Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Jesus is Nigh You, and His Arm is Sufficient

I woke up with words from this song going through my head, not the words from beginning to end, but key phrases that were an important message for me today. I love how the Lord does that for us. So, of course, I googled a phrase, and the song magically appeared.

The Time is Far Spent


The time is far spent; there is little remaining
To publish glad tidings by sea and by land. 
Then hasten, ye heralds; go forward proclaiming: 
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven’s at hand,
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven’s at hand.

Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant,
But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend.
Our little afflictions, tho painful at present,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end.


What, tho, if the favor of Ahman possessing,
This world’s bitter hate you are called to endure?
The angels are waiting to crown you with blessings!
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.

 Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you;
The weight of your calling he perfectly knows.
Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you;
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose. 



(Eliza R. Snow)



All of us are dealing with trials. All of us. None of them feel like little afflictions. I’m sure Eliza R. Snow, of all people, new that. But then there’s the perspective of the song. We were made to endure the glory also, not just the afflictions. And even in our present trials, God will allow us to feel some of that now. We experience the bitter, and at the same time, we cherish the sweet so much more.

And the Lord has promised us that we do not have to serve him alone; we do not have to combat the hatred or mocking or even the misunderstandings of others alone; we do not have to face the demons of this world, or even our own personal demons alone. It matters little that Satan knows the weight of our callings when we remember that Jesus knows us better and he loves us perfectly and knows how to succor and sustain us fully and proportionately to what is necessary for our needs and growth at the time we need added sustenance. His perfect Light will expel all darkness, even if currently only feel a respite. 

This I believe and know. Jesus lived for me, He suffered for me, He died for me, and He lives for me again. Because of what He has done for me, because of what He has done for you, He knows us intimately, our weaknesses and our strengths; and, it is His good pleasure to be our Friend and Companion as we remember Him and cry unto Him to be our support; and turn unto Him in our sorrows and our fears, and our joys and successes.

When we feel like we have been tried beyond our mortal capacity, we need to remember that if we are in partnership with Him, nothing is impossible. He has said, "I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88)." So when you need to be carried, bury yourself in His bosom, and He will carry you and heal you in His own way and time, and allow you slowly to become like Him.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ



I have thought a lot lately about Faith. There is little meaning in the word itself until it is placed in something else. People may hope for many things, and even put their trust in many things; but, unless they practice faith in something that is true and everlasting, they may very well be disappointed.

The First Principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus means everything to me. He is my Creator, my Friend, my Exemplar, and my Redeemer. Through practiced faith in Him, I feel rewarded by the presence of His Spirit. His kindness is truly the Bread of Life to all of us.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is always rewarding. As we make covenants with Him, we have this promise: that if we always remember Him, we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I know this is true. He is true and faithful. We can count on His word every time.

As a child, I was taught to pray to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ. We prayed as a family, and each night I prayed at my bedside. I passed this tradition of Faith in God and His Son on to my children. Our childhoods were also filled with Primary songs which taught Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have also made it a habit of reading the Word of God as found in the scriptures and the testimonies of the prophets and apostles. These things are important. We have the promise, from Jesus, that the Holy Ghost will give us those things that we need in the very hour that we need them. I’ve seen that happen time and time again. Practicing Faith in the Lord on a daily basis gives us a store of spiritual fortitude that will bless us in our times of need.

Letting go of our Faith in Jesus Christ leaves us in great peril. When we only trust in our own strength and wisdom, we soon find that we are left to ourselves to reap the devastation of the trials we choose to face alone. Often in this state, we are humbled and again choose to feel the Savior’s love, whose arm in stretched out still, forever reaching for us; and if we reach for Him, we experience immediately His grace and kindness.

As we experience the Savior’s love, our trust in Him will grow, and our faith in Him will increase. When this happens, a growing and abiding love will develop as we begin to realize all that He has done for us, all that we mean to Him, and all that He is coming to mean to us.

I know He lives. I know He loves me, and He loves you. He is not partial in His love. He is not condemning in His reaching. His reproof is a blessing to us all, as He knows us and loves us, and His desire is to give us all that He and His Father have and enjoy. Through Him we all have life, and through Him we may all live eternally with Him and with our Father.

At this Easter season, as our hearts are drawn to Him in gratitude for the gift that He has given us, may we give to Him the gift of greater faith in Him. Happy Easter.


“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:30)

God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son

1. God loved us, so he sent his Son,
Christ Jesus, the atoning One,
To show us by the path he trod
The one and only way to God.

