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Some People Have All The Luck

TheDiscipleMD
I have a policyholder who has been coming into my office for over twenty-five years. He is a nice guy who has a habit of talking down life. Every time I see him I ask him how things are going. The other day he replied, “Pretty good but I’m trying to get over it”. A number of years ago he came into my office complaining about how lousy life was treating him. I told him, “Well, it could be worse, I had a couple of policyholders that died this past week.” His response, “Some people have all the luck!” While my friend has a comically cynical attitude about life, do some people really have all the luck?

Luck is an interesting word because although it has a textbook meaning (success that seems to happen by chance),  it is the word “success”, which helps define luck,  that seems to hold various meanings for different people. Many years ago Spencer W. Kimball spoke to the women of the church. His remarks were entitled “Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters”, but his remarks can be equally applied to men. In that public discourse he said these words-
“May you realize that in you is the control of your life and what you are going to be, what you are going to do. Remember that your choices may control to some extent others whose lives will be a part of your life. Remember also that if you succeed, it isn’t because of luck. Success comes from faith and work and prayer and from constant righteous effort. It is a question of agency—of what you choose to do with gifts of God—everything upon the earth, wherein there is life. This reverence for agency and life make us greatly concerned about the world in which we live today. It is a world beset with evil, with frustrations, with ugliness. It makes us realize that we must make a strong stand for the right or we may not stand at all. The Lord has never promised us that we will be free of problems and challenges. He has, however, promised that with faith we will have the strength to meet any eventuality in this life.”
“Remember”, he said, “that if you succeed, it isn’t because of luck”. Then President Kimball explained his definition of “success.” He said, “Success comes from faith and work and prayer and from constant righteous effort. It is a question of agency-of what you choose to do with gifts of God.”

Luck, you see is really a word some use to explain the world’s definition of success. But luck has nothing to do with how we choose to use our agency and our God given gifts. We are in total control of those things. Luck is a word never mentioned in the scriptures for a reason. Because it is not a celestial concept and also because the attributes of faith, hard work, prayer and constant righteous efforts are gained through long suffering and obedience to the commandments of the Lord. They don’t fall in our lap by chance.
My policyholder’s exclaim of “Some people have all the luck” is a common refrain for this life. But there is no room in heaven for it!

Bible New Testament St. John

Because The Son Rose!

TheDiscipleMD

She was holding his hand by his bedside when the rays of warmth from the sun hit the bed and she could see him smile, as he whispered his last words of, “It feels good.” She saw his chest expand then slowly exhale till the last of his breath was out of his body. He looked so peaceful lying there. She slowly patted his hand and let it go for the last time. She walked over to the window and watched as the sun rose so magnificently above the horizon. It’s warm beams mocking the now lifeless body of her husband.

She sat down in the corner chair and felt her exhausted body melt into its hard exterior. There he was, the man who she had spent a lifetime with. The man who had been the father of her children, the loving husband, who had loved her and protected her. He was a good man who was no more. She spied the large family Bible on the bed stand that she and her man had read each night. She walked across the room and picked it up. She ran her hand over the worn leather exterior with its raised letters.

She slowly opened it’s pages where it fell upon the words of John.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Her tears fell freely upon the page till her crying became sobs as she embraced the holy open book to her breasts. Perhaps if she held it tight enough, the promissory notes found therein would not escape.

The sun had set on the life of her husband, but the spirit whispered to her soul that on the wings of the Savior his soul had risen far above the horizon to a new dawn where they would once again love. She had that hope, that faith, that belief!

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My Mother Taught Us!

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Several years ago I was waiting just outside the chapel doors where many people were passing to and fro. A young man approached and greeted me. We shook hands and then he had this to say:

“Your brother is a member of our ward and spoke this past Sunday. I have heard you speak and also your brother who is a member of a neighboring Stake, and I noted that in listening to all of you that you all spoke highly of each other. All of you had nothing but kind and generous words toward each other. I wanted to know if this was taught to you or it is just coincidence?”

I replied “Well, it is not coincidence. My mother taught us to always speak kindly of one another and to look for the best in our siblings.  Each of us, of course has faults, but our mother taught us that the world would be hard enough on us, and that as brothers and sisters we should be supporting and uplifting to one another. Consequently, I think my brothers and sisters have been closer and enjoy one another’s company because there is little criticism of one another. In fact, my brother, who is only a couple of years older than me, and I, spent our entire childhood growing up and I can’t remember ever having words.  It was just not in our nature to look for the bad in each other.”

He gave me a big smile and thanked me for talking with him. As I walked away I thought how unique it was that a young man would have picked up on such a point. The world can be a cruel place and wouldn’t it be a wonderful feeling to know you have your brothers and sisters “on your side.” We need to learn to look for the strengths in each individual family member and celebrate their successes while also giving support in their time of need.

It is such a wonderful feeling to know that your siblings really rejoice when something good happens in your life.  Success in life by our family members should be embraced and promoted.  It adds to the enrichment of our lives and we truly become one when we see their success as ours and ours theirs.  Let us be forgiving and encouraging in all our words and actions. I always felt as the sons of Helaman when they declared, “I did not doubt that my Mother knew it”. (Alma 56:48)  I’m grateful to my mother because she saw the big picture and taught us that criticism of family members is not the way of the Lord.

locusts

Are Years Of Our Lives Being Devoured By The Locusts?

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“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…” (Joel 2:25)

The book of Joel centers on a prophecy that Joel made after the land of Judah was smitten with a severe drought and with locusts because of their unrighteousness. Joel assured the people that through repentance they would again receive the blessings of God (Joel 2:12–14).

The question that all of us must ask is, “Are years of our lives being devoured by the locusts?” Many years ago Spencer W. Kimball gave an outstanding talk using this metaphor. In his discourse he taught:

“…as I remembered the “years that the locust hath eaten,” I reflected on the lost weekends and wasted years of many people…The world is full of opportunities missed. Many of the impressive talks of this conference have told of people who failed to accept the gospel when presented; of dropouts from high school, college, and employment; of waste through drugs and immoralities; of failures to accept Church and community service; of bypassing a proselytizing mission of…abortion, and other means of damaging or destroying the family and home life so strongly urged as vital to our continued civilization. All this reminds us that though we must be in the world, we need not be of the world. (John 17:11, 14-16) (“The Years That the Locust Hath Eaten”, GC, Oct., 1970)

The joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that if we grasp the opportunities that lie ahead and move forward with faith, we can not only stop the ‘locust’ from eating away at or lives, but we can have the Lord restore us so that we can become whole. There is no question that missed opportunities may never come our way again, but the Lord has promised that if we repent and turn unto him, our garments can become clean from the sins of the world. As Paul so eloquently testified before King Agrippa regarding his personal vision from Christ:

“I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness…To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light and…that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18)

 

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