Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tongue of Fire

I have had the honor to real a great book called Tongue of Fire, a great read and real page turner that I could not resist. The book was so full of twists and turns, I was certain that John, a new resident and the only Mormon of Mayfield. Who of had seen that such a friendly and service oriented new member of the community would end up in so much trouble from offering service to a church that lost its pastor.

The simple act of service turns this simple mans life (and his family's life) into a crazy pile of secrets that become discovered and unfolded. The reading just becomes more and more intense when the antagonist finds out the great and giving John is a Mormon and his son is the high school's first string quarterback. Now what John did to save a church by preaching a sermon becomes a mark for becoming a pariah and the house of cards that are falling threatens Johns marriage, Jacobs career as a quarterback and could have the whole family ran out of town.

I read this book and really it was a page turner David McKnight really creates a book that keeps his reader excited for hours on end with a great piece of literature. Those that enjoy this blog will really enjoy this book and its a great gift for Christmas.

Go read this book, you will love it.

That being said, I would like to reflect on the true power of the Tongue of Fire given to us by God. He has asked us to open our mouths not giving though as to what we shall say. Talk about risky. Our finite knowledge and wisdom cannot fathom the insight that the God omnipotent knows about his children. Perhaps I should of known better when I was a young missionary. I witnessed that every time that I 'opened my mouth' that miracles happened. I watched as gangsters, stoners and those that would of been though of not, turn their lives around. Not because I knew all the scriptures or spoke contentiously about theology with others but spoke with the power and majesty that is only the Lords and his alone. I barely grasped that I was his mouth piece. I thank God though that I was somewhat teachable and saw a glimpse of heaven in the eyes of those touched by the Spirit of the Lord. I now hope that I can pass that on to other Saints and my children as well.

Thank you.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Spirit vs. the Letter

The law of God as given by Moses was simple and direct. It wasn't until after the simple law was given that people begged Moses to elaborate and thus the Law of Moses was created; A bit more complex and detailed.  Time has passed and the law has become somewhat skewed. Much like the simple law of God is the Constitution of the United States; simple and direct. The assignment of elaboration was given to the states and the Bill of Rights was produced (thanks to some serious effort of the 5th president). Again it was still simple and direct but specified more about what the country could and could not do. Each state in the Union created their own Constitution that was in perfect rhythm but was more elaborate to the area that it influenced but because it was simple to read and maintained the spirit of the law it could be interpreted to suit the citizens that it protected.

Time has passed as it has for the original Ten Commandments and now such laws have backed us into a corner and have segregated us. Of course the passage of time was going to do that. We have been a country for over 200 years but might I purpose that we get back to the basics and scrape away some of the crud that we call law that hurts us and contradicts the original law that our forefathers wrote. The laws now attack our roots needs to be done away so that we can breathe again. Let us be courageous again and break from the fear that has us bound as a flaxen cord. This year I encourage you to vote for real 'hope' and 'change' that will strengthen our country.

Image is provided by U.S. History quote of the day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

History of the Hymns

Its been odd. For the last few weeks I have been listening to the History o the Hymns by the Mormon Channel a fantastic morning listening piece. Although they call it a podcast, I would call it a fantastic start to a great morning. Nothing for me in this hotel and the various hotels that I stay at would feel closer to home then listening to the podcast. To say the least its nice. In other words I would highly recommend it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Honor and Obey

To honor and obey....

These words were part of the oath that the woman would give to her husband as part of the vow of marriage and yet it seems to drop because of, well fill in the blank as to the excuse that is used. At one time I am sure that it meant something.

Do you remember the scriptures Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. The marriage vow gave a charge to the woman to honor and obey the husband as he obeyed the Lord. We were supposed to mimic the great Jehovah and do for our wives what he did for us all; do everything to build and edify the union of marriage and our spouses.

But alas men and women mock god and make ashamed the union of marriage by swearing that there is no need for such union or that the ways of our forefathers is the old way and that the need for self-reliance is more important than our oath or vow. Our word no longer is our bond and that is a scary time we have created; the bond of trust is breaking.

So what can we do to strengthen it?

It is said that the number one fear of men is that women will laugh at them and that the number one fear of women is that men will kill them. I would have to say that we need to go out on a limb here on both parts. Women need not fear death if they build up and strengthen the men in their lives. Likewise men need not fear mockery or to be made a fool if they show kindness and love to those women that are in their lives.

