This "hands-on" is in the form of what we call a personal testimony.

My personal ideas and interpretations.

I hope it's useful. If not, I hope you'll forgive me for wasting your time.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Scripture-a-Week: Whom Should We Fear?

Matthew 10: 28 --
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Are we supposed to fear the devil? Why does this other scripture (Deuteronomy 4: 10) say,
... I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth,...
That's not the devil speaking there, that's God.

Wait, why are we supposed to be afraid of God, even?

Hebrews 12: 28 is worth a thought.
... let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Godly fear. What is that? What does it have to do with reverence?

What do you do when you are afraid? Do you panic? Behave like the proverbial deer in the headlights and freeze? Become hysterical or otherwise lose your sense of reason, perspective, and self?

When psychologists talk about responses to stress and fear, you often hear the expression
fight or flight.
I don't think this is godly fear at all. The 34th Psalm is pretty explicit:
4: I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
8: O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
9: O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
Let's look in a dictionary. In the middle of all this stuff about distress and anxiety, we see words like awe and respect. I linked the LDS sripture helps entry on fear above (and here).

I think godly fear is like godly sorrow, it moves us to do good things (2 Corinthians 7: 10). And, more than just motivating us to do good things, it teaches us to have confidence when we stand before God.
... perfect love casteth out fear ... (1 John 4: 16-19)
So, let's look back at some verses around Matthew 10: 28.
29: Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
31: Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
By the way, what kind of power does the devil have?
... Why will ye yield yourselves unto him that he may have power over you, to blind your eyes, that ye will not understand the words which are spoken, according to their truth?  (Alma 10: 25.)
If we don't believe the devil's lies, what kind of power does he have over us?

Is the devil actually able to destroy the soul in hell? The way I read the book of Job, he is not even able to start causing us trials and problems without permission from God. (Job 2: 2-7.) And, if we continue to fear God more than man or the devil, God helps us. It can be kind of painful, but he takes care of us at the end. (Job 42: 10, 12.)

Can we trust God? I think we can -- far more than we can trust human teachers, coaches, family, friends, enemies, whatever.

I admit, I sometimes complain when life gets hard, but I think I can trust Him. He doesn't give me exactly what I think I want when I think I want it, but, like two troubadours said,
... if you try sometimes, you get what you need.
(Yeah, I listen to the Stones, too, sometimes. Owl City, too.)

We don't need to fear the devil, just understand that he will try to decieve us, and tempt us to do things that will not make us happy in the end.

People aren't perfect, and we let each other down sometimes. We don't need to fear people, either. We should try to understand them, instead.

God can be scary sometimes, but I think He is much more dependable than the alternatives. If our fear of God moves us to understanding ourselves, what we are and what we can be, we do not have to be afraid of Him.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4: 18-19.)
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. (John 8: 31, 32.)

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Jesus instructed the unbelieving Jews:
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5: 39)
He also used the scriptures when teaching His chosen disciples:
  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24: 44-47)
From the Book of Mormon, Nephi tells us how important he thinks the scriptures are:
And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children. (2 Nephi 4: 15)
The leaders of the Church also tell us regularly about the importance of scripture. For instance, in the last general conference, Devin Durrant talked about one method of getting oneself deeper into scripture study:

First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day.
Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week. (Sunday afternoon, Octobr 4th)
These are just a sampling of scriptures that talk about the immportance of studying and understanding the scriptures.

Sort-of-in-the-spirit of Br. Durrant's scripture-a-week suggestion, my wife suggested we start talking about a scripture each week as a family. And I'm thinking I'll blog some of them.

This is the first.