Progress of Commandments

Matthew 19:16-26

It is interesting to note the progression of the commandments that the Savior notes here in the conversation with the Rich young ruler.

They are listed here in order of grossest offense to most exalted behavior.

  1. Thou shalt do no murder

  2. Thou shalt not commit adultery

  3. Thou shalt not steal

  4. Thou shalt not bear false witness

  5. Honour thy father and thy mother

  6. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself

Then as the rich man acknowledges his faithfulness in adherence to all the above, the Savior makes this final set of injunctions:

If thou wilt be perfect:

  1. go and sell that thou hast, and
  2. give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven:
  3. and come and follow me.


Goodness Is Its Own Reward

Music and The Spoken Word -Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Episode 4163

Goodness Is Its Own Reward – June 28, 2009

We live in a world where awards seem to be freely given and freely received. In fact, sometimes the award becomes such a strong incentive for good work and behavior that it overshadows the more subtle rewards that might be enjoyed along the way.

Especially with today’s youth, awards are often larger-than-life motivations. Children work busily to complete their household chores with the hopes that it will earn them a special treat from their parents. Meanwhile the satisfaction of a clean home goes unnoticed. Teenagers bring home a stellar report card but can’t recall what they learned about at school that day. In their pursuit of good grades, they’ve somehow missed the thrill of gaining and applying knowledge.

Perhaps we unintentionally reinforce this attitude by expressing love or approval with expensive gifts, when little children are often quite pleased with the packaging—or even just the visit. We may deprive our young people of the most enduring rewards if we fail to teach them that goodness is its own reward. We feel good when we are doing good.

Indeed, the means can be just as fulfilling as the end if our motivations for achieving personal goals are not just the awards that dangle in front of us. We make more lasting progress and feel more contented when we learn to enjoy not only the reward but also the path that leads to it. Some young people long to graduate or secure a high-paying job, only to find that their “dream” is not as gratifying as they thought it would be. “What comes next?” or “Is this all there is?” may be their unspoken feeling.

If, however, we pay attention to the more understated moments of success along the way—the times we completed a difficult task, the mornings we arose early to exercise or study, the people we’ve helped—we begin to understand that the true reward is what we’ve become, not what we’ve earned. The Proverbs teach, “To him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward” (Proverbs 11:18). Intuitively children seem to know that. They just need to be reminded that while a prize is pleasing, a sense of doing right is the truest joy.

Program #4163

Old Testament, Lesson 1 “This Is My Work and My Glory”

Moses 1, Gospel Doctrine Manual: OT Lesson 1

I’m preparing by reviewing notes that I have personally taken on Moses 1:


As a point of clarification, point out that it is Jehovah that is speaking the words of the Father to Moses in these verses.

To Print:

Class members should understand that Jehovah, not Heavenly Father, appeared to Moses in this vision. Jehovah was the premortal Jesus Christ and the God of the Old Testament. He is one with his Father in purpose and represents him in power and authority. His words are those of the Father, and sometimes, as in Moses 1:6, he speaks in the first person for the Father. (See James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 12th ed. [1924], 470–71.)

You might also briefly share your conversation with Dallin about this passage. Jehovah is quoting his Father in these passages. May be read also:

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he aseeth the bFather do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (John 5:19)

Part 1: Moses 1:1-11

Slowly read these first 11 verses. Ask for a row of readers, one verses each. Maybe pause after verse 7 and discuss the doctrine of being children of God.

How does the knowledge of our divine heritage as children of God affect how we interact with others? How can it or how does it affect our family relationships?

Can you think of an example of how knowing that you are a child of God has changed you or your situation, or how that has blessed someone else?

If needed, ask someone to read this quote:

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: “Consider the power of the idea taught in our beloved song ‘I Am a Child of God.’ … Here is the answer to one of life’s great questions, ‘Who am I?’ I am a child of God with a spirit lineage to heavenly parents. That parentage defines our eternal potential. That powerful idea is a potent antidepressant. It can strengthen each of us to make righteous choices and to seek the best that is within us. Establish in the mind of a … person the powerful idea that he or she is a child of God, and you have given self-respect and motivation to move against the problems of life” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 31; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 25).

