Titus 2

Titus 2: Saints Live Righteously

                Paul explains that as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, the Saints should; “…teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncoruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again.” (Titus 2:4-9)

Essentially Members of the Church, also known as “Saints” should teach their young to be clean, righteous, full of good works and to be sincere in doctrine and in life. Paul promises that if we refrain from ungodliness, we will overcome the world and live to see the “…glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

1 Corinthians 11

1 Corinthians 11: Hair and Grooming

                Paul invites everyone to be followers of Christ, he explains that the head of man is Christ and the head of Christ is God and the head of the woman is man. Paul explains that when you pray you should not have your head covered; “Every man praying… having his head covered, dishonoureth his head [Christ]” (1 Corinthians 11:4) essentially those who pray with a hat on or having their head covered are being disrespectful to God.

Here is where the idea of a woman needing to cover herself up comes from… “…if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn [to be broken off]…” (1 Corinthians 11:6) So the question is, does a woman need to be covered up? Let’s remember a few things…

“And God said, Let us [Our Heavenly Parents ‘Father and Mother’] make man in our own image, after our likeness… God created man in his own image… male and female…” (Genesis 1:26-27)

So God said ‘let us’ create man in our own image, male and female. Does that mean that we have a Heavenly Mother and Father? I believe we do, and while there isn’t much information about our Heavenly Mother, one LDS Hymn hints that our Heavenly Mother does exist: “When I leave this frail existence, When I lay this mortal by, Father, Mother, may I meet you In your royal courts on high?” (LDS Hymns, 292)

So, if we have a Heavenly Mother and the head of the woman is the man, does that mean that women are beneath men? No. In fact, God puts women as equal to men; “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:11) Therefore men and women are equal and in marriage should act as EQUAL partners.

Paul goes on to give some great advice:

“Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” (1 Corinthians 11:14) Men should be clean shaven and properly groomed.

“But if any many seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” (1 Corinthians 11:16) Anyone who likes to argue the things of God, outside of  constructive discussions regarding faith is contentious and is not welcome among the Churches of God. Basically, different beliefs and religions should be respected. Disagreeing with someone else’s beliefs is ok, but criticizing them for their beliefs is wrong.

“…he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself…” (1 Corinthians 11:29) Do not partake of the Sacrament unworthily, or else you will drink unto damnation.

1 Corinthians 2

1 Corinthians 2: “The Mormons” – We have the Mind of Christ

                When I was serving a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Honduras, I was often ridiculed for my faith. I would run into people that would tell me that I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ. I would point out to them that the Church has the NAME of Jesus Christ in it. But usually that wouldn’t be enough. For those who are reading this now… I testify that Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.ka. “Mormons”) absolutely believe in Jesus Christ. He is central to the Plan of Happiness and ONLY through Jesus Christ can we be saved. I know He is my redeemer, He is MY Savior and He is YOUR Savior. For this purpose, I always called this chapter of 1 Corinthians “The Mormons” – We have the Mind of Christ. Because we do, we believe on Him.

                Paul comes to the Corinthians and explains that he is not perfect, but that through the Spirit and through the Power of God, he came to them as an Apostle of the Lord;

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

                Even in during this time, False teachers had come forth… enticing men by the slight of their words. Paul explained that he was a simple man, called of God to preach the Gospel. He knew that he was flawed, but knew that God was there for him. He came demonstrating the Power of God, not of Men.

Sometimes when we think of God and His dealings with us, we sell ourselves short. The bottom line is that, GOD LOVES US! We are His children and He would do ANYTHING for us. When we are sad, He is sad! When we are happy, He rejoices with us. Paul reminds us that; “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

                Paul goes on to explain that we can receive the Spirit of God, which is FREELY given to us. With this power we can have the ability to speak with the wisdom that comes from the Holy Ghost and not from the wisdom taught of men. Paul explains that Spiritual matters need to be compared, understood and taught I a Spiritual manner. Those who have the natural man, do not receive the Spiritual things of God, for they are foolishness to them!

                “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-15)

                Essentially Paul is saying that if you want to know if something is of God, you must come to that knowledge not through the wisdom of God, but through the wisdom of the Holy Ghost, the Spiritual Wisdom.

Paul closes by saying that the Church has the mind of Christ; “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Romans 1

Romans 1: The Power of the Gospel unto the Salvation of God’s Children

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ and called as an Apostle and being separated unto the Gospel of God; writes to the Romans. Paul testifies of Jesus Christ, being the Son of God and that through the faith on His name [Jesus Christ] the Saints can overcome. Paul explains that he is in debt with not only God, but the Greeks, Barbarians and the Romans themselves. Paul explains that he is “…not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

Paul explains his desires to come to Rome. He exhorts the Saints in Rome to live their lives by Faith. He reminds them to not boast in their abilities, for their fathers of old; “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:22) They became fools, by changing the glory of God. They turned the simple truths of God into something more corrupt, like men. Because of this corruption, God sent sufferings to all men who despised His name.

