karmakiro

Studying Charity as I read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

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I will post replies that are each daily notes as I have studied parts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and Looked to tie things back to charity. Please fill free to give me any input. I look forward to the insight and to continue sharing my notes.

Edited by karmakiro
didn't say enough.

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This week I am using symbolism as my angle of study.

Monday 5/9/16 – In Matthew 11:16-19 we read “But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, / And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. / For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. / The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” Jesus is using the symbolism of a child differently than we may be used to and differently even within these versus. First He makes it clear that as he talks to those He is chastising, they are acting like children when they are at play and can’t even agree amongst each other on how they are to play. He gave examples of how children do this at play, but His reason is because they say John the Baptist is bad when he fasts continually and doesn’t drink, but in the same breath they speak of Jesus as gluttonous and a drunk because he does eat and drink. He then uses children another way when talking about wisdom being justified of her children. He is saying that through the deeds of people we can see what they are. Deeds being the children of wisdom. Here again is a lesson that to me relates to not judging a book by its cover. This is another way to express and feel of Jesus’ love. As we grow in charity we will be able to refrain from instantly judging people and irreverently sharing that judgement.

In Matthew 11:28-30 we read “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. / Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. / For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus is given a very powerful expression of charity as he speaks with an unforgettable symbolism. He wants us to know that as we yoke ourselves to Him, He will give us rest. Yoke is a tool of work that binds beasts together that they may be able to work together to carry the load. That part of symbolism remains that as we yoke to the Lord we will feel our burdens lighten, but Jesus goes that step further when He says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He is letting us know that He is able to share with us a load that is in and of itself lighter before the fact that it is split with Him. His love for us is so strong that He wants to take on our heavier load and give us His light load. Jesus will carry the true burden and that is because of His charity, even His atonement. We can feel His love as we follow His will. We must remember this example from Him as well and always press forward in service to others when the opportunity is there for us to grab a hold of. As we do so, others can feel His charity in their lives as well.

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Tuesday 5/10/16 – In Matthew 13:4-8, Mark 4:4-8, and Luke 8:5-8 we get the parable of the sower. I will share Matthew’s translation since they are all similar, but I will point out some contrasts that Matthew and Mark have with Luke. Matthew 13:4-8 “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: / Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: / And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. / And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: / But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” Matthew and Mark refer to “stony places” and “stony ground” and Luke just says a “rock”. I feel that as we look at the description Jesus gave of this parable we will understand why at least 2 of them saw it more like the stony area. Another thing I want to look at will be that Matthew and Mark talk about the seed that fell on good ground giving forth an hundred fold, sixty fold and thirty fold. Luke only mentions an hundred fold and again we may see how it is important to realize the difference.

Jesus was asked why He spoke in parable then He shared that as we able to better see and hear His word then we will be able to better understand His parables. Before going on to give any more parables Jesus does something with this parable that he doesn’t do with any others; He explains the parable. I believe this is to help us all start to see, hear and feel as the Savior does when we are told a story/parable. I also believe that our understanding of this parable doesn’t end with His initial explanation. In Matthew 13:18-23, Mark 4:14-20, and Luke 8:11-15 we read of Jesus’ explanation of the parable. I will share Mark 4:14-20, but talk of them all. “The sower soweth the word. / And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. / And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; / And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. / And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, / And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. / And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”

Matthew goes right into describing the people as the seed and Mark and Luke let us know the seed is the Word of God. We can see as we read these descriptions that the seed is germinated and ready to grow. This we can bring together to see that the sower is working those that have heard the word. However, as made more clear in Matthew’s understanding from Jesus, the seed by the way side did not understand the word and is easily taken away.

Then we have the stony places/ground or the rock(Luke). In Luke’s take away from Jesus’ recap he mentions that this seed has no root. The big point here is that the sprout has nothing to hold strong to and the elements destroy it. This because of, as Luke mentions “… it lacked moisture.” You could see that as a lack of water or that it, in fact, lacked water. Christ calls himself the living water. This seed may have taken in the word, but didn’t continue to feed on the water that is Christ, so that it may have root, even a firm foundation. In Luke he speaks of the elements as temptation, but I feel the clearer understanding comes from Matthew and Mark that refer to the pressures of tribulation, persecution, and affliction that doth easily offend this group. Those pressures can definitely be seen as harsh elements of life.

The next group of seed fell among the thorns and were choked out. The thorns are referred to across the board as riches with variations bringing to light the lust for worldly things. This is where I feel temptation itself is playing the strongest role.

