abinadi

Even For Good Men Life Is Full Of Disappointments!

TgheDiscipleMD

Even for good men life is full of disappointments! The same can be said of good women. I have heard throughout my life as a business man, that sooner or later by obeying the “golden rule”  I would prosper. I have also often heard that “what goes around, comes around.” While I believe that these statements are true in the eternal perspective, I have often seen competitors “take advantage of his neighbor” and prosper, sometimes at the expense of a good person. History is full of corrupt individuals that prosper in this life by gaining earthly treasures.  Sometimes doing the right thing is learning that in so doing you will lose some of “this” life’s reward for more eternal rewards. When the prophet Abinidi was burned at the stake by King Noah I am sure he understood that this life, with its earthly rewards, would perish as easily as his body made of clay.

However frustrating this may be we must not be short sighted and make the mistake that Esau made.

” And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright…And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25).

The shortsightedness of Esau earned him a meal of bread and pottage of lentiles, but cost him his “birthright” with all it’s privileges and blessings.

So there will be times when we will be offered a “pottage of lentiles” in exchange for our celestial birthright. However, I have found that obedience to the gospel principles will help us have the strength to maintain our birthright and not sell it cheaply to the wiles of man.

A few years ago my brother and I were discussing how much we loved new cars.  I said “the only problem with a new car is that after awhile it isn’t new anymore!” We both looked at each other and laughed. What appeared to be such a simple and obvious statement is more profound then it appears.  The things of this world come and go,  but rewards from faithful living from our father, last for an eternity.

 

 

 




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Jericho Roads

TheDiscipleMD

We all know the story:

“And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds…and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” (Luke 10:30-34)

Martin Luther King Jr. once said:

“On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial.”

Dr. King’s vision was grand and on a national scale. And while perhaps none of us have the ability to transform the nation and its social structure, all of us have within us the power to influence and bring about change on the Jericho Roads in  the neighborhoods and communities wherein we live.  We can help accomplish this by choosing to treat others as we would like to be treated.  Christ’s charge to love our neighbor as ourselves is a simple yet profound way of changing Jericho Roads where we reside. When is the last time we went out of our way to help someone in need without expectation of reward?

In the late 70’s I found myself stranded on a Jericho Road in a major downtown city.  My car had run out of gas on the way to work.  I had to abandon my car till I could procure some petro. By the time I could get back to my car it was several hours later.  The co-worker who brought me back to my car drove off and  left me standing next to it as I poured gasoline into the bone dry gas tank.  I jumped into the car and turned the key.  To my surprise the car didn’t make a sound. Not even a click.  “What?” I thought. I knew the car was out of gas so I couldn’t figure out why the car wouldn’t even turn over.  I got out of the car and  popped the hood.  Much to my surprise I found that someone had stolen the battery out of the car while it had been sitting on the side of the highway.  I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there staring at the empty spot that once housed my battery.  I can’t properly communicate in words my frustration level.

Just then a car pulled over beside my car. I put my hands up to block out the sun and spied  a Chey Van that was typical of the 70’s. It was beat up and painted in psychedelic colors.  The door opened and out stepped a  thirty something guy who could best be described as ‘Huggy Bear’, a character out of a police drama of the day called ‘Starksky and Hutch.’ He was wearing a fur hat and a big smile and looked every bit the part of a man who dealt in the peddling of the flesh.  As he walked towards me I wasn’t sure if I should run or embrace him.  He stuck out his hand and asked me what was the problem.  When I explained that my battery had been stolen he smiled and said, “This is a bad place to have your car break down. Let me see what I can do.” He walked over to his van, opened the sliding door and started rummaging inside.  I walked over to the van and looked inside.  The inside of the van was shag carpeted from the top to the bottom in a lime green color that shouted out to be noticed.  He pulled out some jumper cables and walked over to my car.  He then asked me how far I needed to go before I could get some help. “Only a few miles” I told him. “Great”, he replied. Then he did something that I had never seen.  He backed the front of his van up to my car and hooked his battery up by cables to my alternator. Then, smiling, he said, “You will be able to go a few miles running off the alternator.” He told me to get into the car and start her up, which I did.

I thanked him and watched as he pulled away.  He waved and I instinctively waved back. He wasn’t of my color, he wasn’t of my social class and he probably wouldnt’ have been someone who would have been part of my social circle . Yet,  as I got back in my car, I couldn’t help but think how sad it was that I had made a quick and unflattering assessment of my “Good Samaritan.” By his actions that day, he helped me see that, all of us, no matter what station in life we hold, can change Jericho Roads in the places wherein we live.  So all these years later I remember Mr. Huggy Bear, and I echo the words of the Savior when he proclaimed,   “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

 

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The Crucible Of Marriage

TheDiscipleMD

I once listened to a popular talk show host, known for his biting and satirical humor, speak on the subject of marriage. He is known to be a ‘serial’ bachelor, meaning, he is constantly moving in and out of relationships but never committing to ‘marriage.’ He said, words to this effect:

“They are always saying you have to ‘work’ at a marriage. Well, if it is so good and desirable, why does everyone call it work.”