Might I also recommend that people take time to talk face to face; to touch one another in a non-threatening manner?  Human contact is one of the great stress relievers and it helps release the happy endorphins that prolong our lives and makes us health and happy. We get too cooped up in our digital lives that we fail to see the ones that are in our homes and lives.

There was a time when our employers got to know their employees and spouses held hands and kissed in public; teachers touched their students to emphasis the message that they really cared.

Now those wonderful bridges are burning and socialism is attempting to remove what makes us human by punishing us for being good and hunting for what is wrong with us. Our liberties are being taken away; our rolls as men and women are being bleached out.

And what can we do? Husbands love your wives as Jesus loved the church. That’s a real good start. Families will become strength and the home a learning place again. I believe the poet John H. McNaughton summed it up nicely in this poem made hymn.

There is beauty all around,
When there’s love at home;
There is joy in ev’ry sound,
When there’s love at home.
Peace and plenty here abide,
Smiling sweet on ev’ry side;
Time doth softly, sweetly glide,
When there’s love at home;
Love at home, love at home,
Time doth softly, sweetly glide,
When there’s love at home.
In the cottage there is joy,
When there’s love at home;
Hate and envy ne’er annoy,
When there’s love at home.
Roses blossom ’neath our feet,
All the earth’s a garden sweet,
Making life a bliss complete,
When there’s love at home;
Love at home, love at home,
Making life a bliss complete,
When there’s love at home.
Kindly Heaven smiles above,
When there’s love at home;
All the earth is filled with love,
When there’s love at home.
Sweeter sings the brooklet by,
Brighter beams the azure sky:
Oh, there’s One Who smiles on high,
When there’s love at home;
Love at home, love at home,
Oh, there’s One Who smiles on high,
When there’s love at home.
Jesus, show Thy mercy mine,
Then there’s love at home;
Sweetly whisper I am Thine,
Then there’s love at home.
Source of love, Thy cheering light
Far exceeds the sun so bright—
Can dispel the gloom of night;
Then there’s love at home;
Love at home, love at home,
Can dispel the gloom of night;
Then there’s love at home.

If you are married, give your spouse a kiss. Kiss your kids. If you are living with parents, give them thanks and if you are alone thank God your maker that He watches over you.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen   

Image provided by  Stock Photo

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Adam and Eve

In the beginning there was just two people (well there was God and the rest of us in heaven but..) Adam and his wife, Eve. Now you can dispute it with talk about Lilith and such but I like to think that there was just the two of them. One was clearly a hunter/gatherer and the other was clearly a nurturer/teacher. The blessed souls knew their role as man and woman; husband and wife.

Isn't if funny how such a view has now become skewed. The thought of a woman being a teacher to her children and mother to her husband’s offspring is frowned upon. They want us to teach little girls to play with GI Joe and boys to play with dolls (not that there is anything wrong with that) and in so doing take away our sexual identity.

In the past, we taught our daughters that they were princesses and ladies and our sons were heroes and gentlemen; the role was defined. There were skills to be learned from being those things and to rise above the things that would dim our light. My forefathers taught that men and women should learn and be well educated so that they could teach their children combined to be those that would build their community and strengthen government through self-reliance. 

Alas it’s not that way anymore. Men are taught that women can defend themselves and that they should defend none but themselves. The role of husband is a joke and spreading your seed is no crime; the woman will take care of it or the government will take care of it.

Women are taught that they need no man and such thoughts are slavery and dependence. Women can rear their own children without the strong role of a husband and that the government will provide.

Such thoughts mock God.

We have forgotten that Even was created from a rib, not the head to be above him or the foot be be his footstool; his side to be next to him. Being married for over a dozen years has taught me that my wife is different from me and that difference makes us a team. We rely on each other for strength. We are not a bunch of codependents that cannot survive without the other.

We are a team undivided. Our children are ours not just hers or mine or creatures to be raised by an alien force that doesn't know our little ones, ours. We have a home, we have a car, and we have all the things that God has provided because we work together.

My sons know that they are sons of loving parents and sons of God. My daughter (I have just the one princess) knows that she the daughter of two parents that work hard to give her everything and a daughter of a loving Father in Heaven. My children know their roles and the roles that they must play in the future as future men and women. They know that men work and women rear. I may be king of the castle but my wife is Queen of the manor. I handle things outside and she takes care of things inside because it works for us.