Finally, we have the seed that fell on good ground. In Matthew this is those that hear and understand the Word, in Mark it is those that hear and receive the Word, and in Luke it is those that “in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” All say “hear the Word” with no real variation but a bigger lesson comes from the variation on the next part that all three have. We see that we need to also understand, receive, and keep the Word that we may bring forth good fruit. These are all interrelated, but ultimately different elements that need to all be focused on. I also feel that there is a divine order in how these appeared in the Bible; first Matthew mentions understand, second Mark mentions receive, and then third Luke says to keep. This is the order it needs to happen in to truly have an effect on our lives. You can keep it without fully understanding or receiving, but then as Luke said, are we doing it honestly and with a good heart? My last observation is that Matthew and Mark mention the varying levels of good fruit (100, 60, 30) and Luke only mentions an hundred fold. Maybe this is because Luke is bringing the final element to the mix with keeping the Word in honesty and goodness or maybe it is to make us think about why two mention it and one doesn’t. I have heard it mentioned and think about how our actions can still vary the level of good fruit we produce. This may also lead us to understand that we may provide good ground for others, even our posterity, but they will ultimately produce their own fruit and their own amount.

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Wednesday 5/11/16 – In Luke 8:16-18 we read “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. / For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. / Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.” And in Mark 4:21-25 he recalled the Lord saying “And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? / For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. / If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. / And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. / For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.” The Joseph Smith Translation of Mark 4:24&25 points out that those that receive and continue to receive, or even stop receiving will be met with blessings or have them taken away accordingly. I find this very interesting as it relates to Mark noticing the Lord said “receive” when he relayed the parable of the sower as I discussed in yesterday’s notes. We get Jesus’ discusses this in the Americas and it is recorded in 3 Nephi 12:14-16 as He says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. / Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house; / Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Now what is this light? How can we let it shine? What does this symbolism mean? Jesus is very direct as we can read in 3 Nephi 18:24-25 “Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed. / And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation.” We see that Jesus is the light and it so shines as we fulfill His commandments and are true disciples. This brings us back to His love for us. His charity to the world. As we follow His commandments we will be protected from temptation. This is a wonderful blessing to know that as we give more to Him, we will be bound to Him through His yoke as mentioned earlier in Matthew 11:28-30. All of this truth, all truth even, can be circumscribed into one great whole. That whole as I come to study more and more is the atonement, even charity. As we practice charity we bring the power of the atonement into our lives and into the lives of others, therefore helping Christ administer His atonement and fulfilling His purpose. His purpose is to glorify the Father and the Father’s glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, which is the greatest expression of love, even charity, that the Father and the Son can bring to us.

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Thursday 5/12/16 – I was mistaken when I said that Jesus only described the parable of the sower. He also was asked to and described the parable of the tares of the field. Which does happen to be about a sower as well though. In Matthew 13:24-30 we read “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: / But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. / But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. / So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? / He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? / But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. / Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Jesus is later asked privately by His disciples in verse 36 to declare the parable. In Matthew 13:37-43 we read that “He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; / The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; / The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. / As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. / The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; / And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. / Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” I would like to focus on verse 41 “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;” because it gives more depth to our understanding of the tares. If we hold too strongly to verse 38 we will believe that people are only good or evil, but as we see in verse 41, Jesus will send the Angels to gather out those that offend and do iniquity. We must remember that just because someone isn’t a disciple of Christ, it doesn’t mean they are evil or do iniquity. As we look at the word offend and to offend others I found Luke 17:1-4 which reads “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! / It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. / ¶Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. / And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” This is powerful to see that Jesus feels for those that do offend. He is sad to think of what can happen to them and He then gives us our commandment in their regard. He tells us to forgive for every time they repent. Not the first, not the second, not even the third, but every time. This is another expression of the endless love, even charity of Jesus Christ. He is hopeful that all the tares will become good seed. We must share in that hope. Now I feel we can forgive at the same time as trying not to give the same temptation to those that have offended us. We can recognize their weaknesses and give them opportunities in areas that allow them to grow in a new setting. If we keep putting alcohol in the face of an alcoholic hen they will most likely drink again, but if we try to provide them with water at every turn, they will most likely drink the water. We must follow in the charity that we are commanded to share with this world. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want to see ALL return to them.

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Wednesday 5/18/16 – In Matthew 14 Jesus hears of John the Baptist being beheaded and quickly goes to (what seems to be) alone. Multitudes of people figure out where he is headed and meet him there. In Matthew 14:14 we read “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” He was then told by His disciples that the time was come that He should send them away so they could go get food. Jesus Commands His disciples to feed them, but they only have 5 loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus then breaks the bread, blesses it, and passes around all the food. It ends up feeding five thousand men plus the women and children that are with them.

What I see coming from this is an example of how to be. We may find ourselves sad and wanting to be alone, but we must answer to the call to help others. Hopefully we are answering with actual compassion in our hearts. Jesus Christ is our exemplar and this can go to show us a profound cause and effect. If we act with compassion in our hearts then we can bless countless people, even in our darkest moments. Here is another lesson of how charity is to work. We must lose ourselves in the service of others. Even when we are feeling that life is being difficult for us, we can serve and love others. In fact, this may be the medicine needed to get us through our difficult times.