Continue reading verses 7 -11:

So we just established that man is the offspring of Diety. Now Moses concludes that “Man is nothing”.  How do we explain this gospel paradox?

How do you think this knowledge, “Man is nothing” prepare Moses for the work that was in front of him?

Part 2: Satan confronts Moses; Moses cast out Satan.

“Moses, son of man, worship me.”

Moses had learned that he had a specific work to accomplish.  So as a part of his rebuttal to satan he states that “I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him:” (vs. 18)

How does Moses repel satan’s influence?


Part 3: Moses learns of God’s work and glory.

What are the two questions that Moses asks God?

  1. aTell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them? (vs. 30)
  2. Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and atell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content. (vs 36)

Though actually, both questions are in verse 30:

  • Why these things are so? (What things?)
  • By what thou madest them?

Moses is again shown the earth and the inhabitants thereof.  Twice the Lord says “for mine own purpose have I made these things.” Then in verse 39, he finally explains what that purpose is:”To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”


INVITE AND PRACTICE: (Save 10 minutes for this.)

How are we going to apply this to our own lives.

Read this quote:

President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others. To each of us in our respective responsibilities the Lord has said: … ‘In doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord’ (D&C 81:4)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 94; or Ensign, May 1995, 71; see also D&C 81:5–6).

Ponder: How might a relationship that you may be struggling with right now be different with the perspective of being children of God?

Ponder: The church calling or callings that you currently occupy, how can you use it to further God’s work more effectively?



“We never saw it on this fashion,” Mark 2:12

Mark 2:12

And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

One thing that accompanied Christ at almost every turn of his ministry was a crowd. Fame was the undesired side effect of his effective ministry.

I’m thinking also of the man healed in the midst of the crowd. He “went forth before them all.” So this thing was not done in a corner, secretly.

However, the manner in which this particular miracle was performed caused everyone present to glorify God. This was an example of Christ’s teaching to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)


Mark 1

Mark 1 – Mark’s approach to documenting the Savior’s ministry is something of a populace approach. He talks of how Christ performed many miracles in healing the sick. This isn’t a bad thing, because repeatedly he is dealing with issues of logistics throughout this first chapter.

First Christ goes into a synagogue in Capernaum. He there preaches with authority, and then casts out  a devil that declares his divinity. Christ silences the devil’s testimony.  Shortly there after Christ heals Simon’s (Peter’s) mother-in-law in Simon’s home. She, upon being healed, prophecies to the entire house.

It appears that he’s still in Capernaum at this point, but by the time the events at Simon’s house conclude, evening has come and the fame of Christ (because of what had happened in the synagogue) is now spread throughout Galilee and the inhabitants of the city of Capernaum are at the front door of Simon’s house with their sick and diseased. Many lame are healed; many devils are cast out (He continued to silence the testimonies of the devils.)

The following morning, Christ departs into the wilderness for solace and a quiet place to pray. Soon Simon, and his other disciples whom he had called, arrived and inform the Savior of his fame in Capernaum. Jesus then says that they are going elsewhere to preach, explaining that this was their purpose.

Now near the end of the chapter, Mark records that Jesus heals a leper, and then charges the man  to not make it known. The healed man does not follow Christ’s mandate to “say nothing to any man.” The consequence of that man’s disobedience was this (vs. 45):

Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places.

Fame impeded Christ from doing his work, and being able to openly come and go in the cities to heal those who needed him.

So this chapter is a chapter of logistics and how to get the power of Christ to the people. The obstacles that impeded that progress, and the very establishment of the priesthood leadership (the calling of his apostles) that would make it so that he could do his work, are the focus of this first chapter of Mark.

