rainbow

When Rainbows Disappear Into Dark Clouds

TheDiscipleMD

“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue”, so sang Judy Garland. I thought of that quote just the other day as my wife and I were driving around town and we spotted a giant rainbow in the sky. I noted later that some in my area even took pictures of its brilliance and posted it on Facebook. But I noted something else about that rainbow. It disappeared into dark clouds. Hence, my thoughts of Judy Garland’s famous song, “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” So what happens when our rainbows disappear into clouds making it impossible to see “blue skies”? How do we keep the vision of the “blue skies” promised on the other side of the rainbow in our hearts?

My wife and I have noted on a number of occasions, most often when we pull into a fast food place where large groups of teenagers hang out, how they seem to be laughing and smiling all the time. They seem to have no cares in the world, and most often they don’t. I recall once when I was a senior in high school one of my relatives said to me, “Enjoy life now, because it goes straight down hill from here.” I remember thinking, “Really! What a pessimist!” I couldn’t imagine anything but “blue skies” ahead for my life. Last year I met with an old high school friend. He seemed happy but had gone through a messy divorce, had a brush with cancer leaving him with some permanent symptoms, and lost both of his parents to age. As we sat and talked, my mind wandered back to our youth when he and I often double dated; he with my sister, and me with another girl. My sister suddenly lost her husband a few years ago at a relatively young age, while the girl I went out with has been stricken with a debilitating life long disease. I too have had my fair share of bumps and bruises along the way. The rainbow of our youth has seemed to have “disappeared into the clouds”. And frankly, if you don’t believe there are “blue skies” on the other side of the rainbow, it could be pretty depressing! But I believe in the promises of the Lord recorded in the scriptures. Referencing the rainbow, God said:

“This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you… for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud… and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature… And God said… This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh…” (Genesis 9:12-17)

Our Heavenly Father loves each one of us. He has set the “bow” in the sky as a reminder to us that he will not forget us, even if we forget Him. He has made an “everlasting” covenant with us that there are “blue skies” on the other side of the clouds. Life can be challenging and discouraging at times but only if our vision stops at the intersection of the bow and the cloud. Logically, we all know better, but sometimes our human emotions get the better of us. We fall prey to the adversary and allow thoughts of hopelessness and despair to enter our hearts and minds.

I like to remember another “Blue Skies” song. Written by Irving Berlin in 1926, it has been recorded and sung many times. I like the way Willie Nelson sings it. I guess because Willie can’t sing it any better than I can. “Skies are gray”, the song begins, but then the singer changes his outlook because, “good-luck came a knocking” and then “blue skies shining on me, nothing but blue skies” is all he sees.

Well, “good-luck came a knocking” for mankind through the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. By having faith in Him who is the keeper of covenants, we can be assured that “blue skies” are what await the followers of Him who created us. I believe that when rainbows disappear into clouds, they do come out on the other side into blue skies. I hold tight to the covenants that the Lord has made with his children. I have hope that all the promises will come to those who are the faithful followers of the Savior. A rainbow should remind us of that, each time it gracefully arches across the skies.

 

pills

When It Is Finished, It Bringeth Forth Death!

TheDiscipleMD

Recently a product is being advertised across our TV screens as helping one overcome an addiction. I am always amused by the long list of potential side effects you can experience when you use this product.  Almost the entire ad is telling you of the potential problems you could face upon taking this tablet.  Their ad states:

“For the Consumer

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking (our product):

Less common •Difficult or labored breathing•hyperventilation•shortness of breath•tightness in the chest•wheezing

Incidence not known •Anger•anxiety•behavior changes•depression•discouragement•feeling sad or empty•feelings of panic•hallucinations•irregular heartbeats•irritability•loss of interest or pleasure•mood swings•nervousness•restlessness•thoughts of killing oneself

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common •Abnormal dreams•bloated or full feeling•change in taste•difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)•dry mouth•excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines•general feeling of discomfort or illness•headache•lack or loss of strength•loss of taste•nausea•passing gas•sleeplessness•stomach pain•trouble sleeping•unable to sleep•unusual tiredness or weakness

Less common •Acid or sour stomach•belching•body aches or pain•chills•cough•decreased appetite•dizziness•ear congestion•fever•heartburn•increased appetite•indigestion•itching skin•loss of appetite•loss of voice•nightmares•rash•runny nose•sleepiness or unusual drowsiness•sneezing or sore throat•stomach discomfort or upset•stuffy nose•trouble concentrating•unusual drowsiness, dullness, or feeling of sluggishness•vomiting”

I am happy that the above company is honest in giving us the potential side effects in using their product, although I am inclined to believe that it is only out of obedience to the laws of the land.  Yet, after reading the potential ramifications of using it, one has to wonder if the positives outweight the negatives of using this product.  Often as I watch this commercial, I think the same could be said of participating in sinful practices.  Perhaps one enjoys a moment of pleasure or satisfaction, but the unlimited potential side effects of doing so are comparable to taking the above drug.