In Matthew 14:24-32 we read, “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. / And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. / And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. / But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. / And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. / And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. / But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. / And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? / And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.” Through this we can instantly see that if we act with full faith and without doubt or fear then we can accomplish anything that the Lord bids of us to do. We can begin to break this down a little more and understand a deeper lesson to this as well. In verse 28 Peter asks of the Lord to give him the commandment to come unto Him. This begins a dialog we should always have with the Lord. At this stage we aren’t looking for confirmation that He is there, but we still must ask Him for tasks in which we can continue the work of the Kingdom of God. We do have free will and one of the best ways to use it is to offer ourselves to the Lord and ask Him how we can help. Then the commandment comes. We may find what we hear to be daunting, even too much for us. We must clear our minds of this as stated in verse 31 “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Having doubt, means we don’t have faith. As with fear, doubt and faith cannot exist together. Here comes the third lesson that I can see. We can still look to the Lord when we lose our faith. He will still catch us if we let Him. As we continue with Him anything can be overcome. As we see in verse 32 the wind ceased when THEY came to the ship. The Lord will guide us and be there ready to catch us. As we emulate this and show that love to others in our lives we can be the Lord’s hand in administering charity unto the world.

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Friday 5/20/16 -  The scripture that has a very important cause and effect for us comes from John 6:38-40 “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. / And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. / And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Because Jesus Christ came to us and followed the will of the Father we will have the ability to gain eternal life if we believe on and follow the words of Christ. This has a two sided cause for one effect. Jesus had to perform His part in the Father’s will and we have to perform ours in following Christ to be able to attain eternal life. We see that the will of the Father is to bring us eternal life. Many things needed to transpire and Jesus was sure to follow all. He even makes mention that the fact that He chose one that would betray Him was needed to fulfill scripture. John 17:12 “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” I looked up what might have been the scripture needing to be fulfilled. I found through Wikipedia references to Psalm 41:9 “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” And also Psalm 109:8 “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” Wikipedia and the Footnotes of my scriptures, both, referenced 109:8 to Acts 1:16-20 where Peter relates this to Judas. “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. / For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. / Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. / And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. / For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.” This lets us know how important all that the Father said was to be fulfilled. A further exploration of the Father’s will can be seen in 3 Nephi 27:13-16 “Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. / And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil— / And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. / And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.” Again we see that Jesus had much to do to fulfill the end goal of the Father’s will which is still our eternal life. This also required our action in following the teachings of Jesus for us to attain this end goal. Here is another beautiful example of the pure love of Christ, even charity. He knew that He must go through so much pain, including the betrayal from a dear friend so that we may have our eternal life. We are given these guidelines not to control us, but to give us everlasting freedom. It is our choice to follow in the path of righteousness which is another sign of the love that our Father and brother, Jesus Christ, have for us. We must remember this in any of our leadership roles. To share the best path, but still let others learn from their experiences. That is an important part of charity.

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Tuesday - 5/24/16 – I was really taken into Matthew 16:4-12 which reads “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. / And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. / ¶Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. / And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. / Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? / Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? / Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? / How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? / Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” There are two lessons that I caught going on here.

First, if we are seeking after signs of the power and glory of the Lord then we will not receive them. We must not be only looking for signs, but be following the council given and we may know through the Spirit. In fact, later as Jesus asks who people see Him as and Peter says the Son of the Living God then Jesus responds, “…Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) This is a reminder of the need to learn through the Spirit because all that we receive from the Father is through His Spirit. As we study the scriptures and turn to the Lord in prayer then we will find our answers and understanding. Yes, it may be through signs, but that is not what we need to be asking for. Sometimes it may come through the actions of others, the still small voice of the Spirit, our realization of the playing out of events, and so many more possible ways. The warning in verse 4 is not that we cannot accept signs as acknowledgement of information, but that we must not seek after signs as our way of gaining knowledge.

Second, is a lesson about taking in the doctrines of man. I was able to see the message, but I had trouble with noticing who Jesus was taking too. To gain a better visualization of the situation I was able to read Mark 8:11-22 which helped me to realize that He was telling the disciples, not the Sadducees and Pharisees to look out for the leaven of the Sadducees and Pharisees. It helped the lesson hit closer to home to realize this is a moment that the Lord is speaking to His disciples and not His dissenters. Jesus is trying to warn us of the dangers of men in high places (and even low) that will try to confuse us of His doctrines. This is another view of His love for us as He guides us away from the many destructive paths that lay ahead of those that lose sight of the true doctrine of Christ. In fact He gives it as warning and not commandment, hoping that we will use our agency to continue to follow Him. When the disciples don’t get the reference He rebukes them for not having their spiritual eyes and ears open. Then still, in His show of Love, He tells them exactly what He meant so that this warning is not lost.

