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Sunday, December 30, 2012

133: THE CREATION, THE FALL, AND THE ATONEMENT

In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. 
And the gospel was the Word, and the Word was with the Son,
 and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God. 
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made.
JST John 1:1-3

Below is a very short video that conveys the very essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To watch the video.. click here: LINK TO VIDEO to watch it in a larger format so you can read the text a little easier than this embedded video file on this blog: 


Monday, December 24, 2012

131: IN ME YOUR JOY IS FULL


JOY TO THE WORLD...THE LORD HAS COME.


"For in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.
Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body;
but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul.
And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls,
and ye shall have eternal life."
Doctrine and Covenants 101: 36-38
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While family, friends, gifts, presents, and food can all bring us joy during this holiday season, only in and through our Savior Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate tomorrow can our joy be full....  May each of us feel of that exceedingly great joy and peace that only He can give.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

130: NATURE'S ROLE


Unfortunately many of us live apart from Nature. We tend to be more connected to 'virtual worlds' via technology.  Less people are experiencing Nature..let alone in a way that it was intended, a way to find serenity and peace, a way to connect back to God, a way to receive revelation. It usually requires you to be alone. Is it any wonder that Joseph Smith went into a grove, Enos went in the forest, Moses went up into the mountain, Christ in a garden.

I happened to open up a book the other day and turned to this page with the following quote. The book is called 'Light in the Wilderness'. I have not read this book yet besides reading this quote. I think the quote is powerful, I can testify it is true.

"Nature’s role is to arrest Man’s attention so he can hear that Voice from Heaven. And it has often worked as each of us has many times yielded to holy messages when absorbed by sounds or scenes in Nature. In those moments the rational processes pause, and a deeper consciousness awakens. In such moments one feels a transcendent sense of connectedness to divine origins. The sensation seems to have the power to transform every fear and every care. The mind becomes deep and still. Attention to Nature’s message then can open the Spiritual Mind, where not only the truth about Nature is revealed, but also our own true nature is stirred into wakening. We become conscious of spiritual realities that flow in and around us. To slow down and let Nature distill within us begins to open the unseen world where the secrets of happiness flourish, where abound “the mysteries and peacable things – that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal ( D&C 42:61)"1

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Sidenote:

 A friend of mine send me the below quote from the book, 'Proof of Heaven', written by Dr. Eben Alexander about his near death experience.

"The 'false' suspicion that we can somehow be separated from God is the root of every form of anxiety ... the knowledge that nothing can tear us from God ... remains the single most important thing I've ever learned". 2

"The physical side of the universe is as a speck of dust compared to the invisible and spiritual part." 3

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1 Light in the Wilderness by M Catherine Thomas
2 Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eden Alexander pg. 76 
3 Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eden Alexander  pg 82

Monday, December 17, 2012

129: KEEPING DARKNESS AT BAY

As a father of grade-school children, I have been saddened by the recent tragedy of the loss of innocent lives. The world in which we live is indeed a lone and dreary place. It has been said that this is the only world that was wicked enough to crucify their Savior. It is true that the Savior chose to work out his mortal sojourn on the most wicked of all worlds (See Moses 7:36).

At the funeral of two-year-old Marian Lyon, the Prophet Joseph Smith said:

“We have again the warning voice sounded in our midst, which shows the uncertainty of human life; and in my leisure moments I have meditated upon the subject, and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us, especially those that seem to be the most intelligent and interesting. The strongest reasons that present themselves to my mind are these: This world is a very wicked world; and it … grows more wicked and corrupt. … The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again.  The only difference between the old and young dying is, one lives longer in heaven and eternal light and glory than the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable, wicked world. Notwithstanding all this glory, we for a moment lose sight of it, and mourn the loss, but we do not mourn as those without hope."

History of the Church, 4:553–54; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Mar. 20, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff.

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While the darkness seems to be getting darker, I believe the light is getting stronger as well. I saw the movie 'The Hobbit' this weekend. I enjoyed it. It contains much symbolism. A small and insignifant farmer Bilbo Baggins leaves his comfortable home and sacrifices in defeating darkness.  Here was a profound statement from the movie:

"I've found it is the small things,
every act of normal folk that keeps the darkness at bay
...the simple acts of kindness and love."

Reminds me of  this scripture:

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me;
but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass;
and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."
Alma 37:6

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Sidenote: The following video and below quote by an unknown author were forwarded to me. I post them here for others to be inspired by them.

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“I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tinted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am lifted up in prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed, will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table with the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored, up, and paid up for the case of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me and when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.”


