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)

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Luke 11

Luke 11: Jesus is Angry

                As Jesus prayed, one of the Apostles came to Him and asked Him to teach them to pray. So Jesus tells them; “…When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:2-4)

                A few things to remember… Jesus showed them HOW to pray, and NOT how to REPEAT and MEMORIZE.  Let’s recall Matthew 6, where Jesus also spoke about prayer. He said; “…when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men… But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:5, 7) I think it is clear that Jesus has taught us that we are NOT to use VAIN REPETITIONS, which literally means:

VAIN: ‘excessively proud, empty of substance, devoid of meaning.’

REPETITION: ‘repeating of something, something the same as before.’

So, when WE PRAY, we need to follow the OUTLINE Jesus has given us, but we are not to repeat what He said, word for word. So what is the outline Jesus gave us? Let’s break up what Jesus said…

  1. Address our Heavenly Father; “…When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven…” (Luke 11:2)
  2. Show respect by using the formal in whatever language you are speaking. For example, in English, we should us “thou, thee, thine… etc.” instead of “you and your” Jesus shows this respect; “…Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come….” (Luke 11:2)
  3. We need to remember that when addressing our Heavenly Father that were are to THANK HIM for what we have, and accept HIS WILL in all things.  “…Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth…” (Luke 11:2)
  4. After having addressed our Heavenly Father with respect, thanking Him for what we have been blessed with, we can then ask for the desires of our heart; “…Give us day by day our daily bread…” (Luke 11:3)
  5. Finally we can ask for forgiveness and ask that we might not be lead into temptation; “…And forgive our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:2-4) Finally to end the prayer, we close “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” Jesus did not include this part, because he would have no need to close in His own name.

Jesus explains that our prayers should not be limited to simple, or any sort of memorized repetition, but rather a heart-felt conversation with God, our Father in Heaven. He explains; “…Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every  one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10)

A man comes to Jesus that is possessed of a devil, and Jesus casts the devil out. However, some that witnessed this event say; “…He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.” (Luke 11:15) Jesus of course heard these comments and explains that a “…house dived against a house falleth.” (Luke 11:17) He asks; “If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?” (Luke 11:18) Essentially Jesus is saying that it makes no sense for Satan to be casting out devils, which he had placed there in the first place. If Satan were to allow this, he would be going against himself, and a house divided against itself cannot stand. Some still argued against him, but one woman suggests that the mother of Jesus was a blessed woman (Luke 11:27), while I think Jesus believes that, and agrees with the woman, Jesus tells her and the crowd; “…Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” (Luke 11:28) Jesus explains to them that He is greater than both Jonas and Solomon, and that He is the only sign the evil generation would receive.

Jesus explains that “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:34) This can easily be applied to not only the time Jesus was on the earth, but also in our own day. We see that the internet has brought the evils of Sodom and Gomorrah to our own home. This tidal wave of evil comes in many forms, but Pornography is one of the most rampant. If our eye beholds this evil, we WILL lose LIGHT, and our body will be filled with filth and darkness.

Jesus goes on to scold the Scribes, Pharisees and Lawyers, saying “Woe unto you…” (Luke 11:44,46, 47, and 52) Because of this evil generation, the blood of the righteous will be required.  Jesus reminds them that God sent Prophets and Apostles to the earth to lead and guide His children, however He sent them with the knowledge, that “…some of them they shall slay and persecute.” (Luke 11:49)

Ezekiel 21-22

Ezekiel 21-22

Chapter 21: Both Righteous & Wicked shall be slain

The Lord’s sword is put against Jerusalem. Ezekiel is commanded by the Lord to cry unto the people and sigh as an animal would sigh. He divines to ascertain which to attack first, and Jerusalem is picked. Destruction is also predicted for the Ammonites.

Chapter 22: The sins of Jerusalem

Ezekiel catalogs the sins of the Jews in Jerusalem “…committed abomination with his neighbor’s wife…lewdly defiled his daughter in law… taken gifts to shed blood… taken usury and increase… dishonest gain…” (Ezekiel 22:11-13) The sin of the Jews includes sexual, worshiping idols, social taboos, murder and dishonest gain. The Lord then asks a question “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it.” (Ezekiel 22:14) Essentially the Lord is saying; “You think you are tough now… but will you be SO TOUGH, BEFORE ME and MY WRATH?”  Because of their iniquities they will be destroyed and scattered.

Jeremiah 3-4

Jeremiah 3-4

Chapter 3: Gathering of Israel

Israel is compared to an adulterous husband. In the days of Josiah, the Lord speaks about the high places in Israel, and about how Israel was punished. Judah, far from taking Israel’s as a cautionary tale, played the harlot also, and pretended to turn to the Lord.

It mentions that people “…committed adultery with stones and with stocks [wood].” (Jeremiah 3:9). Essentially people were having sexual relations with objects. These people were abusing the power of procreation for their own pleasure. An appeal is made for Israel to acknowledge transgressions, and be restored. In the last days the Lord shall gather all nations and bring them to Jerusalem. However, we learn that not everyone in a family will be gathered to Zion; “…I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (Jeremiah 3:14) This means that everyone in the family will need to be righteous in order to make it to Zion in the last days.