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Wednesday 5/25/16 – When Reading Mark 9:1-9 we learn of the transfiguration of Jesus in front of Peter, James, and John as well as their meeting of Elias(John the Baptist) and Moses. They are told by Jesus not to speak of it after He has risen and in Mark 9:10 we read “And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.” As I tried to really visualize their confusion I came to think of the setting, even the timing of events. This same moment is spoken of in Matthew 17:1-9, but just before that in Matthew 16:21 -23 we read “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. / Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. / But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” This adds an interesting element to the understanding that the early apostles had of the teachings of Christ. Jesus had plainly told them He would be killed and rise again. In fact when Peter tried to deny it right in front of the Lord, He rebuked Peter as the devil. Peter, James, and John continued in so much denial that when Jesus spoke of it again after such an amazing experience they couldn’t understand what He spoke about. We see the Lord trying to prepare them for what is to come. He spoke of it many times that they may be prepared, but they are just simply in denial. This tone continues on into Mark 9:17-19 where disciples cannot get a devil out of a child. In verse 19 “He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.” In Mark 9:29-31 after He healed the boy and He is asked why they couldn’t do it “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. / ¶And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. / For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.” Jesus reminds them that while He is gone fasting is necessary which is a message He shared when Pharisees asked why His disciples did not fast while they were with Him. He said they must return to fasting when He is gone. After reminding them of the importance of fasting and prayer He again talks of His coming martyrdom and rising on the 3rd day. This is all another manifestation of His love. Not only that He knows how He must be killed, but also that He is continually trying to get them to understand what will happen. The more they can understand before it happens, the less it will pain them, but also to faster they could grow to understand more of the principles of the Gospel.

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Thursday 5/26/16 – I really wanted to get a feel for the situation in John 8:3-11 when a woman that is caught in the act of adultery is brought before Christ and the Pharisees ask Him what should be done about her. According to the Law of Moses she is to be stoned. So Jesus asks that the person who is without sin cast the first stone. Ultimately everyone follows their conscience and no one cast a stone. Jesus then lets her know that she is forgiven and that she must sin no more. A few things really struck me. In verses 6-8 we read “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. / So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. / And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.” I tried to get a feel for what this must look and feel like to all the others. Jesus is nearly ignoring them. He even seems almost uninterested, besides delivering a very profound wisdom. I feel that some may have felt an anger towards Him for this, but I also see that it really did allow for them to look inward and not feel that He was forcing a thought on them of their own sin. This gave time for them to see themselves without any contention being brought forward. In verse 9 we that as they “… heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” Here is another manifestation of Christ’s pure love. He knows when He can engage a situation to let us teach ourselves with our feelings. He only planted a seed and the whole mob was able to teach themselves this lesson. It takes a great deal of love for others to see when this is best applied. The next manifestation of His love comes in verse 10 and 11When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? / She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” I again want to visualize how this shows that Jesus continued to write in the ground, almost as a child without a care in the world, until all had left. This shows that He was not boastful in any way during the lesson which comes from true lessons and teachings of love. Also, Jesus lets the woman know that she is forgiven and with a strongest show of His love, tells her to sin no more. He wants her to know that she is forgiven, but she must live a life without sin. She must strive for that goal. We cannot grow and continue to be forgiven as we make mistakes unless we sincerely show that desire to want to be better and without sin. He invites her into this life and she must choose to follow.

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Tuesday - 5/31/16 – In Luke 11:37-41 we are told that if we just do the outward acts to look clean and do not follow in the teachings of the Lord then we are still dirty and wicked on the inside. The versus that followed seemed to really fly over my head other than being a warning against hypocrisy, I wanted to know more. Jesus used dramatic words a lot such as “woe unto you” many times which really flagged this section from Luke 11:42-52. I turned to the Institute manual which first referenced me to Matthew 23:13-33 where the topic is covered in the manual and reminds us that “hypocrite” comes from the Greek word meaning “actor” even one that pretends, exaggerates or is deceitful. Then it mentions the woes (woe meaning a condition of misery, distress, and sorrow resulting from great affliction or misfortune. – New Testament Student Manual) and how there are eight of them. I noticed six in Luke. In looking at what they had to say about the Matthew 23 versus I have been able to relate them and understand more what is being said in Luke 11. Matthew 23:23 relates to Luke 11:42 in that they point out that the Pharisees would follow laws, but then ignore doctrines and principle that influence the laws. They would pay tithes but not exercise the Love of God. Matthew 23:5-10 which isn’t a “woe” in Matthew relates to the “woe” in Luke 11:43 according to the footnotes which shows how they were being prideful men, boasting themselves up as leaders and forgetting the Christ and the Father. The footnote for Luke 11:44 relates it to Matthew 23:27 but they are different in that Matthew recounts it as graves that look nice, but still houses dead men’s bones and uncleanness while Luke mentions the graves and people walking over them not aware of them. As the comparisons continue I noticed that the hypocrisy that was talked about could hinder the progress of others as these people did most of what they did to keep themselves in power. So their pride not only caused them to be the hypocrites they were, but to also prevent the salvation of others in this mortal life. This is what pains Jesus so much and is why we see that He would say there is so much suffering for them because they would lead to the suffering of others in their actions. This is another example of Jesus’ love for us as He wants us all to have opportunities to come to Him and people that would willingly block that will suffer more for what they are doing to their fellow man.