Paul warns of those who change the natural order of the role of men and women (homosexuality). He warns of those who participate in “…all unrighteousness, fornication [Sex outside of Marriage], wickedness, covetousness [eagerness to possess something, not belonging to yourself], maliciousness [the need to see others suffer]… envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity [wishing evil to others]; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents…” (Romans 1:29-30)

Matthew 4

Matthew 4:

Jesus Tempted of the Devil

 

                Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, because of this Jesus fasted for “…forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.” (Matthew 4:2)

After he had fasted for many days, Satan came to tempt Jesus.

Satan tries to use his incredible knowledge of the gospel and the scriptures to trick Jesus. Remember just because Satan is evil, does not mean that he is dumb. In fact, I would say that second to only Jesus and God the Eternal Father, Satan’s scripture knowledge tops the charts.

Satan tries to outsmart Jesus…

“…If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” (Matthew 4:3)

Jesus responds quickly and firmly; “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

Satan then takes Jesus upon the top of the pinnacle of the temple and tells him; “…If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Matthew 4:6)

Jesus responds simply; “…It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matthew 4:7)

Upon Satan’s last and desperate try to trick Jesus, takes Him upon the top of an exceedingly high mountain top and shows Jesus the kingdoms of the world and tells Him; “…All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:9)

Jesus at this point has had enough and tells Satan; “…Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10)

Even the most spiritually grounded individuals; the ones that wear the armor of God can be weakened and beaten down. Jesus, after having fasted for 40 days and nights was at one of the weakest moments in his earthly life. He let Satan tempt him 3 times, each time resisting his demands. By doing so, Jesus was able to feel the pressure of evil temptation from the devil himself! These temptations allowed Jesus to enter into our own shoes, so that he would know what we would go through during our lives. Jesus suffered the greatest temptations, and yet overcame them for our benefit.

In the end, Satan was spewing lies. Could he have offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world? No, because they were never his to give. Jesus knew this and garnered enough strength to fight the adversary and become triumphant. We too can overcome Satan’s temptations and become triumphant! After Jesus casts Satan out of his presence, angels came to administer to Jesus. If we focus on ridding the devil from our own lives and overcome the temptations of the world, we too can feel the presence of administering angels.

With full strength and victory over evil, Jesus departs into Galilee to follow word that John the Baptist has been imprisoned. From that time forward; “…Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) Jesus walks by the Sea of Galilee and calls the fisherman; “…Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) These men, being called to serve “…straightway left their nets, and followed him.” (Matthew 4:20). In the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there is no waiting, there is no hesitation. When you are called to serve, to preach the word of God you GO and you DO.

Jesus began his ministry and “…went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Matthew 4:23)

 

 

Isaiah 25-26

Isaiah 25-26

Chapter 25: Tyre shall be overthrown

God is praised for his righteous judgment, and for assisting the needy. A feast will be prepared on Zion. Death will be swallowed up forever, and all tears wiped away.

“…Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord…” (Isaiah 25:9)

People will proclaim a God they have waited for, and who has saved them.
The pride of Moab will be brought down, as the Lord spreads out his hands like a swimmer reaches out to swim.

Chapter 26: Men Shall Change the Scriptures

The strength of the city will be celebrated. The Lord is the source of the city’s strength. The Lord will bring down those who dwell on high. The upright will desire the Lord, and the wicked shall remain unaware as the fire of enemies devours them. All masters other than the Lord are dead. We have been in pain, as if in labour. The dead shall rise. The day of the Lord’s judgment will come.

Through all of this we can learn something about patience the Lord speaks to His people: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” (Isaiah 26:20)

                We need to remember that the Lord works on His own time, but if we are patient the Lord WILL save us! Sometimes it might feel like a long time, but we have to remember that our life on this earth is short compared to eternity… our pain and suffer is a “little moment” in the Lord’s eyes.

Isaiah 23-24

Isaiah 23-24

Chapter 23: Tyre shall be overthrown

The burden against Tyre. The sailors will agonize when they hear about the destruction of their home port. The pride of Tyre will be dishonored. Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years. God will allow Tyre, symbolized by a prostitute, to continue her gross materialism with all the kingdoms of the world, but her gain and her pay will be set apart for the Lord.

Chapter 24: Men Shall Change the Scriptures

The land will be emptied and laid waste. The earth will mourn and fade away, because people “…have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 23:5). The simple doctrines and ordinances taught by the Savior were debated and changed to conform to worldly ideas. This would lead to the need for a Restoration of the Gospel.

The Book of Mormon expands on what happened:

“And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away…this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men… after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book… And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles… Neither will the Lord God suffer that the Gentiles shall forever remain in that awful state of blindness, which thou beholdest they are in, because of the plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, whose formation thou hast seen….

 behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb…. And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true…. These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.(1 Nephi 13:26-40)

                In the last days the Book of Mormon will come forth as Another Testament (or evidence) of Jesus Christ.

