Friday, November 21, 2014

How I Met My Wife

At the Vatican Summit on Marriage, President Henry B Eyring shared the story of how he met his wife.
As the meeting ended, I saw in the crowd a young woman. I had never seen her before, but the feeling came over me that she was the best person I had ever seen. That evening she walked into our church meeting in Cambridge. Another thought came to my mind with great power: “If I could only be with her, I could become every good thing I ever wanted to be.” I said to the man sitting next to me, “Do you see that girl? I would give anything to marry her.” We were married a year after I first saw her. - President Henry B Eyring
That sounds a lot like the story of how I met my wife.

Shortly after returning to BYU from my mission in Chile, I looked out my kitchen window and saw a young lady across the way in her living. I did not know who she was. I could not see her face because her back was towards me while she talked to her roommates. But I felt a light radiating from her and something inside of me leaped for joy. I knew she was the type of woman that I wanted to be with for eternity. We too were married one year later.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Love Not the World

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. - 1 John 2:15
Does that seem repetitive? When I thought about why the qualifying statement was needed, I realized that sometimes we draw a circle around certain behaviors and lifestyles and say, "That's the world. As long as I'm not all that, I'm not the world." Then we cherry-pick one thing from the circle and justify it by saying to ourselves, "It's not the world. The world is all that." John lists three worldly favorites for being cherry-picked:
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. - 1 John 2:16
I like the phrase "pride of life." Other translations show that it means ostentation. I've lived in places where it seemed that everyone's primary concern was obtaining and spending more money. They were rich with large houses, fine clothes, and many cars. Yet somehow they never seemed to have enough; they were consumed by the pride of life.

I'm in a position where I could be wealthy if I wanted to be. It's very appealing and something I think about frequently. The dream of a large house with money leftover to splurge on my family is appealing in many ways. I'm grateful for learning that there is no value in riches for the sake of riches; it often causes more problems than it solves.

Someday, those that are consumed by the pride of life will lose everything they have dedicate their life to and stand before God with very little to show.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. - 1 John 2:17

Friday, November 14, 2014

The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not

The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. - 1 John 3:1
That short phrase fascinates me. I've been thinking about it for two days. Lets flip it around to say something similar which ought to be true of Christ's disciples. 
Therefore the world knoweth him, because it knew us. 
Many people have had that type of influence on me, such as my wife.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Purify Yourself as He is Pure

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. - 1 John 3:2-3
Those that look forward to the coming of Christ, and hope to be like him, have motivation and seek to be pure as Christ is pure. Just last week I was talking to someone who is returning to church after a long absence. They talked about how they knew that Christ atoned for their sins and how terrible they would feel if they threw that gift away. This person has the desire to be pure as Christ is pure.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Love not the World

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. - 1 John 2:15-17
I have a lot of pride that causes me to get caught up in desiring glory, fame, and riches. Part of me wants to be well-known, well liked, and rich enough to live a luxurious life. I secretly desire for the projects at work to take off and make me rich and famous.

But as I grow older (I have some gray hair already) I recognize how worthless riches and fame are compared to the love and approval of God. In that day when we are called back home to account of our lives to God, of what worth will money and fame be? If those are our pursuits in life then we will have nothing to show our God. But if we do the will of God we will become like him and prove ourselves worthy of our heavenly inheritance and glory.

Isn't that ironic? By pursuing riches and glory on earth we will lose the riches and glory waiting for us in heaven. It is only by setting aside our own desires that we may earn our heavenly inheritance.
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. - 1 John 2:28

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings

The more I try to put my life in accordance with God's will, the more I realize how much he is asking of us. I used to think that we just needed to obey the commandments and ask God about important decisions. But I'm learning that it's not that simple.

It is good set and pursue righteous goals, yet James warns us that planning without leaving room for God's will is arrogant and sinful.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. - James 4:13-17 (ESV)
It's easy to see how this applies to big decisions such as pursuing a profession, choosing a spouse, and deciding where to live: make sure God approves of your decision. And in my opinion, that's easy. But Alma takes it a step further.
Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day. - Alma 37:37
Alma teaches us that we need to ask God about everything we do. Obviously it can get carried away. A common example I hear in church is that God doesn't are about which socks we wear. But what if one day it did matter. Would we be willing and prepared to listen?

I am reminded of a trip  from Spanish Fork, UT to Rexburg, ID. After loading everything into our car, I returned to the house one last time. I was either retrieving an item I had forgotten or making sure that all doors and windows were locked. While in the basement I had a strong feeling that I needed to bring a rope and tarp that I saw on the floor. I deliberated for a short them then concluded, "I don't need it for shelter. We're not camping. If the car breaks down then we still have the car. I see no reason to bring it."

Somewhere near the Utah-Idaho border we saw dark storm clouds ahead. It was obvious that we were soon going to drive through significant downpours. I saw a pickup truck stopped on the side of the road. The passengers were out trying to secure the load. I immediately knew that the rope and tarp was for them, not me.

When I pray in the morning I try to review and counsel with the Lord. After preparing and studying and before working I often pray to make sure I'm still on track. Sometimes everything is okay. But sometimes He wants changes. A couple of weeks ago He asked me to write a letter to someone before working. This morning I knew that I needed to plan on speaking with someone today. I don't know why I need to speak with them, nor why it needs to be today, but I've learned not to question. Counseling with the Lord consistently leads to seemingly insignificant changes to my plans, and I'm always glad I listened.

I am learning that the Lord is willing to play a very active role in our life. If we counsel with Him in all our doings then he really will direct our paths.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Degrading Conversation

Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath - James 1:19
If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. - James 3:2
It is difficult to endure the company of someone who habitually complains and degrades. But when someone is respectful, uplifting, and disciplined, we look forward to everything they say.