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Wednesday 6/1/16 – In Luke 12:36-48 Jesus tells a parable of servants as they wait for the return of their master. He speaks of the blessings that master will bestow upon the servant that is ready for his return at any hour of the night or day. Then He tells of the smiting to the servant that is not ready at any time the master returns. This alone teaches us of the need to be always ready for the return of our Master even Jesus Christ. The big flag in this whole passage comes at Luke 12:40 when Jesus says “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” This moment He steps out of the story to tell us the big warning that is in store for this parable. We must be ready at all times for the return of our Lord because it will not be revealed to us when it is to happen. We are told there are blessings that await if we are ready and consequences if we aren’t, but the big lesson is that we must always be ready. This again is a symbol of His love. He wants us to know that it is unknown when He shall return so we must always be ready. It is a warning to us because He does not want us to feel the punishment of not being penitent. We must see these times as examples of His love and not of a desire to punish or control. The bonds of justice are set; He is showing us the path to mercy, of which He suffered for, that we may be able to walk.

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Thursday 6/2/16 – I really took interest in the parable in Luke 14:7-11. Noting that it was a parable to begin and that it spoke of exaltation I figured these were flags of importance for it. It is really powerful to think that humbling oneself can bring on exaltation. It also carried the reverse principle that those that self-exalting can lead to shame. I felt that this parable did teach a great lesson, but I felt it did so by attracting a certain degree of pride. Then when I read the New Testament Student Manual I began to see why. The Lord was telling this story in the face of seeing those at the chief Pharisees’ house vying for the most honorable seats in the house as they sat to eat bread. He really was speaking to their pride heavy heart hoping to still get a very non-prideful message across. This is yet again another show of the love Jesus has for us. He is so hopeful of our return that He will tailor His messages to each of us individually. There is always more room to grow as we begin to increase our devotion-to and understanding-of the Lord even through parables that once struck a chord in one way, we may see other avenues of growth. Jesus loves each and every one of us and He wants to speak to us individually. We must remember this example of love and realize that our interactions with others will not always be the same. We must speak to the hearts of those we wish to reach and express our love so that they can understand our devotion to them as individuals.

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Wednesday 6/8/16 - In Matthew 20:25-29 & Mark 10:42-45 we see that if we are to be true leaders then we will serve those that we lead. “But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. / But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: / And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. / For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”(Mark 10:42-45) I really wanted to learn more of the service of true leaders and so I began to follow the foot notes and cluster more verses together to increase my understanding. There is a footnote in Matthew 20:26 in regards to “great among you” that takes us to the topical guide for leadership. I found a reference to D&C 101:42 “He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that abaseth himself shall be exalted.” The lesson is simple here that if we are to put ourselves above other we will be lowered and vice versa. A very straight forward lesson for those that intend to lead. Mark 10:43 has a footnote for “great among you” that takes us straight to D&C 50:26-27 “He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all. / Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son.” This shows us that even when ordained of God and guided by the Father, through the teachings and power of Jesus Christ, we may only exercise power over things if we are to lower ourselves and be servants of all. Mark 10:44 has a footnote for “chiefest, shall be a servant of all” which leads us to 2 Nephi 9:5 “Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.” This very plainly tells of Jesus and how He will submit Himself to man and to even die for all man that we may be subject to Him. He is putting Himself below all of us the He may serve us as our greatest master and savior. This teaches us so much of His charity, even pure love for all man, and should remind us how important it is to treat positions of leadership as a service to our peers.

I can’t help but always relate this to our government and the Constitution of the United States. We the People are the government and we elect public servants to be our leaders in making decisions that we allow them to make on our behalf. This has been long forgotten and a majority of people have forgotten that they are the government. This leads to careers in political positions and a divide of the people from the very thing they are supposed to be, the government. Jesus’ lesson to us about His pure love is supposed to remind us how to act and not allow such divisions of government from the people. These leaders are our peers and we must remember that if they are not, then they are not true leaders in the eyes of our Lord.

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Thursday 6/9/16Luke 17:10 really struck a chord with me that I wanted to explore and see what other verses would say in relation to the subject. It says, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” I was really struck by this “unprofitable” and looked to the footnotes to find what other scriptures used this wording. We can find it in Romans 3:12 and Mosiah 2:21. Both of these scriptures need a fuller reading to really give an understanding of the use of unprofitable. I needed to read all of Romans 3 to gather its message which was that we are all sinners no matter how much of the law that we follow. Since we are all sinners then we are unprofitable in the sight of the Father. It is through the grace of Christ and His atonement that we are justified and able to join in the glory of the Father. In Mosiah 2:21 it helped to read verses 20 – 26 and we see a portion of King Benjamin’s speech to his people as he reminds everyone that we are created by God and always indebted to Him for this creation and His mercy. Verses 23 and 24 say it best, “And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. / And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?” We are given so much and constantly given more as we strive to better ourselves. King Benjamin even made it clear the he himself was no more than the very people he served as their leader.

