Bible Talk – Week 7: Saying, Say ye… (And We Will Persuade Him)

Luke 12: 15 – And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

During this week I was reading the final chapters of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. My thoughts turned toward the verses found in Matthew 28: 11-15. These verses come after Jesus’ resurrection and crucifixion, and after the angels were at the tomb to tell Mary and Mary Magdalene that Jesus had risen. They then say to tell the disciples, and along the way, Jesus tells them to have them meet in Galilee where they will see Him. Then these verses come after:

11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch (guard) came into the city, and shewed (reported) unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large (much) money unto the soldiers,

13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.

14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

These verses were interesting because it points out the fact that some were payed to essentially preach that the Savior did not rise from the dead, but rather that his body was removed by the disciples. In short, they were persuaded to not share the gospel, or even to share false testimony against the Gospel.

I feel that this does happen in our day, still. Although we have many testimonies of the Savior, and his Gospel, we face a constant battle of those who have negative feelings toward the church. Whether they be from a negative experience, or simply a dwindling testimony that lead to inactivity and eventually hostility, they tend to share their negative experiences with many–especially through mass communication of social media and other outlets.

I talked with a friend who brought up the idea “do a google search from the eyes of an investigator about the church, and there will be many voices that will confuse and misguide.” As a missionary, we sometimes found people who told us that they had felt something during our lessons, but then were afraid because of the things that their family had said about The Church, and whether true or not, they did not want to upset anyone. They faced the opposition that always comes when good is growing.

Second, we know that where there is good growing, the power of the adversary will inevitably be growing as well. We have seen that even though the church is growing, the world is veering more and more down the path contrary to the Gospel. Since the world will continue this path, as promised in the scriptures, we should be giving and adding to the side of Good. Often, we don’t share the Gospel—out of laziness and worldly distractions. (we should do a hashtag here… like #sinOfOmission)

The conclusion that we came to was that we, as members, need to “flood the earth” (or our lives) with the Good News of the Gospel, which will make an impact on others. As a result, lessen the fact and weight that so much negativity can be found, even on Google. And there is so much good in the gospel! Think of the countless blessings and the joy of a happy family, and a peaceful conscience!

We have so many methods available to us with the continually growing technologies. Instead of just “liking” or “commenting” on a religious or uplifting post about the Church, we should “share” it! Silly enough, such a simple act will help, because enough shares will improve the SEO (search engine optimization – in essence, how easily a link can be found) of a post. What if we were to get into the habit of sharing all those good things on our pages? Would that not allow the uplifting of the Gospel to strengthen those facing the more of the difficult things in life?

If I were ever offered money to testify against the truth, I hope I would never take it. So, to conclude this week’s Bible Talk, I share my testimony with you:

I know that God loves us. Because He loves us, He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to give us the example, and the way. He is our Savior who paid for our sins so that we can repent and become clean, and hope to enter his presence. Without him, we surely are without hope.

I know that Jesus Christ lives. He also loves us. For this, He suffered.

I also know that the Gospel that he shared and taught does bring joy to those who live it, and have desires to follow Him. I know that the struggles in this life are often hard and sometimes seem hopeless—but I also know that the greatest being who ever walked this earth has overcome even death to become your source of strength, and your source of hope. I promise that he wants us all in His presence after this life, and that he has provided those means. All that he asks of us is to keep the commandments, and to follow him. I hope that we can do so–because it will bless us greatly.


PS: If you like this post or blog, share it! You never know who might need it.


Bible Talk – Week 5: Peter Went Out, and Wept Bitterly.

 Draw From Your Mistakes – They can be motivation to keep trying to become something better. 

I wanted to take a moment and talk about repentance by using the example of Peter, specifically in Luke 22: 60-62. (See below for full portion)

In 60-62, Peter realizes that he had just fulfilled what Jesus had told him not long ago–That he would deny Christ three times before the rooster crows. He had spent his whole night denying that he knew Christ and rejecting opportunities to defend Him. In verse 61, it even says that Jesus turned to look at Peter, and then he realized what Jesus was telling him. After this painful realization, Peter left the general area and “wept bitterly.”

Have there not been times in life that have made you weep bitterly at your decisions? Or even regret your mistakes and missed opportunities?

