Blog #70, September 30, 2023 Righteousness is a worthy attribute to seek, but living a life of God-like virtue in the world today is a lofty improbable ideal. The adversary is right at the center of every temptation we face today. How tempting is it to be "tailgating" at a professional football game on Sunday instead of joining the brethren and fellowshipping with God as a people. Could you make that important sale by meeting with the customer after-hours in a bar that featured exotic dancers? I mean a couple of drinks never hurt anyone. What about that guy who cut you off in traffic, wouldn't you love to catch him and punch him out? Does the thought ever cross your mind that I could wear this expensive dress to the wedding then return it on Monday because of the "rip in it", and get my money back? How about, I'm getting laid off Friday. Maybe I should just "forget" to turn in the laser level I was issued by the contractor. He'll never miss it and it sure would be handy around the house. Everywhere, every day, every one of us has the opportunity, and the motivation to better our lives using methods that are not of the Kingdom. Why shouldn't we do it? Everyone else does. Proverbs 4:14-15 4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 4:15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. Every day each of us is tempted to turn away from God, but before you do look, and understand the intensive labor involved in rebellion. It is a task that requires complete and unmovable faith in the direction you choose. It must be more than just a belief; it has to be an evangelistic effort. You are choosing to become part of a community that is sustained by misdirection and doubt. Confusion sustains them and gives them strength. Joining with those who hide the truth, you develop within you the need to draw people away from God. This need will cause you to strive daily to corrupt the truth of God. Understand how adept you can become at this labor, and how well you hide your true intent from the people of God. Consider how much joy you will derive watching believers turn away from the truth and joining you and the world in a frantic search for lust, corruption, and death. Don't think for a moment that I am exaggerating what can happen or how easy it is to trip and fall into this pit with no bottom. Compare it to this one undeniable temporal fact: falling down requires no effort; standing back up is a trial. Genesis 4:13 And Satan came among them, saying, I am also a son of God, and he commanded them, saying, Believe it not. And they believed it not; and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual and devilish. Only the wisdom of God brought to us through His Spirit can bring light to our path. It will reveal Satan's lies and point us to another path we might take. In this light, lies are compared to the truth of God, and we begin to truly understand the hope that choice brings us. I will say this again because it is important; God gives us the hope that choice brings us. If the way you seek allows you no choice it is probably not of God. Such is the pattern promised, our free will, our agency, our ability to choose is a most important attribute in the eyes of God, and He will always help us to protect it. Genesis 3:4-5 3:4 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him; and also that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan. 3:5 Yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive, and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. The shining light of truth that we receive from God is a gift and the path to our salvation, but we must choose it. I can't stress this enough. We must choose to humble ourselves to the ways of God and choose Him, or we will be lost. Our growth will only continue if we seek it diligently and open our hearts to direction from His Holy Spirit. Rest assured, God knows the difficulties we face and He promises us that the more we seek to understand the easier it becomes to grasp His ideals and allow them to become part of the life we live. DC 50:6b and that which doth not edify, is not of God, and is darkness: that which is of God is light, and he that receiveth light and continueth in God, receiveth more light, and that light groweth brighter and brighter, until the perfect day. Proverbs 4:18-19 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 4:19 The way of the wicked is as darkness; they know not at what they stumble Traveling through this life is difficult enough without allowing the adversary to blot out our connection to the truth and leave us forever in the darkness of doubt. Look to the world and let it horrify you at the number of people who are doing just that. Each day they wander aimlessly through life striving but never achieving, wanting but never receiving, searching but never finding. Most finally give up and plant them self in front of the TV and wait on death. If that doesn't break your heart it should, because we have an answer to a dilemma that most of them don't know is there's to choose. This awareness defines our covenant labor in a way that is crystal clear. We need to reach out and share God's love. We must be ready to live the testimony of the hope that choice brings. We must be prepared to do it again, and again, and again. Proverbs 4:20-23 4:20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 4:21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 4:22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Again, we are reminded of God as our Father and we as His children. In His love for us, He brings us both knowledge and understanding. God's words are the keys to life. Christ's life is the key to understanding how our life should be lived. The Spirit brings to those who listen truisms that tell us of the freedom God gives us to apply these lessons to the life we live and begin growing in truth, wisdom, and the ability to share all that we have been given. This is the nature of the glorious covenant labor. It is the foundation of the hope that choice brings. 2 Nephi 6:78 I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth, and are not shaken. John 8:32-36 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 8:33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man; how sayest thou, ye shall be made free? 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever, but the Son abideth ever. 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Helaman 5:85 And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge, and he hath made you free; With a steadfast faith, we keep the words of God in our hearts and allow them to change who we are and how we live. Then others will see with their own eyes the change that has been wrought in our life and the life of those who believe. We will become a testimony to the world of God working in the life of man. Job 33:26-29 Job 33:26 He shall pray unto God, and he will be favorable unto him; and he shall see his face with joy; for he will render unto man his righteousness. Job 33:27 He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; Job 33:28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Job 33:29 Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man. This is the simplicity of our labor, and the task before us. When we choose to serve God, we seek to testify of His wisdom with every breath we take and every step we make. Our labor is a task of both diligent words and purposeful deeds that will produce a life that will last forever. Proverbs 4:24-27 4:24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 4:25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 4:26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 4:27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left; remove thy foot from evil. A word of warning, do not depend on your own self-discipline to adapt these ways of God to your life; we aren't strong enough. Only by seeking the will of God through the strength of our humility to His Spirit will we be sustained. Remember, the Spirit is not a crutch we are to use until we are healed. The Spirit is the mind of God placed in our hearts and is a companion sent by God to lead us and help us grow. He is our personal connection to God and the ways of God. The Spirit is the strength we lack, the light that dispels the darkness we suffer from, and a testimony that speaks to our hearts always of the hope that choice brings. DC 1:5a-5c 5a Behold, I am God, and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding; 5b and inasmuch as they erred it might be made known; and inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed; 5c and inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent; and inasmuch as they were humble, they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time; Understand God’s part in our labor. Seek out our part in His. Labor in the strength you are given and you will be given more. Phil 4:8-9 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just; whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you. If you allow the Spirit to guide you, your heart will find that which is profitable for the Kingdom. When you allow the Spirit to lead you, you will walk in the way of the master. Such is the way of wisdom as offered by the Father. Such is the truth of the promises He offers those who choose His way. Such is the hope that choice brings. Choose Him and hope abounds. Fred.