                        Jesus Christ has given His life that we may be able to join Him as heirs to the Kingdom of God. We are already in debt to the Father for so much and they want to give us so much more through Christ’s atonement. This love they have for us, their unprofitable servants, is beyond our comprehension, but we see how we can return this to others. We must show forgiveness and love to all those we deal with. We will be wronged intentionally and unintentionally which provides us the opportunity to learn from this glorious example. As we follow all our commandments and exercise this understanding of love we may grow to understand more of the charity we receive throughout our lives.

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Tuesday 6/14/16 – From Mark 12:41 – 44 we can see that if we are to give only of our abundance while others give of everything they have then, no matter how much more in quantity we give, the others will have given more in quality. I wanted to visualize this in two different ways. First we have the basis of the account which is giving a tithe of money. The poor widow gave based on all that she had, while the rich were casting money in based on their abundance. This example alone shows that the widow saw the value in the Kingdom of God as much more than the value of any amount of money. She would rather give of herself to the Lord then to hold onto what she felt she needed and give of what she had left over. Second, I wanted to think about this as a matter of time and visualize myself in this place. When asked to give to the Lord of my time am I giving time based on all my time? Or, am I giving of what time I feel I have left over? I know the answer isn’t what I want to admit. I do give of my time to the Lord, but I often catch myself scheduling it around personal time that could be given to the Lord as well. I know this doesn’t make me evil, but it is important to be aware of how thoughtful our offerings are to the Lord.

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Thursday 6/16/16 – I found myself really wanting to understand the actions of the Pharisees more in Luke 20:1 – 8 where we read about them trying to trip up Jesus by asking who gave Him authority to do what he does. His answer is beautiful as He asked them by what authority did John the Baptist do all that he did. This put the Pharisees in an interesting position that I really wanted to visualize even better. They discussed with themselves how to answer the question. John the Baptist was revered as a prophet among the people so this put the Pharisees in a big predicament. If they say that John has his authority from God, then what prevents that same authority from being Jesus’ and if they say it is given from man then the people in which they want to maintain their power and influence over would stone them. They end up saying that they know not where the authority came from. As I really put myself in this spot I see their fear of man and not God in two ways. First, they fear losing man’s praise of them because they would be giving up their power by claiming that God could have given Jesus authority, it would mean admitting the King has come and they no longer need to be in the position they have. Second, they fear the wrath of man because if they say that John’s authority comes from man then the people will see them as the blasphemers they are and will stone them to death. In both ways they fear man over God and by doing so then Jesus is able to return the same answer to them and they have no fodder for their efforts to catch Jesus in His words.  We can see this fear in ourselves, but we must overcome it. The Lord gives us many opportunities to overcome and that is another example of His love that we must reflect into the world. People will make mistakes even towards us and we need to be able to forgive and then give them opportunities to regain trust. We can be wise in the ways we approach this and give them opportunities through ways that won’t hurt us as much or at all if they fail, but charity comes from maintaining that love to give everyone chances to repent(change).

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Wednesday 6/22/16Matthew 24:9 – 13 shows us that if we endure all the trials of being followers of Christ even unto death then we shall be saved. “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. / And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. / And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. / And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. / But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” The word endure was labeled in the footnotes with the topical guide as steadfastness and perseverance. We can look to the topical guide to find other scriptures to give us a deeper understanding of endure. The first scripture under perseverance to catch my eye was Luke 18:1 “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” Coupled with John 8:31 – 32 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; / And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” we see that we must always pray to the Lord and follow his commandments, even those we receive as we continually pray. This perseverance even endurance will make us free and that freedom is our salvation. As we add an understanding of steadfastness we come to 1 Peter 1:23 which tells us of the endurance of the word of God. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” This is a reason why we must always follow the word of God, because it lives forever and in so following we live forever. 1 Peter 5:8 – 10 gives us an understanding that if we are vigilant and steadfast then it is Christ’s atonement that will embrace us and make us whole unto salvation. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: / Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. / But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” Through our endurance Jesus can show us His charity and bless us with all that He has to offer that we may live with the Father again in His kingdom. We are so blessed to know that through prayer and endurance to all commandments we can be saved from our weakness. We must always press forward and remember that pure love from Christ and the Father. We can take this as another example to always help others on their path as we are all brothers and sisters in this trial through mortality.

