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Thursday, April 17, 2014

CHRIST LIKE LOVE

Easter is the focus of the Christian world this week. 
The Atonement of Christ is the most important event to happen in the history of this earth. 




Not only is Jesus the Redeemer of all who have or will live in mortality, He was also the Creator of this world, under the direction of His Father. 


This is His world and He has proven His love by opening the doors to salvation for all mankind.

There is a lot of talk about ‘love’ of fellowman in the dialogue of our day.  Much of the time it is people (not speaking of any one group so please don’t project) who are inviting us to accept and ‘love’ them for who they are or want to be.  A common method to entice acceptance of their behaviors and/or desires is to cite the Savior’s love for all.

Jesus does love everyone and His love will reach through the eternities.  He will do all we will allow to redeem us and bring us back to our Heavenly Father.  But His love for us is not an excuse to accept actions, desires, or ideas that violate the sacredness of His commandments.  To quote a modern prophet:



Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others. Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once). (Jeffrey R. Holland)

It is perfectly appropriate to love the sinner, but hate the sin.  In fact, that is exactly what Jesus and our Father are doing when they challenge us to repent.

If we desire to love our fellowman, we will emulate the Savior and the way he treated those of His day. 

Question: What made the Savior so unpopular with the people of His day?

 Answer: Calling them to repentance for their sins.

I’m sure He hurt some feelings, but it was the best way to invite a fallen people (all of us, to one degree or another) to find the life-changing love of our God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Our love for The Master and any happiness we seek in life comes as we remember His message:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

To invite others to follow Christ and join us in learning to overcome sin is the greatest form of love we have to offer.


It’s as simple as that.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A GOOD CHOICE

Loud voices cry out to dissuade us from believing there is anything good in life.

Is this fair compared to how we live?

There are a multitude of reasons for doubt.

So much of living is hard and inconsistent.

Add caption

Evil broadcasts its presence through every venue available.

This little dude has done MUCH to harm the family.

Goodness is ridiculed and derided as “old-fashioned” and out-of-step.

Someone thought this was "funny"-- it isn't!
Suffering and torment are the lot of the majority who live on this planet.

Not today???

Often it seems easier to just give in and join the ranks of the hopeless.

But some get it and are not afraid to say it!!
Here is one.




Richard C. Edgley


Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today’s world, I wish to suggest a single choice – a choice of peace and protection and a choice that is appropriate for all.  That choice is faith…. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism….
When logic, reason, or personal intellect come into conflict with sacred teachings and doctrine, or conflicting messages assault your beliefs…, choose to not cast the seed out your heart by unbelief (Alma 32:28).  Remember, we receive not a witness until after the trial of our faith (Ether 12:6).  (Bishop Richard C. Edgley, Ensign, Nov. 2010)



Finding hope is a dicey proposition some days.  Choosing faith and hope is not craziness – it is God’s way.  Hope in His Son is the ONLY way.
Rembrandt's version of The Christ

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

CHICKENS

I learned from my very intelligent grandson that CHICKENS are not birds.



They are food but they are not birds.

So much more to learn from these little guys.



On another subject.

I really miss WordPerfect.

MS Word just doesn't cut it for me ---- but that’s all I have so I’m stuck with it.

Till next time.



Friday, March 28, 2014

THE UNWISE BEE

I love this story because it has so many applications.  It’s also about my favorite insect – the bee.  Share it as you like and know it is given in love.  MW

The Parable of the Unwise BeeJames E. Talmage



Sometimes I find myself under obligations of work requiring quiet and seclusion such as neither my comfortable office nor the cozy study at home insures. My favorite retreat is an upper room in the tower of a large building, well removed from the noise and confusion of the city streets. The room is somewhat difficult of access and relatively secure against human intrusion. Therein I have spent many peaceful and busy hours with books and pen.

I am not always without visitors, however, especially in summertime; for when I sit with windows open, flying insects occasionally find entrance and share the place with me. These self-invited guests are not unwelcome. Many a time I have laid down the pen and, forgetful of my theme, have watched with interest the activities of these winged visitants, with an afterthought that the time so spent had not been wasted, for is it not true that even a butterfly, a beetle, or a bee may be a bearer of lessons to the receptive student?

A wild bee from the neighboring hills once flew into the room, and at intervals during an hour or more I caught the pleasing hum of its flight. The little creature realized that it was a prisoner, yet all its efforts to find the exit through the partly opened casement failed. When ready to close up the room and leave, I threw the window wide and tried at first to guide and then to drive the bee to liberty and safety, knowing well that if left in the room it would die as other insects there entrapped had perished in the dry atmosphere of the enclosure. The more I tried to drive it out, the more determinedly did it oppose and resist my efforts. Its erstwhile peaceful hum developed into an angry roar; its darting flight became hostile and threatening.