I know that there are countless moments in my life where I haven’t been who I believe that I am, and moments where I haven’t kept my word. There have been times where I lacked understanding enough, sometimes even just to take something seriously, and because of it, I failed the bigger picture.

I was able to consider the example of Peter in these verses, where he found himself falling short and unable to return and fix his mistake. He failed to defend the Savior of the world, and that’s a lot bigger than any of us have had to face. Although he had made such a huge mistake, we can look at the rest of his life. (Well, the rest of his life after Christ’s resurrection and having to redirect Peter once again to not turn back to simply fishing again and instead to go preach the Gospel.) Peter was a great example of realizing a mistake, then feeling godly sorrow enough for it to try to make up for it (even, I’m sure, knowing that he would never be able to fully repay his debt to the Savior who owed him nothing), and so he worked for the rest of his life sharing the Gospel and turning from his old ways in order to follow the Savior’s example.

I have been able to experience the change that the Gospel can bring into our lives as we not only learn from and turn from our past big mistakes, but even the little ones, as well. Our bitter tears and our simple regrets can turn us back to God. I know that we can feel the presence of the Holy Ghost as we try to change our very natures and repent. Thanks to Christ, and his suffering for our sins to pay the debts we owe to justice, not only Peter was able to change, but everyone in the world is able to repent and change and prepare to meet God and — if we continually try to become like Him by repentance, we can once again live with God, having eternal life in His presence.



54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.

55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.

56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.

57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.

58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.

59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilæan.

60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.

61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Bible Talk – Week 5: Watch, and Be Aware

Where can you make time for God in place of the time for the world?

Luke 21: 34-36 is a great scripture and reminder. Specifically 36. These are the verses with some notes from footnotes.

34  And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (rioting), and drunkenness, and cares (footnote says “worldliness”) of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares (footnote leads to bible dictionary “procrastination”).

35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, (and keep the commandments,) that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

This scripture has been a principle to live by, always, but after reading through it a few times more and looking at footnotes, I had the thought–where it says “cares of this life” and the footnote says “worldliness.” I decided to look up the word worldly, and it opened up a whole meaning to our life now. This is what it said:

world·li·ness: the quality of being experienced and sophisticated – concern with material values or ordinary life rather than a spiritual existence.

I considered my life’s habits, especially involving social media, what I do with my free time, or even just my daily thoughts. The more I evaluate my day and all that is a part of it, the more I realize that — I spend a whole lot of time focusing on such unimportant things that are absolutely not uplifting. From my life’s experience, the Gospel is a provider of peace, comfort, motivation, and overall joy. For some reason, though, I choose (by choosing other things) to focus on things that are worldly by catching up on my media and killing time playing games on my phone. Once it then comes to reading the scriptures or fulfilling my duties as a priesthood holder, I groan that I “don’t have much time.”

I’m not saying that phones are bad, media is always negative, or that everything in the world is negative (consider the love shared when a good gift is given in sincerity), but rather that we should often take time to consider how we are doing in focusing on spiritual things that will make us happy. I hope that I never become someone that Elder Neal A Maxwell mentioned when he said “For many moderns, sad to say, the query “What think ye of Christ?” (Matt 22:42) would be answered, “I really don’t think of Him at all!”

My invitation to you is to spend time this week to evaluate your daily schedule and thoughts. Where can you make time for God in place of the time for the world?

Bible Talk – Week 4: Be Wise In Your Wishes

“A Friend At Midnight”

Any thoughts on this, please feel free to give insight – This is still something I’m considering and thinking about, so it may seem like a disorganized thought.

The main idea is to “Be Wise In Your Wishes.” In that, I’m referring to the fact that God will listen to our prayers and answer prayers, but sometimes we forget to be humble in our requests because sometimes we ask for things we shouldn’t, and should rather focus on the simple principles that can guide our life. (For example, work is one of those principles)

Luke 11:5-10 (For full verses, read at the bottom) is a metaphor/parable/lesson from Jesus, sometimes called “The Friend at Midnight” – It starts with a question asking basically, “if you’re in need, do you go to your friend?” Summarized, Jesus gave the situation of going to your friend’s house to get food for a guest who has traveled far to get to your home. Your friend answers the door and says, “Stop bothering me; It’s late and my family is asleep with me.” And he doesn’t help you at first, but then you start to bug him (importunity) by being persistent or begging or knocking several times. So, because you were persistent, the friend gets up and gives you what you asked for. Then Jesus teaches in verse 9: “Ask for it, and you’ll get it. Look for it, you’ll find it. Knock doors, and one will open.”