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Wednesday 6/22/16Matthew 24:9 – 13 shows us that if we endure all the trials of being followers of Christ even unto death then we shall be saved. “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. / And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. / And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. / And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. / But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” The word endure was labeled in the footnotes with the topical guide as steadfastness and perseverance. We can look to the topical guide to find other scriptures to give us a deeper understanding of endure. The first scripture under perseverance to catch my eye was Luke 18:1 “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” Coupled with John 8:31 – 32 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; / And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” we see that we must always pray to the Lord and follow his commandments, even those we receive as we continually pray. This perseverance even endurance will make us free and that freedom is our salvation. As we add an understanding of steadfastness we come to 1 Peter 1:23 which tells us of the endurance of the word of God. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” This is a reason why we must always follow the word of God, because it lives forever and in so following we live forever. 1 Peter 5:8 – 10 gives us an understanding that if we are vigilant and steadfast then it is Christ’s atonement that will embrace us and make us whole unto salvation. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: / Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. / But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” Through our endurance Jesus can show us His charity and bless us with all that He has to offer that we may live with the Father again in His kingdom. We are so blessed to know that through prayer and endurance to all commandments we can be saved from our weakness. We must always press forward and remember that pure love from Christ and the Father. We can take this as another example to always help others on their path as we are all brothers and sisters in this trial through mortality.

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Thursday 6/23/16Mark 13:11 struck me because I always find it amazing that our faith can help us know what we need to say about the gospel when the time is right. And this is a gift we receive through the Holy Spirit. Mark 13:11 reads “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” This refers to times nearing the end of days, but the principle is there so I followed the footnotes to Matthew 10:19-20 which from Matthew 10:18 – 20 reads, “And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. / But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. / For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” I included verse 18 because even though this matches up on being scourged as followers of Jesus Christ, it is still an opportunity to share the Gospel and reach even one. I think of Abinadi as he was imprisoned by King Noah and is priests. Abinadi never gave up speaking as a disciple of Jesus Christ and was able to reach Alma (the older) whether he realized it before his death or not. Through Alma the Church of Christ had one of the most significant growths in the land of the Nephites. The footnotes in Matthew 10:19 lead us to D&C 24:6 where the Lord is commanding Joseph Smith to translate, preach and expound the scriptures. It reads, “And it shall be given thee in the very moment what thou shalt speak and write, and they shall hear it, or I will send unto them a cursing instead of a blessing.” Yet again we see that as we do what we are commanded we will be given what is needed this time we see it as a message to Joseph Smith, but it goes even further as the footnotes lead us to D&C 84:85 where The Church receives direction that we are to go forth as missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ and spread His gospel. We read, “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.” and it is here that we can see how the Spirit will help us in times of great tragedy such as mentioned in Mark 13:11. We must always act in faith by studying our scriptures and treasuring up what it is we learn. One way to do this is to pray continually and gain a deeper knowledge of what we are studying.

This is another blessing of the charity, even pure love of Jesus Christ. He has continually guided us to how we may serve Him best and bring to pass the building up of the Kingdom of the Lord. As we do so we will be blessed in this life or the next. We can know this because it is promised us. The road map is laid out for us. There may be difficulty, but we can know that it is all worth it.

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Thursday 6/23/16Mark 13:11 struck me because I always find it amazing that our faith can help us know what we need to say about the gospel when the time is right. And this is a gift we receive through the Holy Spirit. Mark 13:11 reads “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” This refers to times nearing the end of days, but the principle is there so I followed the footnotes to Matthew 10:19-20 which from Matthew 10:18 – 20 reads, “And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. / But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. / For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” I included verse 18 because even though this matches up on being scourged as followers of Jesus Christ, it is still an opportunity to share the Gospel and reach even one. I think of Abinadi as he was imprisoned by King Noah and is priests. Abinadi never gave up speaking as a disciple of Jesus Christ and was able to reach Alma (the older) whether he realized it before his death or not. Through Alma the Church of Christ had one of the most significant growths in the land of the Nephites. The footnotes in Matthew 10:19 lead us to D&C 24:6 where the Lord is commanding Joseph Smith to translate, preach and expound the scriptures. It reads, “And it shall be given thee in the very moment what thou shalt speak and write, and they shall hear it, or I will send unto them a cursing instead of a blessing.” Yet again we see that as we do what we are commanded we will be given what is needed this time we see it as a message to Joseph Smith, but it goes even further as the footnotes lead us to D&C 84:85 where The Church receives direction that we are to go forth as missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ and spread His gospel. We read, “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.” and it is here that we can see how the Spirit will help us in times of great tragedy such as mentioned in Mark 13:11. We must always act in faith by studying our scriptures and treasuring up what it is we learn. One way to do this is to pray continually and gain a deeper knowledge of what we are studying.

This is another blessing of the charity, even pure love of Jesus Christ. He has continually guided us to how we may serve Him best and bring to pass the building up of the Kingdom of the Lord. As we do so we will be blessed in this life or the next. We can know this because it is promised us. The road map is laid out for us. There may be difficulty, but we can know that it is all worth it.

