Maturity requires awareness and honesty. John the Baptist and Alma both used a metaphor of an ax resting beside a tree to help their listeners overcome complacency and choose to repent.
There is a serenity in knowing that our work is done, but there is also a calm assurance in the sense that we have more to do and that there will be enough time to do it. Simeon's confidence that he would see the Messiah and his contentment when that promise was fulfilled illustrate the calming influence of faith.
From Their Sins
What does it mean to be saved by Jesus Christ? Is it like receiving a presidential pardon, with the consequences of our actions eliminated by a legal authority? Or like amnesty, where we get a clean slate and a chance to start over? Both of these descriptions tell part of the story. But Jesus doesn't... Continue Reading →
Repentance and Resolutions
January is a good time to repent. Setting resolutions can be part of a pattern of change which can lead to incremental improvement throughout the year. Here are some of my resolutions for 2023.
It's Christmastime, and there is a large tree in my house covered with lights. I'm sure many of you have one of those as well. As I've observed our tree, I've thought about the symbolism of trees in the scriptures, particularly in the Book of Mormon. Near the beginning of the Book of Mormon, a... Continue Reading →
It's an uncomfortable feeling to wear filthy clothing, particularly on a formal occasion. Zechariah saw in a vision the high priest Joshua standing in front of an angel, "clothed with filthy garments" (Zechariah 3:1-3). The angel commanded the people with him to take away Joshua's filthy clothing. He said, "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity... Continue Reading →
The prophet Nahum characterized the chaos which would accompany the destruction of the Assyrian Empire in this way: Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them. Nahum 3:18 As Ezekiel would later point out, a shepherd is supposed to be... Continue Reading →
A Famine…of Hearing the Words of the Lord
When Alma spoke in the city of Zarahemla, he asked a number of questions to help his listeners assess their own spiritual state. "Have ye spiritually been born of God?" he asked. "Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" (Alma 5:14). Later in the sermon, he addressed a question to... Continue Reading →
How can you call yourself a shepherd if you only think about yourself? That's the question Ezekiel asked the leaders of his people. "Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves," he said. "Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?" (Ezekiel 34:2). When we are young, we are naturally self-centered. It's to... Continue Reading →
Past Performance Is Not Necessarily Indicative of Future Results
The Lord commanded Ezekiel to teach a challenging principle to the children of Israel: No matter what you have done in the past, what really matters is what you are doing today. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be... Continue Reading →