2. He came as man, though Son of God,
And bowed himself beneath the rod.
He died in holy innocence,
A broken law to recompense.

3. Oh, love effulgent, love divine!
What debt of gratitude is mine,
That in his off'ring I have part
And hold a place within his heart.

4. In word and deed he doth require
My will to his, like son to sire,
Be made to bend, and I, as son,
Learn conduct from the Holy One.

5. This sacrament doth represent
His blood and body for me spent.
Partaking now is deed for word
That I remember him, my Lord.

Text: Edward P. Kimball
Music: Alexander Schreiner


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Combating Negative Thoughts with Positive Ones



I am a part-time missionary at the Redlands Mission Office. Since I work among valiant young missionaries, and because we’ve sent children on missions and been involved as ward and stake missionaries; and since I have personally felt the taxation of worries, anxiety, frustration, and depression, I would like to share some thoughts concerning personal revival and restoration.

Outside the Redlands Mission Office

As missionaries, as parents of missionaries, as students, as employees, as children, as parents, we all have to deal with many challenges. As sons and daughters of God our Heavenly Father, and as recipients of the benefits of the Atonement of His Son Jesus Christ, we have been greatly equipped to face these challenges; but we must remember that we cannot do it alone. The Lord is always there, and the Lord has given us many helpers. We should not discount any of them.

First off, I want to express that emotions are normal. Do not be harsh with yourself because you have feelings. Our Father is not a God who is without body, parts, or passions; and, we are created in His image and endowed with His traits. Jesus certainly was not exempt from emotions. He carried with Him a great weight in being the Savior of the World. He was known as “A Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (See Isaiah 53:3) If we are to become like Him, can we expect to not have seasons when we are also affected by these emotions? Yet, He is there to offer us relief.

Because Jesus carried the weight of the world, you do not have to.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

What did Jesus do when He felt overwhelmed, when He was tired and drawn out, when the cares of the day rested heavily upon Him? He went by Himself apart in a mountain area to pray (See Matthew 14:23). After spending the day feeding everyone else, Jesus also needed spiritual nourishment and renewal; and He went to His Father to obtain it.

While we cannot always physically go to a mountaintop or attend a temple, we can always go spiritually and mentally there as we direct our thoughts and the longings of our hearts to the Lord.

Now Satan wants to cause us great grief and discouragement. I know that especially in my young life, he worked mightily to make me think improper thoughts and to dissuade me from faith and from joy. He still is at his mischief with all of us. He sits back and watches and assesses our weaknesses, and then it is his delight to tempt us and to try us based on those. He even did so with the Savior.

When Jesus was tired, hungry, and spent from forty days of fasting and being with God, Satan came to dissuade him from His purpose. Have you seen that in your own lives? Spiritual work is physically taxing. It is important to analyze carefully our Saviors actions (See Matthew Chapter 4).

Because Jesus was hungry, Satan tempted Him to make stones into bread. What did Jesus do? He quoted scripture!

“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Because Jesus was the Son of God, Satan tempted Him with the improper use of power. What did Jesus do? He quoted scripture!

“It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).

Then Satan tempted Jesus with riches and glory. What did Jesus do? He rebuked Satan, and He quoted scripture!

“Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10).

Then in verse 11, a great blessing followed:

“Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”

Moroni expresses the importance of remaining faithful in order to receive blessings. In the examples above, we witness Jesus being faithful three times. We know that He had to be faithful more often than that, and so do we. We may have to repeat over and over the same actions to show to ourselves and to the Lord that we are faithful.

“And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6).

My daughter who is currently serving a mission was promised by our Stake President that angels from her own family would be there to assist her at times. I believe that this blessing is valid for all of us as we remain faithful to the covenants we make and as we practice our faith in the Lord through humility, desire, and obedience.

Even more importantly, we are promised by the Savior that if we always remember Him, we will always have His Spirit to be with us. The Sacrament Prayers are an important thing for us to remember and review, not only on the Sabbath days, but whenever we need to draw on the blessings of the Atonement. (See Moroni chapters 4 and 5)

Second then, we must remember that our thoughts are powerful things. Though they may be persistent, we must do want we can to control them and to think proper thoughts. We can be more persistent than our thoughts. Again, we do not have to be alone in this, but should welcome the help of family, friends, therapists, medical staff, and most importantly the Lord. Our thoughts have the greatest influence on our emotions, our actions, and our reactions.