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Tuesday 6/28/16 John 13: 5 -17 allows us to see the message that if we are to be true disciples of Christ and leaders then we will always remember to serve everyone, even those we lead. This whole moment where Jesus washed the apostles’ feet was a powerful moment reminding us that the Lord is also here to wash us clean that we may return to the Father. Still in verse 16 we see that as Jesus is explaining the principle he flags the next part as very important. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him” We see Christ as a great leader to us and He did as stated in verse 15 give us a great example to live by, but He also wants us to know that without a doubt He is in no way greater than the Father. This also reminds us as we follow in Jesus’ path He is the one that has guided us in what to do and we must not think ourselves greater than Him. With verse 17 I feel this is still part of the flagged message He states “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” We are totally guided by the love of Jesus Christ to spread His love and charity to all that we meet. As we follow the commandment to love one another we can feel that charity in our lives building us up and providing an indescribable joy and happiness.

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Wednesday 6/28/16 – In John 13:20 we see a flagged message from Jesus Christ warning us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” This is definitely letting us know that as we follow disciples of Christ, even His prophets, we will be following the Son and the Father. The footnotes guided me to 1 John 4:6 (1-6) which talks of discerning messengers of God from antichrists. This culminates in 1 John 4:6 “ We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” Now I wanted to go further and cover 1 John 4:7 – 13 (even though the whole chapter is amazing and further exemplifies my point) “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. / He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. / In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. / Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. / Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. / No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. / Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” We learn so much here that brings us full circle to the fact that as we follow Christ and His disciples we will receive the Father. We also get to learn of the importance of charity to bring us closer to the Father. God is love and we get to know of that love because He sent His only begotten Son that willingly and full of love Himself gave His life that we may be saved. Because of that love, even charity, we must also show that love to everyone and as we do we can feel the presence of God in us through His Spirit perfecting us as God also feels us with Him. We are so blessed to have this gospel as it works to show us the never ending power of the God Head and how we can be part of that power even here on Earth as we act in full faith as disciples of Jesus Christ. Charity is the all-encompassing grip in which the Father holds us and as we reflect that love we will be able to help even more feel that grip in which they are already held.

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Tuesday 7/5/16John 16: 7 brings to us an understanding that if Jesus were not to have left then we could not receive the Holy Ghost.  As I was reading these chapters especially John 14 -16 I started to try to visualize what it must have been like during this final moment with the Savior. Some understood that it must be, while others seemed to fight the idea at every moment. What a comfort these words spoken as recorded in John 16 could have been. In John 16:12 – 14 we can see how this is a message of continued learning and guidance which is one thing so many feared would be lost. Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. / Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. / He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” We will have the Holy Ghost, even the Spirit of truth, to look to for guidance that would be given us straight from the Lord. This brings even more light to why Jesus needed to leave us. He had much to do in the way of fulfilling His Father’s plan, even the atonement, but He is still a man of flesh and bone and cannot be with every person at every moment. The Holy Spirit, even the Comforter, is able to fulfill the omnipresence needed to guide us all and if we needed the sacrifice of the Lord to make that possible it needed to be done.

Here is another beautiful reflection of the love that the Father and the Son have for us. Another way to feel of their charity. Jesus sacrificed Himself and went through all that He did that we may also have the Comforter with us at all times. He knew that He could not fulfill the omnipresent need Himself nor could the Father and that is why they made it possible for the Holy Spirit to be that part of the God Head; that we may have the guidance we need to work our way back to the Father. We may also be able to be part of that charity and bring it to the world as we follow the guidance of the Spirit of truth and perform service for those around us. As we perform that charity, we and others (not even aware) can feel of that love continually being spread throughout the world as part of that omnipresent gift of the Holy Ghost.

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Friday 7/8/16 – I have tried to visualize what Peter would be going through in this time of losing the Savior and being told he will deny Him three times. In Luke 22: 31 – 34 we read, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: / But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. / And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. / And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.” I feel that a big clue to the situation is here in how Jesus introduced the command. He spoke of Satan desiring to sift him as wheat, the JST says sift the children of the kingdom as wheat. Either way this shows a desire to take them away and I feel this is even more literal at the moment. And the Savior is trying to save Peter from being sifted in a most dangerous moment. In Luke 22: 60-62 we read, “And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. / And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. / And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” What if we see the Lord letting Peter know he has done right and the bitter weeping is because Peter has done something he doesn’t want to do? I feel that we may have witnessed another example of strength, bravery, and sheer obedience rather than weakness and cowardice. The conversion the Lord mentions to Peter in verse 32 could very well be pointing out to Peter that as he learns and follows each new truth that will be coming his way, he must teach it to others.

This is another fine example of the Lords love. He has provided a way and a command that allowed Him to do what He must and leave behind others that could teach what the Lord has been teaching. It must have been difficult for Peter, but the Lord wanted a servant to stay behind and teach, not one that would follow Him straight into death. He is not consumed in such self-service, but rather selfless service. The Lord wants us to always have those that can help others.

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