Poured Out

As Jacob traveled to Padan-aram to live with his uncle, he had a dream in which the Lord renewed the promise He had made to Jacob's father and grandfather. Waking the next morning, Jacob built a stone pillar and poured oil on it as a form of worship. (See Genesis 28:18.) Years later, after Jacob... Continue Reading →

A Solemn Assembly

Today is the Jewish holiday Shemini Atzeret, which falls the day after the seven-day festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. The word shemini (שמיני) means eighth, and atzeret (עצרת) is a "solemn assembly." The Lord commanded ancient Israel twice to observe this day: "Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto... Continue Reading →

Impart

The wealthy man passed the beggar every day, but he never felt sufficient compassion to share. In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus provided a name for the beggar but not for the wealthy man, indicating where His sympathies lay. The rich man lived comfortably, even extravagantly. He "was clothed in purple... Continue Reading →

“Seek Diligently to Take Away Incumbrances”

When the Lord invited John Johnson to participate in the United Firm in 1833, He coupled that invitation with an assignment: He shall seek diligently to take away incumbrances that are upon the house named among you, Doctrine and Covenants 96:9 An encumbrance (or incumbrance) is a burden or an impediment to progress. As a legal term, it... Continue Reading →

Establish a House

In 1832, the Lord gave church members the following counsel: Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;Doctrine and Covenants 88:119 I've been thinking today about... Continue Reading →

Maintenance

In 1832, the Lord clarified some principles of caring for the poor and the needy. One of those principles was that parents have the primary responsibility to provide for the needs of their children. "All children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age" (Doctrine and Covenants 83:4). Maintenance refers to financial support, but more broadly... Continue Reading →

Knowledge and Power

As he worked on his translation of the Bible, Joseph Smith sought guidance from the Lord many times about the meaning of specific passages. As he studied the book of Revelation, Joseph asked about the four beasts described in Revelation 4:6-9. These beasts each have 6 wings, reminiscent of the seraphim in Isaiah's vision (Isaiah... Continue Reading →

“Spoken with Care”

Jesus said, "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." (Matthew 12:36). The word "idle" in this passage suggests carelessness or thoughtlessness. The speakers may not have intended to cause harm, but should have known better than to say what they did. A little more caution and restraint could have prevented the damage.... Continue Reading →

Rich and Poor

How much wealth we accumulate doesn't matter very much in the end, but our attitude toward wealth and the resulting actions matter very much. The prophet Jacob gave the following warning: Wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and... Continue Reading →

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