Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tree of Life

I was in a great class today with our new ward (our boundaries were rearranged) and it was in that first elders quorum lesson that there was a condensed discussion on the subject of the Tree of Life. For those that don't know what this is, its a tree that produces a fruit so desired that you would give everything for. For us in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, its the gospel of Jesus Christ; the knowledge of God and his Son, the Messiah of the world.

While we were learning about how much faith played in our lives and our success on learning who God is and what He wants for us His children, we make the point that for each of us the fruit of the Tree of Life is different for each of us. For some this means that a person loves the sacrament, others it might be the role of tithing; the elements that bring out the best of us and strengthen our faith. As a side note, my faith has been built by trial of physical events that ask for me to pray and call out to the Lord for help. The Lord has been mindful of me and answered my prayers.

While I was in the course the idea of a tree that has had limbs grafted into it like a citrus tree that has oranges, limes and lemons. By itself the tree would only gain the experience of oranges or just lemons etc... but grafting a tree through painful for the tree creates something that can be so beneficial to everyone that owns one of these graft trees.

The Lord knows all too much about grafting but this part of my life where I am the tree and the fruit is now coming out of my work and faith is a new realization. I have always seen the fruit of the Tree of Life as an outside is a brand new thought. The fruit that I am called to produce must be sweet and desirable and bring others to the great and divine tree that all should seek to partake.

A bit of a big load huh?

Thankfully the Lord groups the trees of this fantastic fruit through gathering the saints. After all, the fruit of the saints are not always sweet (think of grapefruits). So mixing experiences and tastes of life is almost crucial. How grateful am I for that? Very. I love our savior and his master plan. I don't always understand it but man I love being a part of it.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pass through the fire

Also known Lord here am I.

There are several examples of men who were asked to pass through fire or watch others pass though their own trial;names such as Alma the younger, Abenadi, Daniel, Shadrach, Meeshak Abendego just to name a few. What seemed odd to me was that my good friend Mike made a good point that when we come to these moments that we should be eager like Nephi and young Samuel and not ask how can I survive this or how can I do this and dwell on "Lord thy servant heareth" or "I will go and do". God at times is our teacher and provides a way. Sometimes we are asked to make a sacrifice and like a fireman pass through the flames not knowing that we will return. 

In these harsh modern times we think that we will escape the a time a harsh as the holocaust or the bubonic plague. We think that we are more righteous or something; that the Apocalypse or Armageddon will be gentle. 

As much as I would love to agree with the idea, I am under the suspicion that although we are a righteous nation, we are (the wheat) are surrounded by the wicked (the tares). The bundling is beginning. Do you remember that there is a great gathering of Israel. Those that hate the field that is white are also eager to burn the world so that no one survives. And while we are asked to prepare, we are also asked to fear not

We are now at a time that calls for more courage, more faith and more charity than we have ever seen. We are asked to push as hard as we can to be the people that will shine like a beacon on a hill. Sure that makes us a target but with God at our helm we can face the struggle that is to come, the fire that we are called to pass through. We may die; we may survive, God will know and tell. When we meet our Maker, I hope to God that all of us that we will meet again and we will have a joy that cannot be quenched and a story that will make our ancestors and petigree proud. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

From a certain point of view...

Luke: Ben! Why didn't you tell me? You told me that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered my father.
Obi-Wan: Your father... was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be the Jedi Anakin Skywalker and "became" Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So, what I told you was true... from a certain point of view.
Luke: A certain point of view?
Obi-Wan: Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. Anakin was a good friend. When I first met him, your father was already a great pilot. But I was amazed how strongly the Force was with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought that I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.

I quote this film because I was starting to realize that God wants us to tell the whole truth. While He (our maker) teaches us line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little, there a little, it is imperative that when we come to our maker with all our cards on the table. When we start out path of unrighteousness we cannot tell ourselves and others the truth from a certain point of view and keep our problems a secret. We must make the effort to bring the hard things to light. For some, the truth is like the sun to a vampire and we desperately want to coil back to the dark. The dark is our comfort, our friend and like warm mud is soothing. The problem is that its filth, our filth and in our sin, Satan mocks us. He does anything to further the experience; to push us further in that darkness that would bury us and keep us from those that love us and want to be friends of the light and knowledge that God gave us when we left his home; his side.

You and I are not in a film. We cannot tell the truth from a certain point of view. Those that would say that our sacred covenants (the Lords secrets) should not be thought of as secrets that should be kept because we cannot tell people and that should be our truth from a certain point of view. God wants us to keep our covenants and to tell the feelings of our experiences. You cannot even do that with your sin. You fail to tell people of how sin makes you feel. Is the Spirits comfort and assurance felt when you sin vs. when you are in holy places or learning holy things? You know that's not true.

When we realize that we can improve and become something that we should of been in the first place we become as Paul and Alma and do the 180 degree turn that needs to happen so that we can draw close to the Lord with more then our words. Remember the words of the hymn; of my favorite hymn, Lead Kindly Light

This hymn causes me to choke up because this is what I feel when I sin; when I pull from God and really want to pull close to him. I want to be and enjoy being human but the frailty and persuasion to sin and do dumb things cause me to reach out for something that might save me and that is something that the people of this world need more then anything, a sense of hope that something, someone will save us from our sins.

May we all find our path with truth, not as we see it but as god sees it. We can become what God wants us to become but we must make the effort. We must begin to see what God sees in us so that we can be like him. 

Have a great week. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

I am reminded

I recently was “pre-shopping” couches and spending time with my beloved. I realized that I was learning more about the one I love and I have been married for for almost eighteen years. I have learned so much about my wife. There is more and more layers that come out of my marriage that I never knew and I like it.

When I attempt to really dig deep in what I have done in the past part of me says write it down. We are encouraged over and over (well not strongly recently) that we should write it down. You think that your mundane life, you're wrong. I don't and you don't have a ordinary life. I find it interesting that if the roll were reversed that our ancestors would read our stories with equal interest as we do to theirs. Think about it, when I tell my kids about renting a VCR or that we didn't have a microwave growing up or walking a mile to school at the age of five, my kids are astonished. The funny thing is that I am only twenty-five years older then they are. My world is not much different then theirs. There is the same government, towns, land marks etc. That aside, the history that has happened in those twenty-five years that separate us is a big difference.

When I was a kid we race around the neighborhood and the neighbors knew us and we knew them. Our world was one were nameless authority was something less to fear then our own parents because of love and respect of family, community and county. We did all the crazy things that kids did in the '80's and it was fun.

Now had I written it down, my children would have a great story to tell their own kids. Alas I have been through some trauma and memory has been lost. Now when the memories come I make an attempt to write it down so that I have something. Not all that awesome stories of a mundane person are going to be there but I am making the attempt. On Sundays I am writing in a journal (an old journal that I have not written in since '06 (before my last boy was born). When I began reading what sparse of a story I had written about myself,I realized that there was some great achievements that I like about myself. I felt so bad that I had not taken the time for me that I am now taking some time to fix it.

I know that some people take their journal to do a spot check on themselves spiritually or some place to keep their secrets but I don't like my secrets on paper. Perhaps its because I want to put my best foot forward when my children read my story. I know that when you write your personal struggles and what not, your reader can see a side of you that they can relate to but for me that a scary place; especially because my medium is here on the web.

The thing I want to walk away from this is this, you and I have a great story. Get out and make it happen. You have the greatest story that has never been told. Only you know the story from your point of view and when you think about it, the story is fantastic.  

The image is from when I worked in Seattle, WA.