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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Monday, March 5, 2012

The Spirit of God....

Ever since I have taken to the road the hymns have taken to a new meaning. Nothing like a calm drive from 10 to 12 hours driving around this country (yes I said country) from city to city is much nicer when there is a hymn in the cabin. It allows for me to get back in touch with the basics, you know faith, repentance etc. and separate myself from the grind that can happen from day to day driving.

I have been a driver for over five years now and just recently rediscovered the hymns. Oh sure music and talk shows had a place but nothing really connects people to a more centered and relaxed feeling then the songs of praise. Some would ask about the great songs of the more modern times like the work of Michael W. Smith or  Janice Kapp Perry but there is nothing like getting back to what carried the saints across the plains of the wild west.

I was recently reflecting on their exodus and I thought that perhaps our own will be just as wild when the Savior comes only there will be one big difference, we have become complacent. When the end comes, I wonder what will become of the civility of man; will we attack ourselves for food and shelter, revert to something less then the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air? I fear that no preparedness will ever prepare man for what is to come. To what level with the hymns be to men and women when the wolves and men come for them. Will such hymns like Lead Kindly Light by John H. Newman have the same significance as it did two hundred years ago? I know for some the song is timeless and its meaning is eternal like the scriptures.

When the Saints came across the plains they had only the songs they had grown up with and the hymns that Sister Smith was instructed to put together. Not that many songs but it seems that with their eager spirits, tenacity and perseverance, they made it work. I have never pushed a cart out of the mud or traveled by foot thousands of miles but I have had a sliver of the faith that they have had as I have pushed a car our a snow bank and traveled crossed the country several times (at least a dozen).  I do not know what strength they had in the past but I do know of the songs. I listened to them on my radio and MP3 player. The world has changed a lot.

I do not boost that I am better or faster than those before me and I hope that they see that I am in my own way attempting to use their example in my life. It’s difficult to be sure if I am getting the message right but time will tell.

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Miracles and Signs

It is written that faith precedes the miracle and for those that do not believe the sign precedes the faith. I always wondered why that was and what that was all about. It was while I was reading the scriptures that I came to an inkling of what that might mean or how much relevance to it there was.

God in his infinite wisdom has asked man (of his own free will I might add) to have faith as described in the book of Hebrews and in the book of Alma. This stretch of faith asks us to take part in the eternal prospective that God is always with us. From asking us to pray for guidance to exercising the knowledge (because eventually faith grows to knowledge) that God is with us and if we but ask then we will receive as the Lord wills.

A great example would be this story. One day while on a date with my wife, after enjoying a perfect evening, we had a flat. It was dark and we were on the interstate. Having faith that the Lord would insure our safety I and my wife prayed that we would be safe and proceeded to attempt to change the tire. We ran into a little snag in our plan; we had a tire but we didn't have a source of light. Once again we gathered in the car and we prayed for light; a simple prayer. Went outside and did what we could in the dark. No sooner then we exited the vehicle we were approached by another vehicle. They pulled up from behind and turned of their lights. The woman got out of the drivers seat and thanked us for being there as she had just ran out of gas and was not sure that anyone would be there to help her. We asked her to turn back on her lights and explained our situation. We both laughed at the miracle and took care of our unusual circumstances; she got her gas and we got our tire. How blessed we were that we had such faith.

Nice huh; a story of faith that ended well and was the beginnings of my own faith. I knew that the Lord watched over his flock but I didn't know to what level or haste. It took that experience to start feeding my faith to an outstanding level. I knew that God looked out for me and almost looked for a chance to exercise it again and again. Now trials were not stumbling blocks but opportunities. I no longer had faith that God was watching but I knew. What he did to improve or strengthen my life was a fascination to me and still is.

Now lets look at the other side of the coin; signs. The Lord had shown signs (until he has been blue in the face, in my opinion) to us all. These are events that the Lord has told prophets and seers that would come to pass if wicked didn't obey the commandments; people like you and I. I imagine that to some degree we (as Christians) understand the signs that are coming and whether or not we are prepared the path for them are already laid out and the map drawn if we but see what is ahead. It saddens me that to the faithless that a sign needs to take place. They need waters parted or loaves of plenty to be as a sign that the Lord is with us but we find that such sign seekers end up impaired literally or figuratively because they still want more.

The carnal sensual and devilish self is not content with the sign because it required nothing while faith required everything we knew. I do not know why I was compelled to write this only that I should take to heart what I have written and stretch more and be a doer and not just a watcher. I have watched too much and relied on the experiences of the past without looking to the future. I pray I do not seek a sign but acknowledge the ones that are already present. Perhaps my prayers can be a little more genuine and my faith a little more like knowledge; perhaps my fasting can be more sincere and with more intent and my repentance a little more thorough.  May we all be a little more faithful is my prayer, in the name of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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