His trademark smirk then appeared on his face as he looked around. The audience roared their approval as he continued to berate the institution of marriage.

Well, I was offended by his remarks because, coming from a single man, who was he to belittle the union of a couple and the benefits that come forth. Marriage is a crucible! Meaning, as Webster defined it:

“testing circumstances: a place or set of circumstances where people or things are subjected to forces that test them and often make them change.”

Marriage, like many other good things in this life, does require effort and work, if you want to classify it as such. But haven’t we always been taught, and isn’t it logical that the concept of work makes people better humans?

I have now been married for over 38 years and marriage has made me a much better man because of it. Life itself teaches you lessons that should make you a better person but marriage is a unique union that requires the ‘all’ out of an individual.  It requires one to put someone else in front of their own needs and teaches one every Godly attribute found in Holy writ.

More than anything else though, there is something beautiful and joyful about loving someone else. When you travel though life together as a couple, passing as it were through the crucible, you do change. The force of life and marriage develop in you Godly characteristics. Most importantly,  you develop a God like love for your spouse that begins to consume your very soul.

The past few years I have been traveling for business. The other day I was out of town and in my office when through the vents, from another suite,  came the voice of Christina Perri singing, “A Thousand Years.” I stopped what I was doing and leaned back in my chair and listened.

“I have died everyday, waiting for you. Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years. I’ll love you for a thousand more. And all along I believed, I would find you. Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years. I’ll love you for a thousand more.”

As a young married man I’m sure that song would have gone right over my head. But, that day as I listened,  tears welled up in my eyes because I missed her, my wife,  and it felt as if I had really loved her for a thousand years! And I wanted it to be for another thousand years. In fact I wanted to love her forever!

I loved her the day we walked out the doors of the temple hand in hand as husband and wife. But not like I love her today. Not after all these years together. Not after raising five children together. Not after all we have been through…together.

Yes, it has been work sometimes, my marriage. But the reward has been great. The undying love I feel in my heart is not something that comes easy to a man. But it is now embedded deep in my heart. And it will never leave me, this love for my wife. And it is satisfying to the soul. It is ennobling.

The crucible of marriage has produced the greatest gift of all. I began our marriage with the simple love that a man has for a woman. But what happened through the years,  is that love changed. Over time the love of my wife has become the closest thing I can come to understanding the love of God. And by so developing, this love has made me happy. Christ taught about this perfect love.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15: 11-13)

A proper marriage produces that kind of love. It’s not only worth the work, it’s to die for.

 

moses

The ‘Miracle’ of Being Led By The Spirit of God!

 

TheDiscipleMD

We all know the story of the parting of the Red Sea by Moses allowing the children of Israel to escape the Egyptians. We know, as told in Exodus, that the Lord orchestrated this with Moses as His mouthpiece. We also know that “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) Just how does the Lord communicate His will to the prophets? Well, more often than not He reveals His will through the Holy Spirit or Ghost. I am convinced that the Lord seldom speaks directly, that is “face to face” with man. Rather, as the scriptures have testified, He communicates through the Spirit. In Exodus is recorded the interaction of Moses with the Lord.

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel…” (Exodus 14:1-2)

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (Exodus 14:15-16)

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen” (Exodus 14:26)

The question is- Was the Lord standing next to Moses telling Him “face to face” what to do on these occasions? Was He? I guess it could have been done that way. But I think the Lord communicates with His prophets more times than not, just like He communicates with us, through inspired thoughts. The difference is that they, the leaders, have the keys and authority to act in His name for a broader base of people. The actual visitation of the Lord to man is not recorded very often in the history of this world. When Oliver Cowdery wanted to translate, the Lord used the example of Moses to describe how He communicates.

“Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. (D&C 8:2-3)

Why is it important to understand that the Lord communicates with His children, even His prophets, most often through the Holy Ghost? Well, occasionally I hear members who say, “We don’t seem to have any miraculous communications from the Lord like we did in the old days of the church,” implying that this lack of “miracles” is an implication that the leaders are not inspired. I’m not quite sure what they want!  The Old testament is a recording, albeit incomplete, of the Lord’s dealings with His children for four thousand years. Still, almost another two thousand years went by with unrecorded events regarding divine communication. That’s about six thousand years of religious history! The Lord does communicate in miraculous ways from time to time, but most often He does so through the Holy Ghost which He does with even the most common of man.

What a wonderful blessing it is to know that the Lord cares the same for each of His children, regardless of position or office that they hold in His church. I am grateful to know that I can receive divine direction for my life, and for that of my family. The same divine direction that apostles and prophets receive to lead and guide the work of the Lord. I am sure that the Lord appears from time to time. But I’m more impressed to know that the church is not built solely on a few miraculous appearances. Instead its foundation is built upon the rock of “inspiration and revelation,” (Matthew: 16:18) the same kind of inspiration that you and I are privy to on a daily basis. What a wonderful blessing to have in our lives!

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