John 15

John 15: The World Hates the Truth

Jesus explains that He is; “…the true vine, and [His] Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1) Jesus tells us that everyone must abide with Him, because any branch that brings forth bad fruit will be cut off from Him. In this way the Father gets only the best fruit. Jesus explains; “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:9-10) Jesus has made it clear that we cannot love Himself or God, if we do not follow His commandments. But Jesus promises us that the commandments are for our own good; “These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11) Simply put, following the commandments and living a righteous life, will lead to joy and happiness. Living a life of wickedness that is void of commandments, will only lead to pain and sorrow.

Jesus imparts the most important commandment, which truly does cover all commandments; “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) If we Love one another, we will automatically follow all of God’s commandments.

Jesus explains that we “…are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you my friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever yer shall ask of the Father in my name he may give it you.” (John 15:14-16) Jesus loves us so much that we are not only His friends, but His family. Anything the Father has revealed to Him, He has revealed to us.

Jesus knew that shortly after His now impending death, that the Apostles and followers of Christ would be persecuted, and would be persecuted throughout all time. So, He leaved His followers with some encouragement; “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) He explains that as they have persecuted Him, so will they persecute anyone who believes on His name. He reminds everyone that; “…They hated me without a cause.” (John 15:25) So will those who persecute the believers of Christ, be persecuted without a cause.

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.

Jeremiah 21-22

Jeremiah 21-22

Chapter 21: Judged by Works

Vision when Zedekiah was king he was given advice to submit to Nebuchadnezzar’s forces and live, rather than fight against them and die. Those who stay in the city shall die, but those who go out and submit to the Chaldeans shall live.

God instructs us that He will “…punish you according to the fruit of your doings…” (Jeremiah 21:14) or in other words, we will be judged for our works!

Chapter 22: Pastors will be confounded

The king of Judah must execute judgment and righteousness and protect the needy. If he does not, his house shall become desolation. All nations shall marvel at the desolation. Shallum (Jehoahaz) the son of Josiah will die a captive. Coniah (Jeconiah) the son of Jehoiakim will be given to them that seek his life, and his seed will be forever excluded from the throne.

“Woe unto him…. That useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work.” (Jeremiah 22:13)

This shows us that we must not steal and must also not expect anything for free. This reminds me a lot of people who think that they deserve a handout instead of a hand-up. We should never mistreat our neighbor.

In the last days hate will be preached and false teachers will arise, of these Pastors God said; “The wind shall eat up all thy pastors… surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness.” (Jeremiah 22:22)

Isaiah 39-40

Isaiah 39-40

Chapter 39: Hezekiah reveals his truth

Hezekiah entertains the envoys from the king of Babylon, showing them all his treasures. Isaiah reproves him, saying that all treasures will be taken to Babylon at a future date. Hezekiah is relieved that he himself will not see this happen.

Chapter 40: Run and Not be Weary

Comfort ye, my people. A voice in the wilderness cries, “…Prepare ye the way of the Lord…” (Isaiah 40:3) Every valley shall be exalted, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Zion and Jerusalem, who bring good tidings, are invited to tell the cities of Judah to behold their God. The Lord will feed his flock like a shepherd. God’s greatness surpasses all nations, and all idols. He brings the princes and the judges of the earth to nothing. But the weak shall be strengthened…

“…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

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.

 

Proverbs 7-8

Proverbs 7-8

Chapter 7: “La Diabla”: Her house is the way to hell

Again, Proverbs 7 carries on a similar message from Proverbs 5. A “strange woman” will lead you to hell. Sex outside of the bonds of marriage is sinful.

                “…keep thee from thy strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.” (Proverbs 7:5) The author goes on to say that they witnessed from their window “…a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house.” (Proverbs 7:8)

The author then describes the characteristics of the ‘strange woman’.