In Proverbs 3:7, we read, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Why is that? Because our thoughts determine our feelings, our attitudes, our actions, and even our faith. Our thoughts can lift us up or drag us down. But, we can follow the Lord’s example and turn to the Lord’s servants for direction.

How about this primary song? Hum Your Favorite Hymn

1. If on occasion you have found

Your language is in question,

Or ugly thoughts come to your mind,

Then here's a good suggestion.

Chorus: Just hum your favorite hymn,

Sing out with vigor and vim,

And you will find it clears your mind.

Hum your favorite hymn.

2. Before you say an angry word,

Remember you'll regret it,

For once it's said the harm is done,

And some folks won't forget it.

Words: Marilyn Price Adams

Music: K. Newell Dayley


This song was inspired by a talk given by Elder Boyd K. Packer entitled, “Inspiring Music—Worthy Thoughts.”

In this talk, Elder Packer said this,

"I want to tell you young people about one way you can learn to control your thoughts, and it has to do with music…

"This is what I would teach you. Choose from among the sacred music of the Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. Remember President Lee’s counsel; perhaps “I Am A Child of God” would do. Go over it in your mind carefully. Memorize it. Even though you have had no musical training, you can think through a hymn.

"Now, use this hymn as the place for your thoughts to go. Make it your emergency channel. Whenever you find these shady actors have slipped from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, put on this record, as it were.

"As the music begins and as the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully away. It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light.

"In due time you will find yourself, on occasion, humming the music inwardly. As you retrace your thoughts, you discover some influence from the world about you encouraged an unworthy thought to move on stage in your mind, and the music almost automatically began."

I know that this may sound oversimplified to someone who is suffering anxiety or depression, but I think that it applies to all of us. This counsel was given by an Apostle of the Lord. By sharing this, I am not at all suggesting that you try to go it alone. We have many helpers in this world who are blessed with much light, knowledge, and truth. When help is offered us in a righteous way, and we are following the Spirit, we should accept help.

When I was young and I was trying my very hardest to think appropriate thoughts and do appropriate things, I found that while Satan could not reach me during the day, he would try to do so in my dreams at night. This is frightening, and I hope that it is not happening to you. But I do have some suggestions.

My suggestions are the same as those above.

Missionaries are especially busy doing the Lord’s work all day long. I would suspect that those who are dealing with fearful thoughts, or who are experiencing anxiety, frustration, or depression, may have the heaviest load during their nighttime preparations, in restless sleep, or during their waking hours.

So before you go to bed and when you wake up, make sure that you have a devotional time that you spend with the Lord in prayer and in positive memorization and self-talk. If you are working on memorizing hymns and scriptures, and if you are developing an “I can” attitude, you will feel more secure and healthful.

During your personal scripture study, pay attention to those verses that strike you as important and work on memorizing them early in the morning and before you go to bed. Do the same thing with the hymns that bring you peace. I am working on doing this myself; because I want more peace and joy in my own life.

These are the first ones that I am going to work on. Your list may be different. Let the Spirit guide your choices.

The Lord’s Prayer

The 23rd Psalm


Lead, Kindly Light

The Lord is my Light

I would suggest that you read and sing aloud, even if at times it is in a whisper. Your own voice will become a voice of comfort as you hear the encouraging words of scripture and hymns, and your will build confidence in your own abilities to draw upon good and uplifting thoughts.

As your choices become memorized and familiar, and you are finding that these reassurances are automatic to you when you need them, add a new verse and a new hymn to your morning and evening devotionals, and keep it up. You will have a repertoire of sacred personal material always available to drawn on for personal strength.

Also, allow yourself to have joy in your successes. Ammon did (See Alma 26).

“Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel” (Alma 26:16).

That brings me to gladness. Eleonar H. Porter teaches us much about gladness in Pollyanna. Pollyanna really wanted to receive a doll for Christmas; but, all that was in the missionary barrel for her was a pair crutches. Pollyanna’s dad taught her to look on the bright side of things. She developed the Glad Game and soon transformed not only herself, but her whole community.

We are told, “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (Doctrine and Covenants 59: 21).

Gratitude is that important. We need to express it in order to gain God’s favor.

The Lord gives us this promise, “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more” (Doctrine and Covenants 78:19).

So with your devotions to your Heavenly Father take the time to express your gratitude. You may need to do this both in your prayers and in your journal. Make sure that you express gratitude to others as well. Gratitude will make you feel lighter and it will transform you into a delightful person.

Finally, do not condemn yourself because of your weaknesses. The Lord would not want that. He is always there for us, with His hand stretched out still. His desire is always our ultimate happiness and success; and He is there to help us achieve that as we turn to Him!