Ecclesiastes 9-10

Ecclesiastes 9-10

Chapter 9: Time and Choice Happens to All Men

Solomon believed in enjoying life as a gift from God. The world is finite, and sin has twisted life, making it something other than what God intended. Society honors many things above wisdom such as attractiveness, wealth, popularity, and success. Solomon believed that wisdom is the greatest asset even though it often goes unrecognized.

                “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity [prideful, meaningless life]…” (Ecclesiastes 9:9) – (See Proverbs 5:18-20)

                Life is about getting married and having children… it is about spending your short life with someone that can enlighten you and make you a better person.

                “…Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.” (Ecclesiastes 9:16)

                You don’t need money or fame to make you powerful and wise… even the simplest man can be filled with knowledge. This means that we need to listen to everyone and value their input.

Chapter 10: Fools Are Full of Words

By describing circumstances that are unfair or don’t make sense, Solomon is saying that wisdom alone can’t bring justice. Everything we have is nothing without God. But when he uses what little we have, it becomes all we could ever want or need. If you lack skills, you should sharpen them through training and practice. This will make you more effective for God’s work.

One particular verse really caught my eye… “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.” (Ecclesiastes 10:2) I am not going to say it, but there is something political about this verse.

 

Job 34-35

Job 34-35

Chapter 34: God Cannot Be Unjust

Elihu denounces Job for losing faith and denying God’s justice.

“Hear my words…give ear unto me…” (Job 34:2), here it sounds like Elihu is talking down to Job and telling him to listen, because he has all the answers.

Elihu falsely accuses Job of not understanding God’s ways, essentially telling Job that God could not be unjust.

“If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words” (Job 34:16)

Again, Elihu is talking down to Job. If you have understanding, then listen to me. But if Job chooses to not listen to Elihu, he is without understanding?

Elihu took Job’s agonized cries to God as Job condemning God. It was an unfair assumption; Job’s agony was deeply rooted in the sense that he did love God and respect His justice.

Elihu then continues to tell Job about what he should have said to God;

“Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: That which I see not teach thou me: If I have done iniquity, I will do no more.” (Job 34:31-32)

According to Elihu, Job should have accepted that he was a great sinner, repented and done no more wickedness. Well, the problem with this, is that Job did nothing wrong. If Job however had done wickedly, then yes this would have been the appropriate thing to do. We can learn from Elihu, and apply this principle in our daily lives. If you mess up, say you’re sorry and don’t do it anymore!

Chapter 35: Men Should Trust in God

Elihu confronts Job and asks him, if he believes himself to be more righteous than God. Elihu had just destroyed Job from the previous chapter, accusing him of adding rebellion to his sin, ignoring the wise counsel of his friends, and of speaking wrongly against God.

Elihu’s arguments and ideas were essentially the same as those of Job’s friends. Yet he thought of himself as different, and though that he could correct Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Afterall Elihu had the most wisdom! – Sarcasm implied.

Elihu wanted Job (and his friends) to understand an idea that they had already discussed and agreed upon, the idea that God is greater than man and beyond man.

Our wickedness hurts other men, but our righteousness can help them. Put your trust in the Lord!

Job 32-33

Job 32-33

Chapter 32: Great Men are Not Always Wise

At the end of Job’s persuasive arguments in Job 28-30, his friends had nothing more to say. They still thought that Job was completely wrong, but they felt he was so grounded in his own opinions that it was useless to keep talking with him.

Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram (who is only mentioned briefly in the book of Job critizes Job and tells him; “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.” (Job 32:8-9). Although this was an unjust attack on Job, Elihu brought up a good point, great men, even men of great age and experience do not always have the most wisdom. Wisdom is hard to attain, but those who have it and those who are willing to share that wisdom, should be listened to carefully!

Chapter 33: God Speak to Men in Dreams

Elihu continues to challenge Job’s defense. Elihu claims to be a spokesperson for God, while telling Job to listen to all of his words.

“…God is greater than man.” (Job 33:12) Elihu is telling Job, that he needs to be more humble, because God is truly greater than man. Even though Elihu was missing the point that Job was actually a good, humble guy… we can still learn from this. We are not on the same level as God, we need to remember that.

For a man who claims to have so much wisdom, he doesn’t walk the walk, but surely talks the talk.

“For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man percieveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night…” (Job 33:14-15)

Again, we can ignore the words to Job, as I am sure he also ignored them. But take away from the scriptures that God is always trying to communicate with us, so we need to listen. Elihu insists that God has indeed answered Job.

Elihu had just suggested that God spoke to Job in a dream; now he suggests that perhaps God spoke to him through his physical suffering. In the view of Elihu, if Job would only receive and respond to God’s messenger, if he would only admit to God’s uprightness, then he would be restored to God’s favor.