Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Peace and Hope of Christ

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. - John 14:27
Righteousness brings with it a promise of blessings such as joy, peace, and hope. These are mostly comfort blessings; they help life feel good and make us expect that life will continue to be good. But that train of thought is flawed. The peace which Christ offers us is not that everything will be okay in this life but that everything will perfect in the next life.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. - 1 Corinthians 15:19 
Our hope in Christ is for eternal life, for becoming a joint-heir with Christ, and for a glorious resurrection.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I love serving in the Elders Quorum

It is easy to look at the Elders Quorum as a bowl of leftovers.
Likely there are insufficient active members to cover home teaching assignments. Adult male converts often move away or can’t be located. Prospective elders often outnumber the active elders. Faithful elders often travel or move for employment or educational reasons. Some are called as high priests or receive major assignments outside the quorum. - Elder Dale E Miller
I love working in the Elders Quorum. Many of the men there have enormous potential that is waiting to be unlocked, men who "are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it" (D&C 123:12). They want to be good but think it's hard or don't understand what to do next. These men just need someone to love them and show them the way.

Visit them. Teach them. Talk to them. Love them. Many of them will respond.

I have seen it happen. The men are usually quiet in church, if they are there. They have testimonies but the flames are small. I have seen them go to the temple; I have seen them turn into bishopric counselors; I have seen them become faithful home teachers; I have seen them become better fathers.
And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also. - D&C 84:106

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dedication to God

I've attended two baptismal ceremonies recently. I didn't speak at either of them, but if I had been asked to speak I would've shared two scriptures I have read recently.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. - Colossians 3:1-2
You have decided to follow Christ and are showing your intentions through the covenant of baptism. Baptism is symbolic of the death of your old life and the birth of a new life; you are going to be raised by Christ. You ought to keep your sights on heaven. Remember the promises of salvation and being raised again with Christ in the last day. Don't let your sights be pulled down to the things of the earth.
That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. - 1 Thessalonians 2:12
You will be given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It is an astounding privilege to have the Spirit of God as your constant companion. It will fill your life with light, hope, peace, and knowledge, and guide you back home to Heavenly Father. Be worthy of it's companionship -- always. You will do your self a terrible disservice if you ever put yourself in a situation that offends the Spirit. Walk worthy of God and He will bring you home.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Guidance In My Profession

Yesterday I needed to brainstorm and design some significant changes to a project I work on. It included some technical challenges which I had intentionally avoided in the past. I was having trouble focusing in my office at home so I went outside and sat in a field near a pond. Inspiration came, a design was found, and the technical challenges were overcome. I closed my eyes to pray and presented the plan which He helped me form. The response came, "That's good but I need you to set it aside for now. You need to work on this other thing first." It is gratifying to have His guidance even in my professional pursuits.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Spreading Lightness in the World

Do all things without murmurings and disputings - Phillipians 2:14
There are times in my life when my motto could have been "Do all things with murmurings and disputings." Complaining is easy and sometimes even enjoyable. And yet most of us don't like to be around people who constantly complain.

In Julian Treasure's 2013 Ted talk titled How to speak so that people want to listen, he shares seven deadly sins of speaking, one of which is negativity.
Complaining is viral misery. It's not spreading sunshine and lightness in the world.
He continues to explain "four really powerful cornerstones, foundations, that we can stand on if we want our speech to be powerful and to make change in the world:" honesty, authenticity, integrity, and love.

That reminds me of Paul's explanation about why we shouldn't complain.
That ye may be... in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world - Phillipians 2:15
Think about the people whose company and conversation you enjoy the most. Chances are they spread lightness with their positive and complimentary manner. I have a goal to be more like that some day.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Fear of Death

In high school I had conversation with friends about death. I admitted that I feared death. Not only did I fear the pain that is often associated with death, but I also feared the unknown. Even though I was religious and knew well what we believed about heaven and the afterlife, there was still a lot we admitted to not knowing. Some were inconsequential, such as "What will I look like?" while others were more serious, such as "Could I tolerate living forever?"

10 years have gone by since then. I no longer fear death. I have learned a lot more about what life will be like after death, and my assurance in its reality has dramatically increased.
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. - Phillipians 1:23
I can relate to Paul. There is something inside of me that looks forward to being liberated from the burdens of mortality.
Whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world. - Ether 12:4
There is a better world, and I look forward to living there.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's Not About Me, It's About Them

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. - Ephesians 6:4
I am intensely intrigued by this instruction. Notice what it doesn't say. It doesn't tell fathers to control their anger and to honor God. Instead, this scripture focuses on the children. "Don't make them angry. Teach them to honor and obey God." It's not about me, it's about them.

We can see this contrast in different approaches to discipline. An easy rut to fall in is disciplining for the sake of discipline, justice, and sustaining the rules. "You broke the rule, now you must suffer." While disciplining, have you ever thought, "This might be unfair and unreasonable, but rules are rules?" It happened to me today.

Your behavior will be different if you approach discipline from the perspective of the child. "He just hit the kitten with a stick.... again. How can I teach him to be nice to animals?" "I want him to stop playing in his milk, but he doesn't seem to understand why it's a bad thing. Is it a bad thing?" I don't ask myself those questions often enough. I would be a better parent if I did.