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).

My prayers are with you this day, my dear brothers and sisters. May you find the peace and comfort and rest that you seek. And may your service bring you joy! Treasure up those things that you will need to draw on. They will be a blessing to you, and you will feel assured as you obtain this promise and witness from the Lord:

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:26-27).


A Peace Rose


I must add one more important verse. Because after all we can do, we must let go and put our trust fully in the Lord. This one is found in Doctrine and Covenants 123:17:

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."















Thursday, January 5, 2017

I Would Exhort You: Guidance Found in Moroni Chapter 10

I finished reading The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ last night. This book I have read multiple times. When I read Moroni chapter 9 a couple of days ago, I felt the Spirit of truth with me as I read, perhaps in anticipation of Moroni’s promise in chapter 10; perhaps because we still have hope even though we are living in troubled times like Moroni did.


Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are keenly aware of Moroni’s promise:


 3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye   should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

        5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye      
        
may know the truth of all things.

We have put these words to the test and know that they are true; and we like to share them with others, so they can also pray and know for themselves. They are important verses. They are so important that Moroni uses the word exhort. In other words, he strongly urges, petitions, admonishes, perhaps even begs us to give heed. We need to remember that he is not writing to his family and friends; they have all been lost in battle. He is writing to the descendants of his enemies; and he is writing to us, here and now in the 21st Century.

In these few verses, Moroni has a strong desire that we will read his words and the words of the other writers found in The Book of Mormon. He hopes that we will have gained an understanding of God’s love for us and feel His mercy in providing us with these sacred truths. He petitions us to pray, to ask our Heavenly Father in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and that if we do so with faith in Them, we will receive an answer to our query through the power of the Holy Ghost, as He warms our hearts and speaks peace to our souls. He then lets us know that this is a pattern by which we can discern all truth.

That’s wonderful. This is true. But it is not the end of Moroni’s testimony to us, nor is it the end of his exhortation.

Last night I continued reading the chapter with the familiar verses about God’s goodness and our need to develop faith, hope, and charity. But when I read verse 30, I had to pause. I looked up the cross reference to “touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.” I then looked back at the earlier verses to gain context. A careful reading of the entire chapter is most beneficial. I would exhort you to read it.

Read Moroni Chapter 10

In verses 6 and 7, Moroni establishes that things that are good are also just and true, and that every good thing testifies of Jesus. He then reminds us that we can know of Christ’s existence and goodness through the power of the Holy Ghost, and that this requires faith on our part. Here’s another admonition:

          I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God                     (vs 
7).

Moroni wants us to believe in Jesus and in our Heavenly Father. He wants us to believe that the Holy Ghost still speaks to the hearts of men and leads them to truth. He knows that we are on shaky ground if we deny this. He reminds us that God loves us today as well as He loved His children in former days. That God does not change and that His truth remains.

We receive a new exhortation in verse 8:

8 And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.

We live in a day of unbelief, yet Moroni tells us to be believing. In verses 9-18, Moroni specifies certain spiritual gifts. In verse 17, he tells us:

17 And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.

The gifts are from Jesus, and He is the One who gives them to us at His discretion. They are given to bless us, and we use them in turn to bless others.

In verse 18, we have a new call to action:

18 And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.

We cannot take personal credit. We need to be humble. We need to remember from whence and whom our blessings come.

In verse 19, he reiterates that God does not change and that His gifts will ever be with those who are believing and faithful:


19 And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.


In verses 20-30, Moroni expounds on the need for us to have faith, hope, and charity. As we exercise these principles, the gifts of God will be abundant in our lives. If we do not feel the power of the Gifts of the Spirit in our lives, it is because of our own unbelief. We need to be equipped with faith, hope, and charity in order to have God’s plan of happiness unfolded to us.

And since we are still changeable beings, Moroni asks us to keep our memory of these things constantly fresh in our minds and in our hearts. If we forget and deny these things, it does not make them any less true, but it will work to our condemnation. Moroni’s words in verse 27:

27 And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?

And here is verse 30, the verse that gave me pause:

30 And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.

The entire Book of Mormon serves as an invitation for all to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. How fitting that Moroni would conclude his message to us with this same invitation. We are invited to accept Jesus and to accept His Gospel and His redemption, and to not look for another. We do not need to modify Perfection’s order.

“Touch not the unclean gift” led me to this reference: 2 Nephi 18:19:

19  And when they shall say unto you: Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter—should not a people seek unto their God for the living to hear from the dead?