Then it caught me off my guard and stung my hand—the hand that would have guided it to freedom. At last it alighted on a pendant attached to the ceiling, beyond my reach of help or injury. The sharp pain of its unkind sting aroused in me rather pity than anger. I knew the inevitable penalty of its mistaken opposition and defiance, and I had to leave the creature to its fate. Three days later I returned to the room and found the dried, lifeless body of the bee on the writing table. It had paid for its stubbornness with its life.

To the bee’s shortsightedness and selfish misunderstanding I was a foe, a persistent persecutor, a mortal enemy bent on its destruction; while in truth I was its friend, offering it ransom of the life it had put in forfeit through its own error, striving to redeem it, in spite of itself, from the prison house of death and restore it to the outer air of liberty.

Are we so much wiser than the bee that no analogy lies between its unwise course and our lives? We are prone to contend, sometimes with vehemence and anger, against the adversity which after all may be the manifestation of superior wisdom and loving care, directed against our temporary comfort for our permanent blessing. In the tribulations and sufferings of mortality there is a divine ministry which only the godless soul can wholly fail to discern. To many the loss of wealth has been a boon, a providential means of leading or driving them from the confines of selfish indulgence to the sunshine and the open, where boundless opportunity waits on effort. Disappointment, sorrow, and affliction may be the expression of an all-wise Father’s kindness.

Consider the lesson of the unwise bee!


“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5–6).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SOPHISTRY

In the Book of Mormon there is a story about a man who desired to become the king over the Nephites (see Alma 46-47).  He gathered together a group of his like-minded followers and came up with a plan to overthrow the legally organized system of government.

He was discovered, confronted, and after violent resistance, escaped to live with the Lamanites.

Unwilling to let go of his desires for kingship, he devised a plan to ingratiate himself with the king of the Lamanites.  The unwitting king, power hungry himself, fell right into the trap and lost his mortal life and the leadership of his people.

While a cautionary tale of what can happen when people become fixated on having power over others, there is another message I have recently gleaned from this story. 

It has to do with a word we don’t use much these days.  Some of our prophets have uttered it and I wonder if we might not be wise to add it to our vocabulary.  It describes exactly what goes on in our modern, sophisticated (hmmm, maybe this word is related) world.

SOPHISTRY – subtly deceptive reasoning or argument

O, the trouble a little member can make.
As I understand, it is the taking of a truth and twisting it (sometimes ever so slightly) to fit some desire that is less than righteous.

For instance, there are many in our world – government, religious, social, etc. – that would have us believe it is just fine for a man and woman to live together without the contract of marriage.  After all, loving someone is what is important.  If there is no marriage license, well, that’s alright if they love each other.

And the truth is, we have all come to accept these arrangements because they have become so common.

For a second example, I will refer you to this post by my lovely daughter.  She has hit a home-run with her insight on this matter.

I submit that sophistry is a HUGE force in many aspects of this world.  Consider how often politicians – on both sides – say what is expedient for the moment and then change their tune when the smoke drifts another direction. 

But you may wonder: is sophistry really that harmful?  If a slight twisting of the truth accomplishes a good thing, isn’t it appropriate?

My response is to cite the end of the story begun at the top of the message.

When the rebellious Nephite ascended to the throne of the Lamanite nation, he did it by orchestrating the death of the Lamanite king.  His deceptions were undiscovered and he was lauded as someone who would successfully fill the old king’s shoes in leadership. 

Not satisfied with the kingship alone, this wicked man also went to the widow of the dead king and offered to “take her to wife” that she might not be left alone.  She accepted – not knowing that the very man who had murdered her husband had just become her new spouse.  Had she taken a little time to consider recent events or ask a few questions, she might not have been so accepting of the proposal.

When we let the sophistries of the world corrupt our vision of truth we are bound for difficult times.  Instead of seeing what IS, we begin to see what someone wants us to see.  The more we see it, the more it becomes what we believe is true. 


BUT IT ISN’T.

As a Latter-day Saint I am often accused of hating different groups of people.  It is not true.  There are actions that LDS believers cannot accept but we are willing (and try to) love all people.

Used to be people believed this more
but not so much today.
I can tolerate many things but I cannot accept as right any action or belief that violates the laws of God as given by His prophets and the scriptures. Yes, I am a sinner and have my own problems to work out, but that does not mean I have given up trying to overcome my weakness as I encourage and help others to do.

The results of sophistry are always negative to individuals and societies.  The fall of every great civilization began with little, subtle arguments that led to great changes in morality.  Fighting against that which corrupts and destroys is not hatred, it is loyalty to God.
The way of worldliness.

To close, I offer a quote from a modern prophet of God.  He specifically addresses some of the sophistry that invades the lives of all who live on the earth. 

