Friday, December 20, 2013

Let us invite God back into Our Lives!

This is a great article. Worth reading if you haven't read it yet and worth reading again if you have seen it before! I want to share it with the world.

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year, which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a nativity scene, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.

I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God?

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking. Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorist attacks, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK. Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet? Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what a bad shape the world is in. My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully, Ben Stein

Go Ben and Billy Graham's daughter! I agree 100%. We need to invite God back into our lives now, more than anytime I can remember in my life.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Do We Automatically Learn from Suffering?

Neal A Maxwell said:

One of the realities of the kingdom is that we work with each other in the midst of our imperfections. We see those imperfections as well as the traits and talents that God has blessed us with. And during this process of life together in the community of Saints, we watch each other grow. It is not surprising when we see each other grow as a result of the opportunities in the kingdom. And it isn't usually just one muscle that is developed. On the other hand, we see people in the Church for whom adversity is an anesthetic and for whom suffering is a sedative. And in that soil the root of bitterness can spring up. I wish I could say to you that suffering teaches automatically, but it doesn't. To paraphrase Anne Morrow Lindbergh: If suffering inevitably taught us, the human family would be a very wise family indeed. (see Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead [New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973], p. 214). It takes meekness to learn from suffering.

Some here know that for 25 years I have felt one of the precious verses in all scripture about discipleship was the one given to the Prophet Joseph in Liberty Jail: "All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good" (D&C 122:7). That premise is that experience is valuable, and the only way to have it is to have it. And whether it involves adversity or whatever, then we are blessed. Notice these lines from Paul: "Knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope" (Romans 5:3–4).
You may ask, "There is no other way?"

And I answer, "No, there is not. There is no other way." And thus, in this discipleship about which I am speaking, it is so essential that out of these experiences we form character. It is much easier in this life to be a character than to have character. And we see characters before us in the media all the time. To have character is a special and wonderful thing, but to develop it is not a pain-free process.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

20 Of the Lord’s Miracles Given through Moses

1. Moses sees the burning Bush on Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God - The Lord identifies himself as Jehovah – Ex. 6:3
2. Aaron’s rod turns into a Serpent, Turns the river to blood. He sends the plagues of frogs, lice, flies, the cattle of Egyptians destroyed, but not the cattle of the Israelites. He sends boils and blain, hail and fire, locust and three days of thick darkness.
3. The firstborn of Egyptians destroyed, but not the firstborn of the Israelites. After sending all the plagues upon the Egyptians so that Pharaoh will “Let His People Go”, Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt after 430 years.
4. They get in the desert and complain of the heat. The Lord provides a cloud by day for shade.
5. They are afraid of the dark, so the Lord provides a night light for them, a pillar of fire by night.
6. They complain, “I’m thirsty” The Lord heals the waters of Marah.
7. The Lord leads them and they reach the beach of the Red Sea. Moses finds them there beaching and moaning.
8. They see the Egyptians coming after them and curse Moses because the Egyptians will now surely kill them. Moses put up his hands, waves his magic rod and the Red Sea parts.
9. Moses tells them to hurry across to the other side. They complain, “We might get our feet muddy.” Moses tells them to get their asses, (and camels) to the other side.
10. They get to the other side and say, “Way to go Moses, the Egyptian army is still coming through the Red Sea after us. We are going to die! Moses raises his arms again, the waters of the Red Sea come back in their proper place and all the Egyptian armies are drowned.
11. Now they complain about being hungry. The Lord provides them with manna every day but the Sabbath, for 40 years.
12. They complain, “Only manna?” “Can’t you order pizza or McDonalds and have it delivered?” Instead, the Lord sends quail via air mail.
13. “We’re thirsty again; can’t you give us some caffeine free Pepsi?” The Lord gives them something better for them, He tells Moses to take his magic rod and smites a rock and a never ending spring of fresh water gushes forth.
14. Instead of being grateful, they want Moses to perform a miracle to prove he is a Prophet of God?? Are you kidding me?
15. So, God calls Moses to Mt. Sinai. (The Temple)
16. Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the 70 see God. (The Law of Witnesses)
17. The Lord gives Moses two tablets of Testimony and Covenants. (I Think of the two priesthood covenants of the temple) The two tablets gave them priesthood power to do everything. That is when the Lord wanted to give them two tablets, the two tablets would be two 64 bit Ipads with a link to Kolob, but they weren’t ready for them, so he smashes them to bits.
18. Then they go to the Golden Coral to worship the Golden Calf and eat and drink too much.
19. Moses speaks to the Lord face to face in the tabernacle, sees his glory, but doesn’t see His face. (I think of the temple again.)
20. Moses receives two new tablets. Stone tablets this time, no more Ipad’s for them! They are still in the stoned.