Many people read this and think of all the things that are available to us through prayer. I find it interesting, though, that this lesson about persistence in prayer comes directly after the warning/idea of “Lead us not to temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I think (and this is a personal belief, not a scriptural doctrine from this passage) that we often pray for things that we don’t really need, or things that we would be better without. But we keep praying and praying for it that God, although a very patient God, is sometimes needing to teach us that we should be humble in our prayers, so that He can guide us, so he gives us what we ask for.

Another interesting thought is that this story is just before Jesus saying that God does not give things that will harm us if we ask for things that are good. If we don’t ask for the right thing, but we want it to be good for us, we can have comfort in knowing that “All things work together for good” (to them that love God), so even when we pray for things that aren’t right, and we get it and it becomes a trial, sometimes the lesson we learn is worth a lot. Yes, we bring trials upon ourselves at times, but when we are obedient or turn to God once again, we are blessed as we are persistent in good.

One example in LDS history and scripture is Martin Harris. He was at one point an example of asking for something he shouldn’t. God said no to Martin’s request the first couple times when he wanted to show the original manuscript to his family. Martin Harris told Joseph to ask again. After many times, he was given permission, but with specific instructions to only show the manuscript to those certain people he had asked about. Martin disobeyed the restrictions and did not keep his word, so trials came. God was prepared for this from the beginning, but it was a lesson for them, especially Martin Harris, and those who ponder the lessons from the story.

This week, my invitation is to find how you can be humble in your prayers. In the very least, try to (in your heart) remember that God will always be aware of your needs, so even though he wants to give you every good thing, sometimes it will require more effort than just a prayer, and sometimes he will withhold something because it isn’t right at this point, or that something needs to fall in line first.

Have a great week.


Full Verses: Luke 11: 4-13

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Bible Talk – Week 3: Go, and Do Your Best (Go, and Sin No More)

Flower Teardrop
“And she stumbles onto the ground in front of him, embarrassed, ashamed, and feeling heavy… but Jesus… tells her that… even He… does not condemn her.”

John 8:3-11

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Verses 10 and 11 always get me.

I imagine every time they bring the woman, accused/found in adultery, to Jesus, they push her pretty forcefully and she stumbles onto the ground in front of him, embarrassed, ashamed, and feeling heavy. Then they yell about her faults and imperfections (sometimes I feel that we do this to ourselves in our heads because we feel inadequate to ourselves… in a way, we’re sometimes both the accused and the accusers). Not only do they point out the flaws or sins, but also they point them out to the one person that we wish we could present ourselves to in as close to perfect state as possible. It must have been one of the worst feelings of that woman’s life—even more so than the guilt. And I’m sure she was afraid.

But to her disbelief, Jesus doesn’t give the punishment that she was surely waiting for—which was, at that time, rocks being thrown at you until you die (not a happy time). Instead of being stoned to death, Jesus said “Let he that is without sin among you cast the first stone.” As we know, everyone leaves because everyone’s a sinner. He basically said “If there are any more stones to be thrown, I have to be the first to do it.” BUT , Jesus is still there with her, and He IS the only one without sin. He tells her that no one condemns her, and that even He, (the Savior and her Judge), does not condemn her. Then he tells her to go her way, and to “sin no more.”

It’s amazing to think of all the things we can learn from the Savior’s example, and from His nature shown in the scriptures. I think that we often are found with dust and dirt from being tossed around by our bad habits, or even lack of good habits. Sins of omission and forgetfulness are constantly piling up on us. But by no longer having to be condemned and killed for disobeying the commandments, we can keep trying, and I’m so thankful for that.

It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that even though we all sin, Jesus just wants us to dust ourselves off through personal commitment to change, and to try living the commandments again.

As a personal witness, I know that the Savior still forgives us as we pray and promise at least in our hearts to change. Sometimes it takes work, more than we want to give at once, but as we get closer and try each time to do better, we can feel the Savior’s love that made it possible to try hard and fail often until we can one day become who He sees in us.

