the disciple 072

Lessons From My Granddaughter


A few years ago I wrote these thoughts:
“It has been so many years since I have watched, up close, the life of a small child.  I have forgotten the lessons I should have learned from them when I raised my own.  Since becoming a grandfather I have had the pleasure of watching my granddaughter, now 16 months old, both at church and at home.  I never knew life was filled with so much adventure!  I’ve watched her in the halls of church, in my house and at a few stores. At each location, she is excited and learning something new.  Everything goes to the mouth for inspection of taste. Everything is touched or felt! The simplest of things she studies and evaluates. I never knew empty church hallways could be so exciting!  She feels the course texture of the wall, the smoothness of the wood doors and the coolness of the outdoor glass.  It is clear she is enjoying new experiences and sensations felt by her senses.  Sometimes I feel jealous of her.  Everything is new, exciting and a learning experience. When is the last time I felt like my little granddaughter?  Somehow, with age, the excitement of life seems to have worn off.  I wonder why it has to be that way.  I guess the answer is, “It doesn’t!”  Perhaps there is more to the words of Christ when he said: “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, ‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven'” (Matt. 18:1-4)

Christ specifically mentioned the “humbleness” of little children. Perhaps other attributes of little children will also lead us to eternal life. I’m sure that Christ might also have meant that he wanted us to be as “inquisitive’ and “joyful” with the beauty of God’s creations as little children are. The world is filled with beauty and it can be found in the halls of the church or the halls of our homes.  I guess when you live inside of a “miracle” it becomes easy to take it for granted.  I must admit that I rarely take a step back and appreciate the simple things of life.  It has taken a little girl wandering the halls of my home and church to give me a greater understanding of its beauties.  As we age life does get more complicated and filled with many challenges but it needn’t rob us of what should be a childlike appreciation for the simple blessings of life.


What Of Our Body In The Eternities?


Upon resurrection our bodies, according to the scriptures, will rise from the dead with various degrees of glory, meaning the bodies will be different. In Corinthians, it says:

“There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star different from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead…”

Many of us have a hard time understanding how bodies can be different but the same. However, the physical bodies we now inhabit are a perfect example of this concept. Although we all have bodies, some are better than others. The young body has the capacity to procreate but loses that ability with age. Some bodies are healthy and can take a beating, while others cannot. In fact, every human body is the same, yet each is also unique. In this life this might be random but in the eternities the bodies we inhabit will be based upon our worthiness.

The type of body we inherit for the eternity predicates if we can dwell in the presence of our Heavenly Father. If we were to move closer to the Sun there would be a point where our physical bodies would burn up. We know that we cannot abide too close to the Sun as we are not physically capable of doing so. So it is with our resurrected bodies. We strive, in this life, to attain the highest degree of glory, which is life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They will not shut us out, but we, through disobedience, will inherit bodies not capable of abiding in their presence.

It is important to live such that, upon resurrection, we can be found worthy of “celestial” bodies that will be able to abide in the presence of our Lord. There we will find happiness and the ability to have eternal offspring and be together as a family unit.


Destination: ‘Anywhere’!


In the fall of 1974 I enrolled in college. The evening before the first day of class, the college held a freshman social in a canyon, which was located some 20 miles from the campus. I didn’t know anyone except Rusty, a friend of a few days. He had a car and offered to drive me to the social. I accepted and went with him. It was around dusk when we arrived and there were many students mingling about. After a short time we became bored and decided to go back to the college. As we hopped in our car, two girls came up and asked if we were going back to the campus. When we told them that we were, they asked for a ride, which we were happy to do. Since all of us were new to the college and the town, we got lost on the way back to the college. We drove around for some time and none of us could figure out where we were. Eventually we came out onto the freeway and started driving. We soon saw a road sign that indicated that we were headed in the wrong direction. We were headed for another college which was over 220 miles to the north. Rusty said, “Hey we should just drive to that college town. Do you know anyone there?”, he asked. I replied that I did and that I thought it would be fun. The girls, who we didn’t know at all, both giggled and said they had friends there and would love to go. So off we went. Nothing prepared, just on a whim. To this day, I have no clue as to why we went. We arrived in that town about midnight. We dropped the girls off at some house. I ended up sleeping on floor of a friend who lived in the college dorms. Rusty ended up sleeping on the side of a hill, roadside. Nothing accomplished except missing the first day of classes. I am sorry to say that I participated in this type of mindless activity throughout that semester. As you might gather, my grades were not of a “stellar” nature. This aimless attitude later came back to haunt me when I returned home from my mission a couple of years later and wanted to transfer from that college to another university and was denied.

The point is that when you have no direction in your life, you wander aimlessly and usually accomplish nothing of value. President Monson related this story:

“I remember a time when driving to my home years ago, I approached the entrance to Interstate 15. At the on-ramp I noticed three hitchhikers, each one of whom carried a homemade sign that announced his desired destination. One sign read “Los Angeles,” while a second carried the designation “Boise.” However, it was the third sign that not only caught my attention, but also caused me to reflect and ponder its message. The hitchhiker had lettered not Los Angeles, California, nor Boise, Idaho, on the cardboard sign he held aloft. Rather, his sign consisted of but one word and read simply “Anywhere.”

Here was one who was content to travel in any direction, according to the whim of the driver who stopped to give him a free ride. What an enormous price to pay for such a ride! No plan. No objective. No goal. The road to anywhere is the road to nowhere, and the road to nowhere leads to dreams sacrificed, opportunities squandered, and a life unfulfilled.

Unlike the youthful hitchhiker, you and I have the God-given gift to choose the direction we go. Indeed, the Apostle Paul likened life to a race with a clearly defined goal. To the Saints at Corinth he urged: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” (1 Cor. 9:24.) In our zeal, let us not overlook the sage counsel from Ecclesiastes: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” (Eccl. 9:11.) Actually, the prize belongs to him who endures to the end.” (Which Road Will You Travel?)

Ironically my experience was on Interstate 15, the same highway that President Monson saw the hitchhikers. I have found out that the counsel of President Monson is true. Opportunities will be squandered and our lives will go unfulfilled, unless we have a plan. What a great blessing it is to know of our eternal plan and to know of the “destiny” of our ride.


When Our Garden Turns Into Gethsemane


I learned a valuable lesson from a man who told me that a number of years ago a married brother of his had been on the verge of making a major mistake that would have a lasting negative impact on his family, as well as the extended family. With much consternation he told me that he called his father to voice his grave concerns. His father listened to his concerns and explained that he was well aware of the situation. With elevated voice he told his father over the phone, “Well, do something!” His father’s response of, “What would you like me to do, kick him out of the family?” taught him a great lesson. Of course he didn’t want his father to “kick” anybody out of the family.

This man’s impetuous statement was said out of anger with little thought as to the long-term welfare of his brother. His father, much wiser, was looking at the larger picture and was talking with and counseling his brother in a loving and kind manner. His father was following the wise words of Paul, who in writing the Colossians, wrote:

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” (3:21)

Discouraged from what? I think Paul was trying to say that when fathers close the door on communication with their children, the child becomes discouraged in having an open dialogue thereby eliminating the father’s influence in being able to turn the child from their erroneous ways.

The man finished his story by saying that his brother, with the loving support of his family, turned at the last-minute from his foolish ways adverting disaster for he and his family.

All of us need firm counsel from time to time. When this advise is given in love, the chance of it being accepted certainly improves. Kicking people out of families is not the Lord’s way. He gave families as support so that each member will be blessed at the time when their garden turns into Gethsemane.

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