And then in John 14:6, we read:

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.


Moroni exhorts us to remember that. We have the scriptures, and we have the prophets. We have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We do not need to look beyond the mark by trying to add elements or new guidelines to God’s Plan or to Christ’s Good News. Seeking to change the gospel to suit special interests or dissuasions we may feel may very well be touching the unclean gift and the unclean things. In our limited vision, let us trust Them who are perfect to support us perfectly through the sacred principles and ordinances of the gospel. Let us develop faith in Them and increase in faith, hope, and charity, relying upon the witness of the Holy Ghost and the Gifts of the Spirit to bring the enhancement into our lives that will bless and prosper us and make us ready for that great day when we stand before Them, saved through the goodness and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This last admonition is for all of us. We need to be on guard. We need to be vigilant. We need to hold strong to the very tenets of our faith, to the Doctrine of Christ. We can do it. The Lord has provided the way, if we wake up and stay alert. Closing verses:

31 And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

34 And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.

(Italics added)





Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas is a Season of Lights

Lighting of the Arrowhead: December 2 through 15, 2016










Christmastime is a Season of Lights as well as it should be since Jesus is the Giver of Light: and He has given of His light to every human soul.

Jesus is "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9)

At Christmastime, I feel certain that He is pleased that we share light with each other, and it’s His hope that we always will.

There are those who would like to destroy light and thwart the spread of His Good News. We've seen that in terrorist activity throughout the world. But His light cannot be dimmed nor destroyed. 

Legend of the Arrowhead

There is a natural landmark very close to where I live in San Bernardino. “This important landmark has for centuries been a symbol of the San Bernardino Valley to the Native Americans and then to the pioneers and settlers that followed…

“Many legends exist about the Arrowhead. The most ancient legend, perhaps, is one handed down from the Native Americans. The story goes that the Great Spirit had an arrow, which, like the Israelite's Pillar of Fire, was to guide them to the spot where they were to live. The Great Spirit having selected the place, fixed the arrow to mark it forever.

“It has been said that Native Americans who inhabited the San Bernardino Valley believed that the Arrowhead pointed the way to the hot springs below, with healing qualities, and thus considered it holy ground. Through the years, numerous forest fires have caused some erosion. However, the Arrowhead landmark continues to preserve its uniqueness and remains a symbol of the 'pioneer spirit' of the San Bernardino Valley.”


A year ago, an extremist couple brutally attacked citizens of San Bernardino as they were attending a company Christmas party. Unfortunately, fourteen lives were snuffed out prematurely. But their memories live on in and through their loved ones, and their souls continue on through Jesus Christ as they wait for the glorious Resurrection Day. 


This year the San Manuel Tribe in San Bernardino chose to honor these fourteen men and women by lighting the Arrowhead. How appropriate a representation of life is light! For fourteen nights in a row, we can see the arrowhead lit up in the night sky honoring these people, and honoring the Father of Lights. I hope that it will become a Christmas tradition, to honor those whose lives have been taken and to honor the Light of Christ in all of us.










#LIGHTtheWORLD






I chose to post this picture because the lights look like crosses.
And to me, those crosses represent hope in the midst of chaos. 



The Arrowhead and the Moon shining above the city of San Bernardino, California.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Managing our Demands with our Resources



Managing our Demands with our Resources


In our busy lives, we are constantly engaging in a balancing act. How well we do this highly depends upon active assessment and personal self-control. We have many roles to play and many responsibilities, plus many interests that also vie for our attention. In other words, there are demands. Sometimes it can be overwhelming for us, which might leave us with a feeling of helplessness. But that need not be so.

Demands are just part of the picture. We need to remember that in this balancing act, we also have resources; and, they are many. That is why active assessment and self-control become a vital part of balancing. If we only feel the weight of our demands, then we may blind-side ourselves to the many resources available to us.

So we can begin by making a list of our demands and a list of our resources. This may be the last thing that we feel like doing, because it only feels like one more demand on our time. But that’s not the case. If we allow ourselves this few minutes of planning time, this assessment activity will empower us and give us more time to meet our demands successfully, instead of desperately or despairingly.

One way that writing a list of resources can be most beneficial is that we will see we are not alone, and we will find that we do not need to face our challenges alone. In other words, the Lord is our greatest resource and He will help us, and we can be guided through His Holy Spirit as we turn to Him and ask Him to be our Partner. We will also find that we have support in our spouses and family members and in our friends. As we properly engage each other towards common goals, we will find that our burdens or the weight of our demands will become significantly lighter and far easier to manage.