I need not remind you that the world we are in is a world of turmoil, of shifting values. Shrill voices call out for one thing or another in betrayal of time-tested standards of behavior. The moral moorings of our society have been badly shaken. So many of the youth of the world, and likewise so many of their elders, listen only to the seductive voice of self-gratification. You single young women face tremendous challenges, and we know it is not easy for you. I cannot say enough of appreciation for your determination to live by the standards of the Church, to walk with the strength of virtue, to keep your minds above the slough of filth which seems to be moving like a flood across the world. Thank you for knowing there is a better way. Thank you for the will to say no. Thank you for the strength to deny temptation and look beyond and above to the shining light of your eternal potential. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1995)


You might also be interested in this message from Elder Dallin H. Oaks, given recently at BYU-Idaho.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

BLUE

I’m a little sad today. 
No particular reason. 
Just blue.
It’s not my job – I love the kids, the message and the work.

Waiting at home for me is my favorite girl in the whole world.  She makes me smile.  So that can’t be the problem.

The weather is changing and spring has finally decided to attend.  Surely that would help lift some of the despair of life.


Just ran through the checklist on my children and there isn’t one of them that gives me cause for concern. 

And their children make me smile just thinking about them so that can’t be the issue.

Must be something deeper that I haven’t detected yet.

I’ll let you know when I finally find out what it is.  In the meantime, be happy and eat lots of ice cream.



Hey, maybe that’s what I need to do.

Monday, March 24, 2014

MOTHER'S LOVE

Saturday I accompanied an older couple I know and love on a trip to visit their son in prison.  He has been convicted of a heinous crime and has little possibility of ever seeing freedom again.  The slim hopes the family once had for his eventual release have been mostly extinguished by bureaucratic fiat, causing great anguish for their child.

Never a good place to be.
I freely admit that I am conflicted about how to feel towards this young man and the situation at hand.  What he has done deserves punishment.  And the courts, for the most part, have made effective decisions when handing down sentences in these things.


On the other hand, I have no qualms confessing an enormous feeling of sorrow for my friends and their circumstances.  Their age will most likely preclude ever seeing their son regain his freedom – even if more lenient individuals one day occupy the board of pardons.


Of course, I tend to look at these things from the perspective of a father/man.  Fathers (at least the ones I know) work hard to raise up good children and provide them with the necessities of life.  They also teach principles that will guide their children to live in a way to be happy.  But fathers, while loving their children, see the world in a different way than mothers.  That was true from the beginning.  Adam said the following when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden:

…Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.  (Moses 5:10)

Adam and Eve after their
removal from the Garden.
 Eve responded to their dismissal from the Garden differently --  by remembering the greatest blessing she received in partaking of the fruit: posterity.

…Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed… (Moses 5:11)

In a way I cannot explain (probably because I am not built to get it), mothers are tied to their children as fathers can never be.  Some of it comes because she has to travel through “the valley of the shadow of death” every time a new child is brought into the world.  But I suspect there is more to it than that.

My friends are a wonderful couple and both grieve for the losses their son will inherit because of his actions.  But as I watch them, I am deeply touched by the nearly unbearable struggle the mother of this young man endures. I don’t mean to denigrate the father’s pain – I am sensitive to what he feels.  Yet, it seems to me the personal misery of the mother is so much deeper than what her husband feels – it is as if life is cut right out of her.

Considered from the perspective of a father and a son (I qualify in both cases) I can say that I am so thankful for whatever it is that gives women/mothers this special insight and ability in life.

BUT

I don’t know if I could handle the sorrow a mother must endure with the challenges her children offer.  Not just sinful acts that cause so much heartache, but the daily events – sicknesses and pains and sufferings – that come with even a well-lived life.  To internalize all those things for the sake of children is an amazing feat – one not easily accomplished unless some god-like power is involved.


When this life is complete and all the pluses 
and minuses are counted, our Heavenly Father has promised, through the Atonement of Christ, to make right all those things that were wrong in mortality.  At that time, recompense will be offered to those who have carried their great burden of motherhood through mortality.  And they will find:



…the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.  (Moses 5:11)

Christ's atonement is meant for all.


Then the joy of motherhood and a mother’s love become an eternal blessing to those who have endured the difficulties of mortality. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

BLOGGING?

There are some days when I wonder why I continue to produce this little blog of mine.  While my daughter seems to get hundreds of readers per post, I am surprised if I have more than ten visits.

Then I remind myself that I am not here for the masses!!

My original (and current) reason for posting on a regular basis is to share with my family some of the things that go on in my head.  You know, sort of a supplement to the journals that they will find hidden away in a box when I am dead and gone.

So if the only people who read the ‘dramatic’ renditions of life as I see it are my children and grandchildren – well, I suppose I have served my purpose here.