I am reminded of the words of James when he wrote: “…sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15) We all make mistakes and live sinful lives to a certain extent, but sinful practices,  which might bring some small earthly pleasures,  can have huge side effects that can cripple and hinder our spiritual growth and cause havoc in our lives. A side effect of sin is almost always unhappiness.

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” (Isaiah 1:18)

May we take the counsel as recorded by the prophet Isaiah by abandoning our sins and all its potential  ’side effects’,  and gain hope in the Lords words that we can be made clean through His atonement.

 

senior moment 2

My First Senior Moment

TheDiscipleMD

It didn’t flow, nor did it come easily but I said it, “Two senior diet coke’s please!” That’s the order I gave several years ago at the local McDonald’s on my way to work with my wife.   You see, at McDonald’s, you are “entitled” to a “senior” discount when you turn 55 and that morning I was celebrating my  fifty-fifth birthday. I guess I technically should have waited till 12:57pm later that day, the time of my birth, but there was no sense in trying to hold onto my youth.

I have to admit it, I’m now seen as a senior citizen by some people and in the eyes of many corporations.  I’ve joined the millions of other seniors who I see eating breakfast at the local smorgasbord. I’ve always been amused by my “senior” clients who come in and tell me how they love eating at such and such restaurants because it is “all you can eat” for seniors. “All you can eat!”, I think to myself.  Seniors don’t even eat “normal” portions of meals,  let alone the need to eat “all and more.”  I think it is the thought of getting a deal that drives seniors, of which I am now one, to the these types of restaurants.   It certainly can’t be the quality.  Perhaps your taste buds change over time. I know as a kid I hated vegetables and now I like them. Who knows, maybe down the road I will begin to like the local smorgasbord.

Well, the good thing about reaching fifty-five is that I reached fifty-five and now more. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize who is staring back at me, but at least I’m still seeing my reflection! It seems every physical thing about me is changing for the worse, except…with the years has come perspective…and a bit of wisdom. And for me that “wisdom” has come through life’s experiences. And my life’s experiences has given me solid reason to believe that everything I was taught as a youth, regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ, is true. I have learned that, when I follow the standards as set forth in scripture and by living prophets, my life goes smoother. I also know that when I “kick against the pricks,” as Saul did, my life becomes hard.  (Acts 9:5).

Saul’s life experiences changed him and he became Paul, the greatest missionary to ever live. An interesting point about the story of the Savior appearing to Paul on his journey to Damascus was, after Paul was struck down by the Lord, he is quoted as saying “What wilt thou have me do?” (vs 6). Jesus could have told him right then what he wanted, but he didn’t. He responded back to Paul, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do”(vs.6) Paul obeyed and ended up being taught and baptized by the Disciples. So, although Paul had a vision, he was commanded to go and be taught by the Disciples, or the prophets of his day. There is a subtle message in that story.  And that message to me is that the Lord has confidence in his leaders and that we should listen to them. The Savior endorses them. They will lead us back to His kingdom and presence.

I (semi) rejoice in becoming an official senior citizen, but I mostly rejoice in gaining the knowledge that the foundation of my life is built upon truth. That truth is that Jesus is the Christ and that I can benefit from all of His teachings  if I will obey. If I choose not to obey, I miss out on the blessings that come from obedience to the commandments of God.

Like my new senior discount, I can choose to use it and be blessed by it, or be embarrassed of it, and lose the benefit it offers me. It’s my choice.

jesus christ clouds

My 500th Witness

TheDiscipleMD (Now Read in Over 112 Countries)

Today marks the FIVE HUNDREDTH post from ‘TheDiscipleMD.’  It seems appropriate that it should fall the day after we have celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because the number 500 has some meaning regarding this most sacred and holy event.  Did Jesus rise from the dead, as he said he would, or was he a pretender who is not worthy of our adoration?  There can be no in between on this matter.

The scriptures record:

“…that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day…And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above FIVE HUNDRED brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” (1 Corinthians 15:4-8)

I add my witness to that of the more than FIVE HUNDRED that Jesus of Nazareth is the Savior of the World. And that through Him and by Him all mankind my be saved through His name. And although I have not seen Him in the flesh, like those mentioned by Paul, I have felt the witness in my heart through the Holy Spirit that He is real and that He is worthy of my adoration. This post serves as my FIVE HUNDREDTH witness that I have a testimony that He lives and that He will come again. Until that day, may we faithfully follow His teachings and may we be found worthy to be called His disciples.

 

 

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