Chapter 4: Repent!

The Lord appeals to the men of Judah and Jerusalem to circumcise their hearts. Mourn and repent – an evil is coming from the north. It mentions the people who are not following the Lord as “…foolish, they have not known me, they are sottish [drunken: in the habit of drinking far too much alcohol] children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” (Jeremiah 4:22) The land will be spoiled. “…all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord…” (Jeremiah 4:26) and the “…heavens above be black…” (Jeremiah 4:38). This will be the state of the world at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 

Proverbs 5-6

Proverbs 5-6

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

Both Proverbs 5 and 6 have a very clear message that is directed towards men, but can easily be applied to women. That message is pretty simple; 1: Don’t fornicate or commit adultery; 2: Be careful who you marry or who you trust in general. People can deceive and have lying lips that appear to be sweet as ‘honey’ but once you partake the ‘sweet honey’ turns ‘bitter’; 3: Once you are married is important to stay married and ensure that both partners feel a strong connection on all levels that includes a very healthy sexual intimacy.

I believe that all too often (especially in the LDS Church) that sex is talked about as something evil and perverted. Which is true if done outside of marriage, but in marriage it should be something that both husband and wife can have sexual fulfillment that will keep them from lust and sin. Eternal Marriage goes one step beyond traditional marriage in the sense that being married to someone who you can trust with your physical and spiritual life. Husband and wife should be a check and balance system to ensure that both return to our Heavenly Father and dwell in the Celestial Kingdom. God knew that man was weak, so he gave man the woman to keep man in check and ensure that we will return to live with him. Mankind in general is weak, and men and women sin. But if man and woman are bound together in Holy Matrimony they become ONE, just like God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are ONE, one in purpose.

Chapter 5: Don’t Divorce

In this proverb we learn a lot about the importance of marriage to the right person. We also learn about the evils of the world and the ways that man can be tricked into evil ways.

“…the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:” (Proverbs 5:3)

Essentially this is a warning to men who may get caught in the trap of lusting after a woman who may appear to have “lips of honey” and someone who is a “smooth” talker. She may appear to be sweet, but… “…her end is bitter… sharp as a twoedged sword… her steps take hold on hell… her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.” (Proverbs 5:4-6)

The counsel given in this proverb is very clear: “Remove thy way far from her…” (Proverbs 5:8)

But the proverb continues to tell us who we should marry “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” (Proverbs 5:18-19)

Something very important to remember and take away from this Proverb… sex is not evil. Sex outside of marriage is evil. Those who are married should enjoy sexual intimacy between one another and if a healthy sexual relationship is balanced with all other activities of being married, spending time together, working through problems together, having children etc… then the marriage will be successful and filled with love. God does not want us engaging in sexual relations before marriage and wants to make sure that once we are married, WE STAY married. God does not like divorce.

Chapter 6: Seven things the Lord Hates

This proverb lists seven things that the Lord hates (in my version of the Bible, which is the King James Version it tells me that there are ‘6’ things the Lord hates, I like to classify them as 7.

  1. 1.       “A proud look…” (Proverbs 6:17)
  2. 2.       “…a lying tongue…” (Proverbs 6:17)
  3. 3.       “…hands that shed innocent blood.” (Proverbs 6:17)
  4. 4.       “An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations…” (Proverbs 6:18)
  5. 5.       “…feet that be swift in running to mischief.” (Proverbs 6:18)
  6. 6.       “A false witness that speaketh lies…” (Proverbs 6:19)
  7. 7.       “…he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:19)

God does not like sin, period. The laws don’t change, we either choose to follow them or we don’t. “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:” (Proverbs 6:23)

Essentially the law is light, we can choose how much light we want in our lives by adjusting the amount we follow the commandments (our lantern), if we chose to not follow the commandments it is like not putting any oil (or batteries) in our lamp. If we chose to follow the commandments and fill our lantern with fresh oil or batteries then we can have more of the light. If we go against this WE WILL be left in the dark. We also have to understand that criticism and even chastisement is part of life and it occurs for our own learning.

This proverbs ends by re-addressing what we learned from Proverbs 5; that is “…whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” (Proverbs 6:32)

Committing adultery, or fornication (sex outside of the bonds of marriage) will be wounded and dishourned and will carry that sin for life (Proverbs 6:33)

We must remember that “…jealousy is the rage of a man…” (Proverbs 6:34)

 

2 Samuel 13-14

2 Samuel 13-14

Chapter 13: Ammon Rapes his Sister Tamar

Absalom, the son of David had a sister named Tamar and his brother Amnon was in love with her. Amnon had a friend (who happened to be David’s brother’s son, or Amnon’s cousin) who told him that if he loved her, then he should have her. So Jonadab (Amnon’s cousin) tells Amnon to make himself sick and then ask David to have Tamar come unto him to take care of him and make him food.