I am so grateful for:
Moses and all the old Prophets as well as the living Prophets we have today.
A wonderful, beautiful wife!
A marvelous family that loves the gospel of and loves to serve one another.
A Loving Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.
The Atonement
A great home teaching companion
Loving friends and neighbors and for all my blessings that would take pages and pages to enumerate.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Eternal Law

Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve.

“One principle of the gospel that all young people of the Church should understand is this: God, our Heavenly Father, governs His children by law. He has instituted laws for our perfection. If we obey His laws, we receive the blessings pertaining to those laws. If we do not obey, we receive the consequences.” (April Conference 1983- “A Principle with a Promise”)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Justice and Mercy - the Great Plan of Redemption

I was studying the Gospel Doctrine Lesson (Lesson 30) for today and had several lights come on in my mind. DeAnne and I had just been in the Temple on Thursday and heard someone say, “If you punish me for doing the same thing that has been done” by someone else. I will cause all sorts of problems!

It reminded me how brazen and sly Satan is. He is always telling half truths. He makes that statement as though other people haven’t been punished by God for doing the same thing that he is doing. This is a one of Satan’s lies or if you prefer half truths.

Of course God recognizes his twisting of the truth right away. I suppose Father has become accustomed to Satan’s temper tantrums. I can imagine Him thinking, “Do you really think I’m going to fall for that?” God doesn’t give him any further chances to insult Godly intelligence. God doesn’t argue with those kinds of people. God simply tells Satan to leave, “Depart”. Satan knows he has been found out and foiled again.

I know God is a just God. He judges everyone the same way and the law of justice falls on everyone with exactness. His justice is precisely the same for everyone committing the same crime. If He didn’t judge with exactness, He would cease to be God. All of God’s children would lose faith in God if he gave a different punishment for those “doing the same thing”. We could no longer trust God and have unwavering faith in Him, and he would cease to be God. God is bound by eternal laws too.

Alma 42: 18 - Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of aconscience unto man.
13 Therefore, according to justice, the aplan of bredemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would ccease to be God.
22 - But there is a law given, and a apunishment affixed, and a brepentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the claw, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
25 What, do ye suppose that amercy can rob bjustice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.

So here are a couple of things I learned:
1. Heavenly Father loves us so much He created a plan for our happiness and joy. He wants us to return to live with him. But he can’t play favorites with any of his children. Father has to come up with a plan to justly deal out punishment for sin. He came up with His plan to save us all. He can’t do it without help. He ordains his only begotten son, Jesus Christ to come to earth to help save the rest of us. Why can’t my Heavenly Father save me? Doesn’t he love me as much as my Eldest Brother Jesus Christ? Yes, He does! But there is that law of justice and punishment that he can’t break or He would cease to be God.

2. Jesus comes to earth, part mortal part God. He is a God, an Eternal God, the only one that can suffer an eternal pain, derogation, sorrow, misery and eternal atonement. Christ pays the price! The price for what? The price of all of our sins and sorrows. Because of the great injustice that Christ suffered while he was on this earth, mercy can now be given out from Heavenly Father. Christ and Heavenly Father are united as one in the plan of redemption. We need both of them. They are a team. They are one. Like Elder Holland said in one of his conference talks, “I can’t imagine Heavenly Father taking more joy in anything more than being able to show mercy.