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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

128: Symbolic Date: 12.12.12

"Without Purse or Scrip" painting by Liz Lemon Swindle

Today is December 12, 2012. or 12.12.12.
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The number twelve is an important number. It is considered a perfect number, and more specifically it is a number of perfection in governing. In scripture: We see the number twelve as the number used in governing bodies such as:
  • The Twelve Tribes
  • The Twelve Disciples
  • The Twelve Patriarchs (from Seth to Noah, and twelve from Shem to Jacob)
We see the number twelve in governing time as well. Twelve hours the sun "governs" or rules the day, Twelve hours the moon and star "governs" the night. Also, there are currently twelve governing signs of the Zodiac which completed forms the great circle of the heavens.
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Three is a Divine/Heavenly Number and Four is the Earthly number.. and 3x4 equals Twelve.
In Western numerology when you look at the number 12 .. you see the numbers 1 and 2, which together they form a balanced pair. The number One is Yang...  masculine and is self-sufficient. The number Two is feminine and represents union, symmetry and balance.. .. it is yin.
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It is also interesting to note that the number twelve can be divided into halves, thirds, fourths, sixths, and twelfths. It is the number for  measurements such as: 12 inches in a foot, 12 ounces in a troy pound (measures gold), 12 in a dozen, 12 hours on a clock. Also, twelve is considered the number of completeness and represents the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.
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In 10 more days it will be December 21, 2012 or 12.21.12. Another important date. The Mayan calendar supposedly ends. It is also the winter solstice. It is the shortest day of the year (meaning the day with the least amount of light.) That day marks the beginning of the return of the sun/son when sunlight increases each day until the Summer Solstice.
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 While many have many beliefs about December 21, that the world will "end"... it is not the end.. but instead a beginning. We enter into a new Age. It is the Age of the Aquarius. This Zodiac sign has been known as the "water bearer".. But it is not just the water bearer, but actually the sign of fire as well.

Monday, December 10, 2012

127: HEALTHY GRASS VS. CRABGRASS


I woke up this morning with a word on my mind. The word was crabgrass. Yes, an odd word since all of our grass is now covered with snow... but I think I was being taught something.  

Crabgrass is a great metaphor. Crabgrass is an obnoxious weed. It is hard to get rid of once it starts growing in your lawn. It spreads and grows quickly. Crabgrass loves thin turf. It grows well in lawns that are watered lightly, underfertilized, and/or poorly drained. It is very difficult for crabgrass to grown in healthy lawns. In order to get rid of crabgrass, you must kill it, and then replant new sod.

What most people do if they have crabgrass in their lawn, they usually ignore it. Instead of treating it, they just continue to mow it and keep the lawn short.  From a distance, the lawn looks healthy and green.  However, it is only when you get close enough, one can see it really isn't grass, but weeds.

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Sidenote:   I like this quote from an article I read this morning. I think it speaks to the metaphor of crabgrass growing all around us... especially in "thin spiritual turf".

"Religious organizations instinctively develop teachings, practices, and cultures that tend to keep its members at early stages of spiritual development dependent on the organization. These stages are characterized by obedience, conformity, loyalty, a narrow view of morality, and external religious conduct. Though helpful at first, a focus on these qualities can become limiting and restrictive once an individual’s full spiritual potential begins to unfold. In theory, the purpose of a church organization is to guide one into an actual knowledge of God, which leads to spiritual rebirth and entrance into the Kingdom; however, in practice, churches ultimately hinder this transformative awakening and knowledge so that the organization can maintain its primacy. The human consequence of this organizational tendency is boredom and frustration since children of God with infinite, divine potential—who are ready to mature into the wonderfully mysterious and exciting stages of divine relationship and knowledge—are continually retained at the first grade of gospel teaching, while their souls ache for graduate instruction in the mind and heart of Christ."
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from article "Hindering the Saints: Taking away the key of Knowledge" by Philip McLemore
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

126: QUIRK OF HUMAN NATURE

I like these two quotes:

"It is a quirk of human nature that most people don't want to learn anything new
and react negatively to anyone who challenges their deeply held views."
 (even when they're obviously false)." 
Porter Stansberry
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"It takes a concentrated desire to find the truth"
Harold Klemp
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Sidenote about comments on this blog:

I am happy to provide a place for people to share their views. When we are anonymous, we seem to be more bold with less inhibition. Some write what we normally would not say in person.

I don't always agree with some of the comments that are written... but I think we can all learn (and hopefully discern from them.)
Some advice I received awhile ago when I began to be awaken to my aweful situation was if you see or partake of the bitter, do not become bitter yourself. Bitterness creeps in without notice, and if I am not careful, it can destroy me.  

I have made changes to the comment section of the blog. If you care to read the comments, a popup window will come up. I felt this was necessary to keep the blog and the comments to be separate.