So David commands Tamar to come in unto Amnon and make him food. After she made him food, Amnon commands everyone in the room to leave, so that he can be alone with his sister. When his sister came to him to give him food, he grabs her and tells her she should “lie down with him”, but Tamar fights and pleads for him to not do this, because this would be committing a great “folly” (a stupid idea or act). It says that she told him to not do it, but Amnon being stronger than her, was able to force her, that is what we call “RAPE”.  After he is done raping her, he is filled with anger and commands that she leave. Tamar tells him that by telling her to leave and sending her away after he had raped her, was as bad if not worse than the act of raping her in the first place.

From this, we can learn about the Law of Chastity (The law of chastity is a moral code defined by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to the church, chastity means abstinence from sexual relations before marriage, and complete fidelity to one’s husband or wife during marriage), President Ezra Taft Benson once said;

“There is no lasting happiness in immorality…  Just the opposite is true. There may be momentary pleasure… But quickly the relationship will sour. Guild and shame set in… Love begins to die. Bitterness, jealousy, anger and even hate begin to grow. All of these are the natural results of sin and transgression. On the other hand,  when we obey the Law of Chastity and keep ourselves morally clean, we will experience the blessings of increased love and peace, greater trust and respect for our marital partners, deeper commitment to each other, and, therefore a deep and significant sense of joy and happiness.” (“The Law of Chastity,” in Brigham Young University 1987-88 Devotional and Fireside Speeches [1988], 51).

Tamar runs off crying and takes her robe of colors off (that was for virgins), she was ashamed and went to see her brother Absalom, who comforted her and gave her a place to rest from her pain. Absalom was upset and when King David found out, it said that he was “wroth” with anger.

Absalom has Ammon killed under his hand and Absalom flees to Geshur to get away from everything, King David longs for his son Absalom and his comforted by the fact that Ammon is dead!

Chapter 14: Absalom Sees the King after Years

Joab decides to try and reconcile the estranged relationship between Absalom King David. We learned from the last chapter that Absalom fled to a city of refuge and in previous books we learn that cities of refuge were actually designed for the innocent and not for the guilty. They were designed to help get away from someone (after accidental manslaughter) so the next of kin wouldn’t try and take revenge.

Three years has gone by and Joab decides it is time to reconcile with King David. So Joab has an elderly woman come in and talk with David about how she was in similar situation. She mentions that we are like water that is spilled on the ground that cannot be gathered up again. Essentially saying that the day of reconciling must be today, because once we die… there is no way to do it.

Two more years go by and Absalom and King David are finally reconciled.

Leviticus 19-20

Leviticus 19-20

Chapter 19: Commandments/ Laws of God

  • Be holy as God is holy. (Leviticus 19:2)
  • Keep the Sabbath day holy. (Leviticus 19:3)
  • Do not worship idols or other gods. (Leviticus 19:4)
  • When you make a sacrifice of peace offerings, it must be done under your own will. The meat from the offering must be eaten within two days or it is abominable before the Lord. (Leviticus 19:5-7)
    • What we can learn here, is that sacrifices in the days of Moses meant sacrificing animals for Atonement of your sins. Today, after Jesus Christ took upon him our sins through Atonement we must confess our sins and do what we can to make a restitution of our sins. But if we do not do it with the right hear then it truly is abominable before the Lord.
  • When you collect your harvest of grapes or any other harvest, you must collect most of them, but still leaving behind some that are not picked for the poor and the strangers passing through the land. (Leviticus 19:8-10)
    • What we can learn here, is that since the days of Moses the Lord has put in some sort of Welfare program to help those in need.
  • Do not steal. (Leviticus 19:11)
  • Do not lie. (Leviticus 19:11)
  • Do not swear by the name of God falsely. (Leviticus 19:12)
  • Do not defraud your neighbor. (Leviticus 19:13)
  • Do not curse the deaf. (Leviticus 19:14)
  • Do not put a stumbling block before the blind. (Leviticus 19:14)
  • Do not judge someone who is poor by disrespecting him. Do not honor someone just because they are rich or mighty. But with righteous judgment will you judge people. (Leviticus 19:15)
    • It is not our place to judge, especially if we do not know someone. We might learn that someone who is poor, is a good person that fell into hard times and find that someone who is actually a respected individual has a closet full of dark secrets.
  • Do not gossip. (Leviticus 19:16)
  • Do not avenge nor bear any grudge against someone. (Leviticus 19:18)
  • Do not eat anything with blood. (Leviticus 19:26)
  • Do not cut or print on your skin. (Leviticus 19:28)
    • Piercings and Tattoos. Think of it this way, your body is a temple, right? So therefore we should not modify it or put things on it that were not intended.
  • Do not prostitute out your daughter, that she may become a whore. (Leviticus 19:29)

Chapter 20: Sexual Sins

The first 9 verses of Chapter 20 talk about not sacrificing children of the congregation of Israel to a superstitious man named Molech. The Lord is warning Israel once again about the dangers of worshiping false gods. The remainder of the chapter talks about Sexual Sins.

  • If a man commit adultery he and the woman shall be put to death.
  • If a man or woman commit incest in any form, those participating shall be put to death.
  • If a man lie with another man; homosexuality in general both men shall be put to death.
  • If a man or woman lie with an animal; bestiality in general then both the man and the beast shall be put to death.