Bible Talk – Week 2: A Marriage Tip

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

When you hear this scripture, do you ever consider the amount of judgment we should be giving others? When is it right to judge? Or even, how can we find the happy medium between judgment and love?

My wife and I were listening to these talk tapes by Dr. John Lund called “For All Eternity.” They are amazing talks with great info that have definitely changed the whole attitude of our marriage and the relationships with anyone we communicate with. One of the portions of the talk tapes was about giving criticism–when it is okay to give and when it is not. The basic idea was that:

1. There is no such thing as constructive criticism because criticism is breaking down, not building.

2. We are equals, so we are not called to be judges. I loved what he said: “Your calling is not to judge, but to love.”

By promising faithfulness to your spouse, you have accepted responsibility for them. In a sense, being a husband or wife is now a “calling.” It has been said that “He whom the Lord calls, He qualifies.” You are enough for your spouse, and your spouse is enough for you. Since neither of you are perfect, what is the point of criticism and judgment? And how can we lift others when we’re spending time judging them? If you want to uplift, inspire, and encourage, be willing to also change yourself, because that’s much easier than changing another person.

Before reading the following, keep this in mind:

First, a mote and a beam are both used in this scripture, but a mote is a very small thing, even a speck, as in “a mote of dust”. A beam is “a long, sturdy piece of squared timber or metal spanning an opening or part of a building” (Although this might not be the right definition, Think of the size difference of a mote and a beam)

Matthew 7:3-5 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

I work with clients with mental disabilities and it can get very frustrating because they can often test your patience. Part of my job is to teach them, which can easily become a moment where I am lacking love–especially when they have short term memory and do the same thing wrong repeatedly. I have been working on loving instead of judging while I teach them how to act/behave, and it has made all the difference. They don’t have to feel defensive or inferior because of my tone, words, or body language, and I have felt more patient and happy. I think this relates because at some point in my life I’m sure I was still learning and either my earthly or heavenly parents had to tell me the same thing repeatedly.

I have always tried hard to get rid of pride–specifically any feelings of superiority–and it has been difficult. Whether by having more talent than someone else or being “more dedicated to the gospel”, it happens. Although we can judge others and have a mote in our eyes, sometimes we just need to learn communication skills and have love. A great way to more or less remove a mote from the beam in our eyes” is to get to know someone, maybe by asking questions. Although we may still have the beam in our eyes, at least we will show love by trying to understand them. And who knows… maybe you’ll learn something.

Bible Talk – Week 1: Faith

Matthew 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

God has all power, and is able to fulfill his word, even when to us it may seem impossible.

Luke 1: 36-37: The first scripture is about the two great women, Mary and Elisabeth. They were both bearers of the children that scripture had been talking about: Jesus and John the Baptist. The cool thing for both of them is that Mary “knew not a man” and Elisabeth was unable to have children and of old age. They both had children because “With all things, nothing shall be impossible.” Scientifically, worldly, or by the understanding of man, that isn’t possible and to believe that it happened is an act of faith, but God made it happen because he fulfills his word and keeps his promises.

Mark 4: 35-41: Jesus says in the 35th verse, “Let us pass over unto the other side.” In short, Jesus said they were going to make it to the other side. But then a storm comes and He is sleeping. Those in the boat are afraid they will die, but Jesus is woken up by the men, calms the waters, and tells them that they don’t have faith.

That always confused me… he tells them (maybe some of the apostles, I don’t remember) that they have no faith… but of course they have some. But what it seems he is saying is that they had no faith that they would all make it to the other side safely.

Jesus basically promised that he would be going to the other side with them, but they were fearful, and did not understand that God is in control and will fulfill his promises.

Often, we are afraid because it seems like we aren’t getting what we want, or it looks like we aren’t being led in the right direction. I have seen my life heading in a different direction than I anticipated. While confused and afraid, I struggled, forgetting to trust God that he can do what he promises. I needed to trust his timing, his plan, and that it can make me happy.

I hope that you can understand that God loves you a ton, and that you don’t need to struggle and fear, as long as you stay inside the boat and trust God.

Have a great week.

– Jonathan

Major Changes: A Response to Sarah

An article that caught my eye was about changing majors called “Changing Your Major Doesn’t Have to Be Scary.”