“…the attire of a harlot… loud and stubborn… lieth in wait at every corner…” (Proverbs 7:10-12)

The author then tells us that this ‘strange woman’ “…she caught him and kissed him…[and tells the young man] …I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come let us take our fill of love until the morning… For the goodman is not at home, he is gone on a long journey… with flattering of lips she forced him.” (Proverbs 7:13-21)

                Essentially this could very well have been a story of something that actually was seen through the eyes of the author. But we can also assume that this could just very well be a metaphor for sexual sin. Notice how she deceives him like the devil would. She sweet talks him and flatters him with her clothing, her smell, her sweet lips and assures the man that he won’t get caught because the ‘good man’ is gone on a long journey. This good man could be her husband or could be God. If the devil deceives someone, he will tell them that what they are doing is ok, and that God or anyone else that might look down on them or get them in trouble will never know.

“Let not thine hear decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” (Proverbs 7:25-27)

I think it is safe to assume that “her” or the “strange woman” is a metaphor for sexual sin and the devil. OR while I was serving in Spanish Speaking Honduras I liked to call this chapter “La Diabla” meaning the devil, but more specifically the “female devil”. Because after all the devil can take on many forms of influence. We need to refrain from the lustful desires that the devil will place before us. This author has warned that if we participate or even loiter near her house we will be on the path to hell. Notice how it says that she has slain even the strongest of men? I don’t believe that it was talking about physical strength. I believe it was talking about how even the strongest willed man, can fall into the trap of sexual desires and lust. But going back to the last few chapters, if we marry we can avoid those lustful desires, because we will have the sexual satisfaction from our spouse and he or she will keep us from sin.

Chapter 8: The Truth: The Great Missionary

I absolutely love this Proverb! It expresses that wisdom is to be greatly desired and that we possessed this wisdom in the pre-mortal life.

“O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward [difficult] or perverse [unreasonable] in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward [difficult] mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.” (Proverbs 8:5-14)

                This is the GREAT MISSIONARY, a missionary who has a simple yet easy to understand message. Those who have a desire to know the truth will hear that message. The message is more valuable than gold, silver, rubies or diamonds. The Lord does not like to deal with evil, he hates pride and arrogancy. Those missionaries, who have been called to serve, must remember that they have the knowledge and the strength to complete their mission.

This proverb helps us to understand the great purpose of our eternal life. The Lord has had a plan from the beginning and we were there with him before the world was. (Proverbs 8:23)We were there with the Lord before the heavens! (Proverbs 8:27) We were with the Lord from the beginning (Proverbs 8:30)

 

Psalms 117-118

Psalms 117-118

Chapter 117: The Truth Endureth forever.

Praise the Lord and know that His truth endures forever!

Chapter 118: The Head Stone

“It is better to put trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalms 118:8)

                We need to understand that the Lord and His truth enure forever. Men will always try to deceive and tell us what is right. But we need to take strict heed to the counsel of this verse. Do not put our trust or confidence in man, but only in the Lord.

“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” (Psalms 118:22) Jesus is the headstone, so we read; the man which the people refused, became the Saviour of man. This is essentially the same thing. It would be like construction workers refusing to accept the only stone that would complete and hold up their structure and by placing anything else their as the “head stone” the building will not stand.

We know that this verse is referring to Jesus because later in Acts 4:10-11 we read; “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner”

                Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Psalms 85-86

Psalms 85-86

Chapter 85: Truth Shall Spring out of the Earth

To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah

                The author starts this Psalm by telling the Lord that He has been favorable unto the people, the author asks the Lord for His mercy and salvation.

The Lord will speak peace unto His saints; salvation comes to those that fear God.

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalms 85:10) With TRUTH, there can be Mercy, and with that righteousness and peace can come.

But the most important verse in this Psalm; “Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.” (Psalms 85:11) – In other words; The Book of Mormon will come out of the Earth (Joseph Smith unearthed gold plates, and translated them into the Book of Mormon) and that Book will bring the world the truth and with that truth righteousness will look down from heaven.

Chapter 86: Saved from the lowest Hell

A Prayer of David

                David prays to the Lord and asks Him to “Teach me thy way, O Lord; O will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” (Psalms 86:11) – This is very interesting, David has asked the Lord to not only lead him and guide him… but David asks the Lord to teach his heart to seek the Lord and not the things of the world. Because if in his heart he fears the Lord, then he will not want to do anything to anger or upset the Lord.