Thankfully, no one has demanded that I should stop.  I would ignore them if they did but it might hurt the one feeling I still have.

I will be back. 

Count on it and expect it. 


But worry not, no one else will know.

Monday, March 17, 2014

BACTERIA

I have been AWOL for more than a week.
There’s a good excuse. 
At least I think it is good.
My body has rebelled against me again.  Instead of fighting off the bacteria and germs inflicted upon it, my mortal frame has accepted and assimilated the denizens of evil that are in the air.  The result was sickness – sickness so dastardly and despicable that I had no recourse but to stop whatever work or play I had anticipated and lay in bed.
It has been miserable and unfair (at least to me).
I made a visit to the local healer and his concoctions seem to be working.
DEATH TO ALL BACTERIA (at least the evil, sick-making kind).
ALSO—
Never again will I speak the words “I haven’t been sick for more than a year” when there might be nasty bacterial menaces in the region. 

Lesson learned.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

WHY DAD?

My friend is a great dad.
He loves his kids and is careful to give them the attention, affection, and respect they deserve.
It isn’t always easy for him but he is patient (an acquired/acquiring skill for many of us) and is willing to adjust as needed.

When asked how he learned to be such a good dad he was reluctant to answer.  Not because he didn’t want to share – he is convinced the principles he follows work – he simply didn’t want to offend anyone who might have chosen another way.

With some cajoling he eventually divulged the genesis of his inspiration (weird way of saying I convinced him to tell me even though he didn’t want to).

Seems his dad was one of THOSE dads.  You know.  The kind who, when asked ‘why?’ by their kids replied, BECAUSE I SAID SO!!
My friend never liked the results of the answer so he determined to follow another path in dealing with his own kids.  But it took some pondering and a lot of trial and error before he discovered his secret method.

I’m going to share it with you.  

So it won’t be secret anymore.  

Well, at least not from the 7 people who read this blog.

It all starts with a simple declaration.

1.  I will always love you.

No matter what you do, no matter how old you get and despite any efforts to the contrary you may decide to make in your life, I WILL love you.

When children are young, it is easier to convince them.  They have nothing to compare with so they believe.  But as they grow and become aware of the rest of the universe, it is critical that they are constantly reminded that they are loved – completely and deeply – by their parents.

Love is the great binding agent for families.

Next!

2. Because I love you, I want you to be happy.

Few people become parents in order to torture their offspring (I know some teens think otherwise but statistics can be made up to prove otherwise).  The vast majority of parents have the innate desire to love their children.  Reinforcing that principle with the ‘young-uns’ in the house will provide great dividends in helping them be more receptive to direction – tell them that you love them.

A little knowledge really helps.

3. In order to be happy, we must know the decisions/choices that will bring happiness.


A public survey conducted by random children found that eleven out of ten parents spend their days plotting to make decisions designed to impose misery on their children (see my note on statistics above).

Mom and dad ‘afflict’ their children’s lives to teach them the choices that will invite pleasant results.  Training young children to stay out of the street is not to protect cars or reduce insurance costs – it is to save a beloved son or daughter from a life-threatening badchoice (new word I just made up).

Again, as young people grow in ability and age they are inclined to think ‘teachings’ are restrictions to make them miserable.  They fail to recognize that the greater number of rules and guidelines are intended to eliminate misery and increase happiness.  When mom and dad explain the purpose for rules/guidelines, it doesn’t eliminate contention but it does build on a level of trust which leads to greater love.

4. To make good choices, you have to know the result each choice brings.


This is also called “The Law of Consequences.”  The job of a parent is to open the eyes of their children to the full impact of choices that will confront them.   My friend is careful to explain the complete package when his children are considering different options – the good and the bad.  Then they aren’t surprised (at least not as much) when less than desirable events occur.

Unfortunately, teaching, training, coaching, or whatever you want to call it is only permanent if there is a transition from the brain to the heart.  It is one thing to know something, and a totally different thing to KNOW it.

No matter how well prepared parents are, there will always be circumstances that require special attention.  Decisions have to be made that are not appreciated or completely understood.  That is when step 5 can be implemented.


5. Sometimes you just have to trust me.  Remember, I love you and will never do anything to cause you pain or misery.


I know, this sounds a lot like “Because I said so.”

It isn’t!!

Trust is an integral part of love.

“I said so” is often selfish and devoid of love.  Little has been built to hold it up.  Trust has a framework that allows for difficult experiences.


I have considered these steps and found that I believe there is truth in them.

Let me add one personal addendum to the list.


When a situation gets hard and I am ready to give up, I am often halted by a phrase that pops into my mind.  It always puts me back on the track.  I know the source and I recognize the voice. It says:

Is that how I treat you?

And the answer is always NO.


Love first, and always.