3. I know the sons of perdition have received the eternal laws of God. They understand them. They have had the Holy Ghost and the spirit bear witness to them. They have used their agency. It has never been taken from them.

4. I now most of God’s children have received the eternal laws of God. They understand them. Many of them have had the Holy Ghost and the spirit bear witness to them. They have used their agency. It has never been taken from them. But they will not be sons of perdition. Why not? Because they have used their agency and choose to repent. They have asked for forgiveness and begged for mercy.

5. The only difference between the sons of perdition and the Sons and daughters of God is that they have used their agency differently and accepted Christ as their redeemer, repented and asked for forgiveness.

One last thing I noticed as I studied Alma 42. Justice and Mercy have gender given to them!

Alma 42:24 - For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also amercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.

What does that bring to your mind? Ponder about that for a little bit. I would appreciate anyone’s insight here. Here are a few things that DeAnne and I talked about:

1. Men are more inclined to demand justice. Women lean more towards mercy.
2. In order to have a perfect plan of redemption, plan of happiness, plan of salvation we need both justice and mercy. We need both “His” and “Her.”
3. In order to have a perfect “Eternal Marriage”, we need a man and a woman.
4. Justice and Mercy are eternally sealed together. We could compare that to marriage.
5. Justice cannot rob Mercy. (A man cannot create a family without his companion, mercy.)
6. Mercy cannot rob Justice. (A woman cannot create a family without he companion, justice.)
7. If we have both Justice and Mercy. Both of them are satisfied and God continues to be God.
8. None but the truly penitent are saved.
9. Are there other things that come to your mind?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Condo Trip May, 2012

Wish you were all here with us! Here is some of what we have seen in Yellowstone so far. . . Day one. . . Day two. . . Do you see the two bear cubs in the big tree? Day three. . . And, of course in Island Park. . .

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Healing the Blind Man

As I study, pray and ponder the lesson about “I was blind and now I see”, I was impressed by the following quotes and I have added some of the thoughts that came to me.

In John 9:5 it says, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (“By this act of giving sight to a blind beggar Jesus in a dramatic and irrefutable manner, proclaimed himself as 1) the Light of the World, and 2) the very Son of God. 3) He also confirmed the disciples’ belief in pre-existence, 4) rejected the belief of some that physical handicaps result from ante-mortal sin, 5) taught that his own work was assigned him by the Father, 6) reaffirmed that he stands in judgment upon the world, and taught that rejection of light and truth bring condemnation.” DNTC, 1:479)

John 9:6 “When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,” (According to their traditions, he was breaking the law of the Sabbath by making the clay, and applying a healing remedy to an impaired person. His purpose seems to be to put the people in a position to choose between him as one sent of God to do the work of the Father, as one who can open blind eyes and to open their blind eyes about Sabbath observance. MM, 3:201)

I think Jesus continued to heal and do miracles on the Sabbath in an effort to teach the unbelieving that:
1. He is the Promised Messiah.
2. He gave Moses the Law to start with and he is about to fulfill the old law and give a new Law regarding the Sabbath..
3. He teaches that it is ok to heal on the Sabbath Day and in fact he is about to institute the sacrament, which will heal thousands, no millions, on every Sabbath Day, if they repent and partake of His emblems, the bread and wine or water.
4. It is ok to do a little work if necessary in order to bless and save people on the Sabbath.

The Pharisees and the scribes were so caught up in the letter of the Law of Moses that they could not see that the Law of Moses was given and designed to point to the future coming of the Mortal Messiah himself. Christ is the one who called and talked to Moses.

As we open our eyes and receive revelation through the Light of Christ and listen to the voice of the Good Shepherds, (Stake and ward leaders, home and visiting teachers), we will have life more abundantly.