David continues by asking the Lord for his mercy, so that he can be saved from the “…lowest hell.” (Psalms 86:13), this is most likely referring to the “sons of perdition” which is the ultimate hell reserved for those who deny the Holy Ghost and after having been given a perfect knowledge deny the Lord.

The Lord is “…full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Psalms 86:15) – David asks that he can be comforted and saved from his enemies.

Psalms 43-44

Psalms 43-44

Chapter 43: Light and Truth

David asks God to judge him and plead his case to an ungodly nation, he further asks “…send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me…” (Psalms 43:3)

                This light and truth can be found many places, one place in which it can be found is through His spirit (the Holy Ghost), through His teachings (the scriptures), through His teachers (apostles, prophets, and other church leaders), His children (those around you; friends and family can convey His light and truth), prayer (direct communication to His light and truth through Him).

Chapter 44: Sheep for the Slaughter

To the chief Musician, for the sons of Korah, Maschill.

                David opens with a conversation with God; he tells the Lord about the great miracles He performed helping the “fathers of old” and how they got the land without their own sword, but only the sword of the Lord and His mighty power. David tells the Lord that he “…will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.” (Psalms 44:6) This is always a good reminder, we can have weapons to protect ourselves, but we should never completely trust in them to save us. David had a bow, and he used it. But he said that he would not put his ONLY trust in his bow, but the Lord. David said “In God we boat all the day long and praise thy name forever.” (Psalms 44:8). Instead of boasting of money, power or fame… we should only boast in the Lord!
David then goes on to reveal something interesting; “If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; Shall not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart. Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.” (Psalms 44:20-22)

                Essentially this tells us that if we have different desires (other than what the Lord would have for us), God will know! God knows our desires, whether they be good or bad. It says that if we seek out other gods, those gods could come in the form of power or money. It is just important that we remember to keep the Lord our number one priority.

 

Psalms 25-26

Psalms 25-26

Chapter 25: Truth for the Righteousness

A Psalm of David.

                Like several other Psalms, Psalm 25 is acrostic, Psalms (9-10, 25, 34, 37, 11, 112, 119, and 145). Acrostic is a literary device used to add beauty and form to the Psalm and is used to hide messages in the words where certain letters in each verse add to the next verse to make complete sentences.

Unfortunately this only works in the Hebrew, since being translated into English this cannot be done.

We do not know the precise time period it came from; David was often in trouble making it hard to distinguish between time periods.

David starts the Psalm off by offering his soul to the Lord, as an offering of trust. David offers to wait on the Lord in the sense that he will attend to every desire of the one being served, God.

“Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake…” (Psalms 25:7)

Immediately after asking God to remember His tender mercies (Psalm 25:6), David asked God to forget. He wanted God to forget his own youthful sins (in the sense of forgiving them), and he wanted God to remember God’s own faithfulness in prior times. David wanted to be remembered based on God’s mercy and not by the merit of David himself.

David asks who would fear the Lord. Then goes on to say that; “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” (Psalms 25:14)

This helps us to understand that the things of God may seem “foolish” to the natural man, but those who have faith can have a new life and knowledge in the things of the Lord. In a letter from Paul to the Corinthians he writes; “…my speech and my preaching was not in enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthian 2:4)

Essentially we can learn that one can speak, but without the “power” or “authority” of God through His Holy Spirit, one cannot speak the things of the Lord, or understand when someone is speaking the truth.

Simply put… To explain such secrets to those who do not have the Spirit of God is like explaining colors to a blind man or musical harmonies to a deaf man. It just can’t be done.

David closes by asking God to remember and consider his enemies and to deliver Israel.

Chapter 26: Love the Lord’s work

A Psalm of David.

                David prays to the Lord and tells Him that he is full of integrity and obedience. David even asks the Lord to “…prove…” (Psalms 26:2) him.

This is a pretty straightforward Psalm, David is telling the Lord that he is good and will not dwell amongst wicked.