I do not know if this means anything to the faceless government bodies that would love to take that away but to my family it means a lot. 

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Scriptures Past and Present

I have wondered if this is the fullness of times, why is it still confusing as to where the all the testimonies of the prophets are. The old testament gives hints as does the Book of Mormon of prophets of times past that we have only the testimony of the written that they even existed. For example, when Jesus was on the Earth, there were (and are still) twelve apostles but only three written testimonies are ever printed in the Bible. The Book of Mormon is no different as there are similar references of things that the previous prophets took advantage of that again we do not have and yet we have the 'Fullness of the Gospel'.

It seems to me that God in his infinite wisdom continues to press the issue of eternal progression and does it by using the testimonies of the living and what is available of the dead. Sure He could reveal all things in our imperfect state but that would only cause damnation of the non-believer. Kids are young, impressionable, childish beings and we are too. Jesus asked us to be as little children because he wanted us to be humble submissive and meek like children. By asking that of us he was showing the great attributes that we came here from heaven with. Sure we didn't come with language or skills. Those building blocks were given to us at a later date and rightly so. After all its important to learn line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little witch has been taught all throughout the scriptures.

It goes to show that Satan would love to take those things away and instead of God bringing back the old stuff that was great but will be rejected he introduces a new prophet with the same teaching as was before but in his own words. Why; because he can use words that the people will relate to. He might refer to scripture of ancient time (and a lot I hope) but living testimony is just as important as the forgotten scriptures and prophets of the past; it’s not just theology but words of the living God and the testimony of his Son and those stewards (the prophets) that he sent.

Now I know that one day the Lord in his infinite power will restore all the scripture and the prophets to their perfect frame and all will be revealed but until then I will be humble and patient reading the scriptures that I have.

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Morning Prayer

I am starting to get what prayer is about. For the longest time it was a Santa Clause thing for me. "Oh Lord this is hard please take it away. See ya! Amen." or "I want...uh... um.... blah blah blah. Thanks Santa er.... Lord."

Hopefully I have repented of that behavior enough that I realize that it's time to talk to my creator, my father; now days we discuss things. It takes a bit of time to get in that level of communication at first. I spent a long time on my knees because I heard nothing. So I listened at first for what seemed like tens of minutes, then minutes and now its seconds where I can hear His voice. Awesome! Now this doesn't stop him being my Father but its nice to hear his voice chastise or not. I like to hear his voice give me praise for my work and council for where I could improve.

I can see clearly why He wants us to take our souls serious and why he asks to talk to us in the morning and the evening. How else can he peal us away from our thoughts, the kids, our spouse, job, friends, debts etc.

You know sometimes He asks me "How you doing?" I am certain that an all knowing God knows but despite that he wants to hear it from you. You are important to Him. The more serious stuff he brings up occasionally but generally I bring it up when it is getting to me. I generally feel good but there are times where I as people in the past and in other places fear for the welfare of my soul. Times like that I need to talk to him and not just casually but seriously. Enos of the Book of Mormon went through that (perhaps a lot) and his experience teaches me to hang in there, listen, and do what he has told me to do since, well, forever.

God is no respecter of persons and that means that he has no favorites. While some would think that Jesus is his absolute favorite. I would disagree, He is His most obedient; that doesn't change how he feels about little ole me. I may not be THE Son of God but I am a son (though at times like the prodigal son I feel that I would be better off as a servant). I have the makings of greatness. It's not my genes that say that but the Man upstairs who says.Some of us at times squander the gifts that we are given like the prodigal son and we party here on earth (though it doesn't show much with all the day to day living) but we do not do what is needed to edify and glorify God and then we get on our knees and He says:"How was it?" We have no excuse we, like teenagers who have the keys to dad’s car can't (or will not) explain why it was not more fulfilling. Which reminds me of my earlier post about being immortal; what would we do without an accountability of what we did? That’s one of the key reasons why I pray; to say what I did with my life this day.

I know that most of us will not remember what I write but I put it out there for your consideration and thought. Pray often and be mindful of the Spirit. Have a blessed day.

Image is located at Grace University

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Red Ball and Chocolate

I have been impressed by the spirit to write about sin. So let’s get to the meat of my thought.