If you want to post a comment, use good judgement. Hopefully it will add and not distract from the post. 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

125: FOR GREAT ARE THE WORDS

 “Behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things.
Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently;
for great are the words of Isaiah.
For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people
 which are of the house of Israel;
therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles.
And all things that he spake have been and shall be,
even according to the words which he spake”
(3 Nephi 23:1–3).

This is the Lord speaking. He is recommending a book for us to read. Anytime Oprah recommends a book, or Glenn Beck for that matter, the book becomes an instant NY Times Bestseller. Funny how when the Lord not only recommends, but gives us a commandment to search these words.. we still don't read it. I am not immune.. I need to be more diligent.

A friend of mine sent me a link today of an essay written by Hugh Nibley. Here are a few key paragraphs that I liked.

 "The book of Isaiah is a tract for our own times; our very aversion to it testifies to its relevance. It is necessary to remind us of its importance, however, because Isaiah’s message has not been popular, and he tells us why. The wicked do not like to be told about their faults. Every society, no matter how corrupt, has some good things about it—otherwise it would not survive from year to year. Isn’t it much pleasanter to talk about the good things than the bad things? The people of Zarahemla, said Samuel the Lamanite, wanted prophets that would tell them what was right with Zarahemla, not what was wrong. There is a great danger in that: the many things that are right with any society can hardly damage it, but one serious flaw can destroy it. One goes to the physician not to be told what parts are functioning well but what is making him ill or threatening him with the worst."

"For the rest of the time I want to talk about those human qualities Isaiah describes as pleasing to God and those qualities He despises. They both come as a surprise. As to the second, the traits and the behavior Isaiah denounces as the worst of vices are without exception those of successful people. The wickedness and folly of Israel do not consist of indolence, sloppy dressing, long hair, nonconformity (even the reading of books), radical and liberal unrealistic ideas and programs, irreverence toward custom and property, contempt for established idols, and so on. The wickedest people in the Book of Mormon are the Zoramites, a proud, independent, courageous, industrious, enterprising, patriotic, prosperous people who attended strictly to their weekly religious duties with the proper observance of dress standards. Thanking God for all He had given them, they bore testimony to His goodness. They were sustained in all their doings by a perfectly beautiful self-image. Well, what is wrong with any of that? There is just one thing that spoils it all, and that is the very thing that puts Israel in bad with the Lord, according to Isaiah. The Jews observed with strictest regularity all the rules that Moses gave them—”and yet . . . they cry unto thee” and yet they are really thinking of something else. “Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, . . . all their precious things . . . their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish” (Alma 31:27–28; emphasis added).

 “Great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1). We have been commanded to search them, study them, ponder them, take them to heart, and understand that the calamities and the blessings therein are meant for our own generation. May the words of this great prophet prepare us for these calamities and blessings is my prayer."

full text

Monday, December 3, 2012

124: UNDER CONDEMNATION


When a building is condemned, it is because the property fails to meet the established standards or criteria. Usually a warning notice is posted to warn the public that the building is considered unsafe to live in. Once a building is condemned, the owner must prove that problems have been fixed before anyone can live in or use the building.  To condemn means to judge or pronounce something to be unfit for use or service. It comes from the Latin word “condemnare” which means to sentence, or pronounce judgment upon.

Speaking to the early church, the Lord has declared in D&C 84, “because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation and this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.”

The Lord continues to warn, “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon.”

In his conference address, President Benson reminded us of our condemnation that the church is still under. He said, “Let us not remain under condemnation, with its scourge and judgment, by treating lightly this great and marvelous gift the Lord has given to us.”

A few years ago, Elder Dallin H Oaks gave a talk entitled, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” and repeated the Lord's statement that the Saints' conduct had "brought the whole church under condemnation."

In April 2009 conference, President Monson said “I am pleased to report that the Church is doing very well.”  So have we fixed the problem? Have we finally removed the condemnation that the church has been under for long? Is all well?  
Nephi prophesied that in the last days that we will be led into carnal security and say that All is well in Zion. But Nephi warned, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion and crieth all is well.


Addendum:

Just in case we haven’t lifted this condemnation individually, What are we to do? President Benson in his conference address, “Cleansing the Inner Vessel” declared how to lift the condemnation. “To do so,” he said, “we must first cleanse the inner vessel by awaking and arising, being morally clean, using the Book of Mormon in a manner so that God will lift the condemnation, and finally conquering pride by humbling ourselves.”

President Joseph F. Smith said " There are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within, and the authorities need to awaken to the fact that the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see these, they are flattery of prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and sexual impurity." Joseph Fielding Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p.312-313

We should continue forward until the Lord pronounces us clean. The Book of Mormon contains the process we all need to go through. The Prophet Joseph Smith identified the process as well. Being Born Again, Having one’s Calling and Election made sure, Receiving the ministry of angels, and receiving the Second Comforter.