The writer, Sarah Abdelkahlek, explains her feelings as she changed majors from biology to psychology. She wanted to pursue a doctorate degree, so it definitely sounds like she is committed.

She expressed her outlook on the change, and I think it summarizes at least a part of how we should make decisions about majors. She said, “Now that I switched my major and I know I want to be a clinical psychologist, I finally feel like I’ll be able to contribute to an area I’m passionate about, and that’s a very satisfying feeling.”

I love that! I think it’s important sometimes that we remember that even though some of the work that we do in our careers and majors are frustrating or don’t interest us at times, we can remember that at least we are “able to contribute to an area [we’re] passionate about.” I, personally, am passionate about being able to express one’s self in creative ways. I write music, poetry, draw, write stories, and (used to) keep a daily journal. There are so many things that we can share with others that will be of benefit to them in many ways. Of course, we don’t always agree with everything we read or hear, but I think it’s a beautiful thing to be able to freely express your views and dedicate yourself to a cause that you are passionate about.

I changed majors from Computer Engineering to Communication. I am a creative writer and artist by nature, and I want to be able to communicate my message to my readers so that they can grow from what I express or teach.

To me, it’s important to focus on the things that are uplifting, or learn from the things that aren’t so that I can help others. To be honest, that’s why I write poetry. I want whoever reads my poems to at least be able to relate to what I’m expressing. Good and bad feelings are ok to express! I’ve learned over the years that when you put up walls to filter yourself, or when you cut out the negative feelings from your writing, not only does the writing suffer, but so do the people around you in the sense that they can miss out on that feeling of identity when they need it. I never want someone to feel alone, and I’ve learned that no one is, truly, because someone around them has had a similar experience that can help them in their life.

I have written a lot about PTSD, depression, anxiety, OCD, loneliness, and a lot of other things that tend to relate to psychology and similar behaviors. It has been a wonderful feeling to be able to see how my writing affects others in a positive way. (I hope this doesn’t sound like bragging, but…) I have seen people change from a hopeless state to a hopeful state because of my writing, and have received personal thanks for writing what I do.

I know I went off in a different direction with this post, but I think that the overall idea that I want to give from this week’s post is: When we pursue what we are passionate about, it benefits us and the world around us. If our career involves our passion, our wallet isn’t the only thing that grows happier, but ourselves as well.

My invitation is to find, follow, or help others fulfill their passion. Consider what you might be passionate about and then find ways to contribute to it; there are many people out there who will thank you.

Thanks for reading

A Thought About Corrosive Pressure

warning-caustic (1)“If you love it, let it go.”

I completely disagree.
I propose:
If you love it, love it until it comes crashing and burning down in metaphorical flames. Then build it from the foundation up.
Naturally, don’t try this with people, and make sure you’ve got that foundation built correctly.

This was a point of view that came into my head several months ago that I wrote down.  I write songs.  I write lyrics and poetry so often that sometimes words come to my head without me understanding what they mean. Some of it is just junk, but the other part helps me understand what I’m feeling. Sometimes It takes me days to think about it and figure out what I was trying to express.  This one came from someone else’s life.  I had spoken with a girl who expressed her worry about her relationship; she was being pushed and manipulated.

When I asked her about her plan to change this, she wasn’t able to say much.  ‘Maybe something will change,’ she said.  She still waits.

I was a little bothered about these situations that are not rare to see, so, as always, I wrote down the feeling. After much thought, I was still unable to figure out what I was trying to express in the statement, I asked a friend (Alex LeTerneau) about it.   He said we should always improve our talents, but, with people, pushing brings negative results.

“Don’t try and burn out people,” LeTerneau said. “Love them well, love them sustainably. Dont become obsessive or caustic, otherwise the relationship will die.”

Caustic? I asked.

“Literally, it means corrosive, acidic. In this instance, toxic or detrimental, actively wearing down your relationship through excessive passion.”

His words intrigued me.  Do we, out of impatience, want to squeeze everything we can out of an opportunity?  We should always in the sense of our hobbies and interests.  When we have a passion, our desire to obtain it should push us forward constantly. It can help us apply ourselves and work our hands to the bone if necessary.

The thing we always need to remember is this: never impose our will upon another, and don’t give too much of yourself to a person all at once.

In short, my message today is to be persistent in your desire to become better, but in relationships, don’t push the other down with persistent desire.


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