hope

To Be A Partaker Of Hope We Must Plow And Thresh!

TheDiscipleMD

To hope for something while not moving towards it, is to aspire to failure. Most of us have hope for many good things in this life and for the eternities.  But hope alone will not make these things come to pass. I believe that is why so often our hopes are dashed. We must move towards it and make it become a reality and not be passive towards it.  Who among us believes that to hope to become a concert pianist will become a reality if we don’t put in the time to practice to become so.

It is wonderful to hope, but our hope needs to compel us to action! I once knew a man who had great hopes for his life. But the thought of losing that hope, which he so dearly held onto, caused him to not pursue it, lest he lose it and despair replace it.  But despair will often win, when we passively wait for hope to arrive.   Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

“…For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.”

Paul understood  that to be a partaker of hope, we must plow and thresh toward it.  Let us have high hopes for our lives! But more importantly let not the fear of losing it, stop us from plowing and threshing towards it. Paul also taught that hope can be augmented through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13) By relying on the Holy Ghost for strength, we can overcome the fear that sometimes paralyzes us from pursuing and capturing Hope.

Let us actively go after Hope, so that our dreams of life, and of the eternities,  will be not just be a ‘Hope’ but a reality.

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Good Memories: Food Storage For The Soul

TheDiscipleMD

A few years ago I spent the day with one of my brothers and three of my sisters visiting our “childhood”. We stopped by our old elementary school, stood on the baseball diamonds of younger years, and visited homes in which we had lived. We drove through the neighborhoods of our youth, ate at old “watering holes” and visited the high school in which nine of us kids graduated. It really turned out to be a day of sharing memories.

Memories are a strange thing. They have very little meaning when one is young, but as one grows older, they grow sweeter, more powerful; more precious. And so the five of us spent the day reminiscing, laughing, talking, telling stories, but mostly sharing feelings of love and admiration for those who have affected our lives so profoundly.

“Someone who was a little more poetic than theological said, “Memory is the one Garden of Eden out of which one need never be cast.” Good memories are real blessings.” (Joe Christensen, “Good Memories Are Real Blessings”, 1989, Nov., Ensign)

I am fortunate to have a life full of good memories. I believe those memories are “real” blessings in my life. They remind me of the joy that can be found in living and that most of my good memories revolve around my family. Some individuals have not been so blessed. Yet all of us have the opportunity and ability to provide “good and uplifting” memories for our own families. I hope my five children will be able to look back on their lives and have the same wonderful feelings I have of my youth.

Good memories also come from making righteous decisions. When we recall good memories they almost certainly revolve around righteous acts and thoughts. Seldom do good memories come from unrighteous living. A few years ago I met up with an old high school friend. During the course of our conversation I brought up what I thought was a “funny” incident from his past. The incident was funny but the act surrounding it was not one to be proud of. He was clearly uncomfortable with my repeating of the story and I felt bad later for telling it. But I was again reminded that “good” memories usually revolve around “good” behavior.

Creating and re-sharing positive memories can serve as strength in the lean times of our lives. They become “food storage” to our souls. They can serve as nourishment to the heart,  buoy up our spirits and give us hope for the future. May we live our lives so as to create and store “good memories”! They can brighten our lives on future rainy days. It has been a few years since my siblings and I took the time to go down “memory lane”. That day, another good memory was banked in my heart. It has buoyed up my soul just writing about it. Take the time to make “good memories” with your loved ones. In Ecclesiastes we read, “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days”. (11:1) I believe that we will not only find it, but “good memories” will return to us tenfold.

 

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When Regret Lingers

TheDiscipleMD

It was early evening when I stood on my porch while surveying the yard work I had done that day. Out of the corner of my eye I caught the glimpse of a figure of a lone man walking down the sidewalk towards my house. He seemed to be laboring and hunched over as he slowly made his way past. His head was down and he seemed to be studying every inch of the concrete before him so as not to trip over a crack. He never saw me but I recognized him as a man in his fifties who had been in my house on occasion. He was a man who I found to be humble and full of goodness, yet he was a bit uncomfortable to talk with, so…I let him pass without saying hello. I was busy, tired from the day, and I just wasn’t in the mood for a ‘friendly chat.’

Later I found out that he passed away the same night I wasn’t in a friendly mood. I was left pondering about the fragile nature of life, but mostly regretting that I hadn’t taken the time to hold a last conversation with him. We never know when our conversation or actions with loved ones will be our last. The son of Gordon B. Hinckley once said:

“When I was a boy, my father often would use an interesting phrase when he was offering the family prayer. He would say, “Heavenly Father, please bless us that we may live without regret.”

A good motto for all of us should be that we live without regrets. We need to ‘seize the moment’ and take advantage of every opportunity to be a friend to all. For me, and this man, the time is now past and the opportunity missed. I just wasn’t in the mood for a ‘friendly chat that day and now my regret lingers!

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Reflections That Come Softly To The Soul

TheDiscipleMD

I’m sure it happens to everyone; you’re driving along, listening to the radio, when out of the blue and for no apparent reason, your thoughts drift to someone you love. Oft times it is someone you have lost. This morning it happened to me. I don’t know why but as I was driving along reflections of my deceased mother came to my mind. And more importantly, to my heart! You can never really communicate to anyone, except perhaps your siblings, who your mother really was. Friends, acquaintances and others only see the public side of a person. And even your own children really only know her as a grandmother, and as is often the case, health issues in the later years of our lives often rob us of some of the character traits that make us truly unique.

But I was witness to the three-dimensional woman who I called my mother.  I hold the memories of her close and on occasion, like today, they swell up inside my soul. It is on these occasions that I long for her embrace, her touch, and her smile. I don’t know how long it will be before I  once again experience them with her. But I have great faith in the promises of the gospel that the day will come when we will once again embrace!

I think that love is eternal! I believe that it knows no bounds and crosses all dimensions! I think it is the finest attribute of Godliness. I believe that families are forever. Until forever comes, I am left with reflections that come softly to my soul of a mother loved and of one who loved me. As time passes onward and memories start to fade, one thing that doesn’t, is the feelings of love that we shared. It is this bond that binds us together and leaves my heart full of hope for the eternities. I could quote prophets of old, and prophets of new, that testify of the truthfulness of this principle, that love is eternal. But to be truthful, I don’t need their testimonies to convince me. I have always felt it deep in my heart. I’ve never needed verification from any other source to believe it.

All of us wait for that day, when we shall see our loved ones again. When we won’t have to just rely on our memories. They will be real! They will be there! We will be together again! Because of the sacrifice of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, that much-anticipated day will come!

 

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