chapter 58: The Wicked Speak Lies

To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, Mitcham of David..

                David asks the Lord to not only save him from his enemies, but also for the Lord to destroy his enemies. He tells the Lord to “Break their teeth… break out the great teeth of the young lions…” (Psalms 58:6)

He tells us that by having the Lord kill these wicked men that intend to harm David that the people can see that the righteous are rewarded and the Lord will judge the earth.

 

2 Samuel 11-12

2 Samuel 11-12

Chapter 11: David Lies with Bath-sheba

The start of the chapter begins with David and his men going into battle to destroy the children of Ammon, and Rabbah. While in Jerusalem, David (from the roof top) notices a very beautiful woman bathing, her name; Bath-sheba.

David decides that he really likes this woman and has she called into see him. He “lies” with her and she ends up conceiving a child. David calls for the Bath-sheba’s husband and has him come to his home. There he gives him food and tells him to wait with him, until the morning. So Uriah (husband to Bath-sheba) stays with David, in the morning David has it arranged so Uriah will go back to battle and puts him on the front lines so that he will surely die in battle, and he does. Now David can be with Bath-sheba and have her, for himself!

Chapter 12: Plural Marriage

This chapter follows directly from the last chapter, where essentially David lusted after another man’s life (against the 10 commandments) and took her to be his wife, after he arranged for her husband to be “killed” in battle.

The Lord is not happy with this, so he sends Nathan to talk to David and this is what David said;

“…there were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb (a young female sheep), which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveler unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man who was come to him,” (2 Samuel 12:1-4)

                So to sum it up, this story is about one rich man and one poor man. The rich man had everything and the poor man had nothing, except one lamb. So the rich man, instead of killing one of his own lambs for a feast decides to kill the one the poor man has and take everything from him.

When David hears this, he is outraged and tells Nathan that the man who had done this must die! Nathan tells David that HE IS THAT MAN! Nathan tells David that the Lord had given him everything, the Lord anointed him King over Israel, gave him wives, cattle, sheep and a home. But he still had to go and despise God, by breaking one of his commandments and lusting after another man’s wife. Not only did he lust after her, he committed adultery with her and then had her husband “killed” in battle so he could have her.

So the Lord tells Nathan that because of this, he will take everything from David and his wives will be given to his neighbors. The Lord says that David committed adultery in secret, but he will punish him openly and publicly.

So here is a question; is plural marriage bad? The LDS church practiced plural marriage from about 1850 to 1890, the LDS church practiced plural marriage for about 4 decades. Many people condemned the church for this practice, but right here in the Bible it gives us an insight into plural marriage. We know that David had many wives, but he got in trouble for taking another wife. Why? Was it because of plural marriage? No, because David already had wives which the Lord had given him. So we learn that when God authorizes plural marriage it is ok. In the case of plural marriage in the LDS church, often times the woman (after having their husbands killed to mobs, who disliked the church) were left as widows. In the 1800’s being a widow was not a good thing, because woman had very few rights. So the wealthier more prominent and righteous men took them into their own homes as their “wives”, this gave them a place to live and a status in that era. Most of the time, the men still only had sexual relations with their original wife. Not all men in the church could have plural marriage, the prophet through the guidance of God would choose who could and could not have multiple wives. This was due to the fact that the Lord knew certain men would abuse this.

So, moving on… David repents and feels really bad for having committed this sin.  But the Lord causes the child he had with Bath-sheba to come down with a sickness. So David fasts for several days and lays himself on the earth in prayer and sadness. Even with all this prayer and fasting, the Lord’s will was different from David’s and his son still passed away. But David arose from the earth, washed and anointed himself in the temple, changed his clothing and worshiped the Lord (2 Samuel 12:20) – this shows the importance of Temples, something that the LDS church has today.

Bath-sheba was really upset (and rightfully so, her son had just died), but David comforts her and “lies down” with her, and she conceives another son, and they name the son; Solomon. The Lord is pleased with Solomon and blesses him. David conquers the Royal City of the Ammonites.