When we still feel out of balance, we probably are. So what can we do? What is necessary for us to do? Yes, this will also require more assessment. That’s okay. We should be happy to get to know ourselves and to value ourselves enough to make our own lives happier and more pleasant.

When we find that balance is still lacking, we need to shuffle through our demands to see what is most important. It may very well be that we find that we are carrying unnecessary demands. We need to reduce unnecessary demands either by eliminating them or setting them aside for a more appropriate time in our lives. In that way, we will not feel so weighed down, and we will have increased capacity to carry our necessary demands and fulfill them with greater success.

There is another important thing that we can do to find the balance we need. Not only can we reduce unnecessary demands; we can also increase our resources. What are the desired resources that we want in order to meet the demands that we have? Are they available? How can we enlist them? Sometimes, this is as simple as asking someone else for help or giving ourselves time for a restful reprieve. Sometimes, this may require some active learning and hard work, so that we build a new reservoir of available resources in newly gained knowledge and ability. Of course, if this is the case, then we do need to set aside other demands for later, or enlist others for help with those demands, or to allow them the privilege of carrying them for a time.

We need to remember that we all need renewal. The Lord knew that. He gave us the Sabbath day for that. What a great resource. We can set aside many of our particularly draining demands for one day in every week and refuel ourselves. Then we can meet those demands with the promise that we will always have His spirit to be with us if we always remember Him. The very faith that we actively engage in on the Sabbath day provides us with rich renewal and should be considered as a most valuable and incomparable resource. As we sing hymns together, pray and worship, teach, instruct, discuss, and learn, we are strengthened and renewed to meet the challenges of the week.

And then there is the Gift of the Atonement. As we seek the Lord’s approval, acceptance, and forgiveness through the covenants we renew in partaking of the Sacrament, we can be forgiven of our sins and blessed with his Spirit. In other words, He will help us carry our burdens and lighten our loads; our demands will not feel so heavy because He is by our side as our most valuable resource.

Balance is important. Anyone who has ridden a bicycle knows that. And balance takes a certain amount of vigilance or steadfastness. Steadiness in our life will help us to feel calmer and more in control. As we work to achieve the balance that is necessary in our lives, we will see that we are becoming more constant people with emotions that are kept in check, instead of having highs that are too high and lows that are too low. As we seek to manage both our demands and our resources, we will find that we are far better equipped to serve the Lord, to serve our fellowmen, and to feel greater peace and joy in our lives. 


This post was inspired by President and Sister Dixon as they taught in a Zone Conference in San Bernardino, California, for the Latter-day Saint Missionaries who are serving there on 22 November 2016. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Life is Not Static, But Love and Devotion Can Be.

I have felt true joy in my life, and I have felt real sadness and even anguish. I will tell you that the joy has come from associations with friends and family; through serving, loving and getting to know people. Even with sadness, and anguish felt in losses, I have still been able to be comforted when I have turned to the Lord, because He delivers peace and sustains us through each hour that we are in need.

When we realize that our greatest joys come through our associations with one another, and through hard work that family members do to support and sustain one another, and when we realize that the very love that we develop through those associations will feed us with joy even in times of sorrow; then our greatest efforts should be in nurturing our relationships, building one another up, and sustaining each other through all our joys and sorrow, whether the road is rocky, we are on a roller coaster, or we are experiencing smooth sailing.

True anguish and despair need not debilitate us or rob us of our hope and joy. If they do, then we have chosen to put trust (or lack of trust) in man rather than showing faith in God; and we have also chosen to wallow instead of to climb. If we choose to climb, there will always be a hand that reaches out for ours to pull and lift us higher until we can break through the clouds and enjoy the sunlight once again.

It might help for each of us to take inventory or our own lives. What brings us joy? What causes us sorrow? What things can we change? How can we feel happiness and peace? Is it unrealistic to want everything to go just our way all the time? What do we choose to do when things are beyond our own control? How do we respond when we are disappointed? How do we respond when others attain success? Have we learned how to have hope and trust in good things to come? Do we place unrealistic projections on others or on the future? Do we choose to be humble? Do we choose to place our faith in God? Do we move forward with certainty even when we don’t feel certain? Do we have enough courage to give ourselves and others the benefit of the doubt? Do we know that we can get up again even with skinned knees or broken teeth? Do we lash out at others when we feel uncertain? Or, do we hold hands and move forward together? 


Life is not static, but love and devotion can be. And therein lies our happiness.