Sin cannot be undone. There is no magical carpet that teleports you back to the point in history to stop a transgression or sin. The memory will always be there. It is like a red ball or the taste of chocolate. Everyone has seen a red ball and can recall its dimensions and texture from memory. Everyone salivates over the thought of a great piece of chocolate. These are good memories.

Sin is the same in that it can be vividly recalled if you let it. The events of it can play over and over in you mind if you let it. It cannot be undone but it can be forgotten. Some people talk about how the Lord when forgiving the sins of men remembers them no more. Such gift is extended to the repentant. Though the memory is still there somewhere deep in the brain, the Lord, because of his mercy has caused it to become cloudy and almost non-existent.

So how do we get there? There are some key thoughts on the subject.

Change your mind. The scripture says For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.. I might be paraphrasing. None the less, the Natural Man craves sin; an empty outward expression to fill the inside; bigger cars, depravity, immorality etc. They cannot get away from it because they have not changed their mind; their course in life. Their desire for chocolate or to see the red ball out weighs their desire to be good or do better and the course that God lays out for him disrupts his life and becomes uncomfortable.

So how do we fix it? If we are serious to change our course we need to set a new course. Like a captain of a ship, wishful thinking doesn't change the course. You need to look at what worked before and stick to it. If it was a compass and charts you would not hesitate to look at them or are you so seduced by the coolness that you cannot stay on course for long. I know that it is hard to stay the course sometimes because we have been on the path of destruction for so long that we forgot what the correct path even looks like but when you are stuck like that you need help. The lord works in mysterious ways; through his angels he visits us. Bishops, home teachers, and plain friends at church can change that course. Not only that but a written course helps us. The scriptures, pamphlets and talks by modern day prophets give us key words and thoughts to live by.

Some think that 'once you go down the path of the dark side, forever will it control your destiny' and that would be true if there was not repentance and a remission of sin/transgression. Satan would love to have you believe that. That the taste of chocolate will control what you do in the future but I am here to tell you that God is in charge and you can change the course that you are on with him at the helm. If you have a problem, change it with all the resources that God has put at your disposal. [You] can do all things through Christ which [strengthens you] (Philippians 4:13). Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance because you think that you automatically doomed to a life of sin, change it.

Satan will work dang hard to get you back but if you stay true to the course you can return back to him that gave you life.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Test of Faith

Today I got a piece from Wisconsin via youtube from a brother who is a fan(?) of my rants. He wanted to share a great piece of cinema that his ward had put together concerning the Strength of Youth pamphlet that is quite common in our church. What a clever display of encouragement and great twist in the end. I would encourage those that want to see a great short for both entertainment and for encouragement to play this at home for young children (this would be a great FHE video for the family and a great teaching tool. Thank you Brother McKnight for sharing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ultimate Cosmic Power

I think that I am finally starting to really grasp an inkling of what the power of the priesthood is all about. I get that its service and that it is for the benefit of others but the question that lies in my mind is if you had the power of God what would you do with it? Really? Think about it; limitless power. You could move mountains and create worlds or get greedy and destroy cities and snuff out suns. So why would God give that power to man? What is the purpose?

So that we can learn that when you give it all up (friends, family, career, perhaps your life) then you will obtain ultimate cosmic power. You will know God. The hymn says that 'sacrifice brings for the blessings of heaven' so why do want to cling onto things that I can see and touch? My wife and children are the most precious things to me but I cannot take them with me when I die. I must go it alone. My friends are fantastic and a great asset to my life but again, I cannot take them with me. Jesus had it all and gave it all up to benefit me. Friends and family, career and humble life, all so that he could understand the power of God (well that and save all man kind). Perhaps I still do not have an inkling of what it’s all about yet.

King Lamoni said once that he would give up everything to know God. Joseph Smith did just that, gave up everything to know God. I am afraid. I do not want to give up everything. I kind of like my life. I am ok with not having all the perks of power and prestige. I do not know the careful balance of power and a normal life and I am fine with that. I suppose that I fear the climb up the mountain to know God because I fear falling.

Some would say that 'that's ok' and that not everyone will want to make the journey but I am not ok with myself in thinking that. Some would say that not everyone needs or will be a Bishop or Seventy, that some will just be Home Teachers. What? Is it because they are weaker or less important; or is it because they are not willing to give up everything to know God and his purpose?

I just don’t want to appear weak.

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