Gratitude and Humility: Two Sides of the Same Key

Through a series of thoughts that culminated in a family home evening lesson last evening, I am brought to consider the two-sided key, or two-sided coin, of gratitude and humility. I say two-side because, on comparing the definitions, they are the same thing only in different contexts. Here’s how I’m defining the two terms:

Gratitude – to expressly acknowledge God’s blessing in our lives. (see Gratitude for the Goodness of God)

Humility – to recognize our dependence upon God and desiring to submit to His will. (from Guide to the Scriptures)

Now as I write this post, I find myself more in a state of sin than that of obedience, but recognizing such, and knowing that through further study and understanding of the doctrines of Christ, I can put myself into a place (through the grace of God or the enabling power of the Atonement of Christ) where I can then repent and improve, I’m anxiously longing to make connections, to overcome these vices and improve my position.

An Attitude of Gratitude

What does the Book of Mormon teach of gratitude and humility?

That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you. (Alma 34:38)

Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day. (Alma 37:37)

See Topical Guide on Thankfulness

Paring gratitude with humility adds “depth” or dimension to the principle of gratitude. Take for example 2 Nephi 9:42:

And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.

Those that are puffed up because of their learning, wisdom, or riches — this sounds like a condition of ingratitude, but Jacob the prophet  is using this to illustrate the need for humility. Here and elsewhere the phrase “depths of humility” is used. It suggests to me that there is a distance to be traveled between the lofty and vain aspirations of men and the lowly road of the humble. Is there not a distance to be traveled on the path to greater or more profound gratitude as well?

The scriptures say that we are to walk in thanksgiving daily, that definitely describes a journey more than a one-time occurrence.

And what of our attitude as we embark on the lowly road of humility? If there is a distance that must be traveled, how shall we travel it? By rejoicing gratefully every step of the way!

How can I be more grateful for Jesus Christ: His life, His Gospel, and His Atonement?

I have done a search this morning that has been on my mind: “Freely ye have received, freely give.” It is found in Matthew 10:8 and is instructions to his disciples. Another scripture came up in the search result in 1 Corinthians 2:12, and this is a key to having expanded gratitude:

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (emphasis added)

The point here is that we need the Spirit of God to be with us to recognize the blessings that come from God. Especially as we take into account something as infinite and eternal as the Atonement of Christ, how can we even begin to appreciate or understand its significance for us without the Spirit of God to teach us? This is what Alma was getting at in Alma 34:38 already referenced above.


What words do you hear in the word gratitude? Attitude and grateful.

President Joseph F. Smith said that ingratitude is the great sin of our day.

Gratitude is to expressly acknowledge God’s blessing in our lives.

When I’m reading scriptures, I like to look for the promised blessings and then assess whether or not I am doing the thing which is required to obtain the blessing.

Read D&C 78:19

When we pray, Jesus has taught us to be thankful first, and to express our thanks to God in our prayers. Why do you think that to always start our prayers with expressions of gratitude?

The story of the ten lepers. Luke 17

How did, or what did the leper do who showed gratitude? He gave praise to God.

(Have the kids take turns reading the verses outloud).

Have the kids talk about something that is important to them.  How can they show gratitude for that important thing?


God’s Love

An interesting dynamic was observed yesterday as I was fasting and praying about my own children as a group. I noticed that when my children choose to listen to and obey what I ask them to do, they feel happier and they tell me that they love me. On the contrary, those that push against what I ask them to do, frequently follow up their defiance with the phrase, I hate you.

Then I took a step back and contemplated when it was that I most frequently feel God’s love. It is when I am keeping his commandments. Then I also realized that sin causes me to feel the opposite and I am even tempted to believe that God must hate me, when I fail to be obedient to his commandments.


When you CHOOSE to


from social media, video, music, and gaming influences:

You OPEN yourself up to be influenced by

Peace, Harmony, Humility, Love, Kindness, Joy, Self Worth, Accomplishment, Esteem, Self Respect, and more.

Try It!

The challenge: go one month without media influences. Focus on creation and what you can do with your time. Then see how you feel about yourself and about life at the end of one month.

Then Create

Why it works: It’s a mixed bag of reasons, but one key element has to do with letting yourself tell you who you really are. Those that control the media have ultimately one goal: make it “enjoyable” so you will want more. IT IS a business, and businesses only work when they are making money. When they succeed at making your experience appear “enjoyable”, then they make more money. (Not an entirely evil motive, but left unchecked, it is malicious .