armor of god

In Praise Of The Courageous Christian!

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There are a variety of definitions for the word “Courage”. One I like is provided by Merriam-Webster which defines it as, “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”

I’m not sure that being classified as a Christian, here in the United States, has required a tremendous amount of courage as defined above…until now! Today, it seems that taking a Christian position on any moral principle is requiring more and more courage. Those who preach and teach contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ seem to be outwardly accepted and praised. Thus, when I hear of the supposed “courageous” nature of individuals who claim to be living lives contrary to the laws of God, I am left to ponder just how much bravery it takes to espouse principles that the media not only accepts, but also praises and endorses. The Pioneers of debauchery and lechery have long since been embraced by our culture and written about in our history books with reverence.

No, today we live in a culture that is rapidly becoming unfriendly to the Christian belief system; a system which has been the backbone of this great country. I applaud all those who, by their daily living and example, live lives worthy to be called “Disciples of Jesus Christ”, and who bravely stand up for the principles that he taught. Today it takes ‘genuine’ courage to speak out and stand tall in defending Christian principles.

There are many throughout this great country that still stand for the right. Recorded in the twenty-eighth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles  is this event in the life of Paul.

“…from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us… whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.” (vs 15)

So let all the followers of Jesus Christ “take courage”, as did Paul, in knowing that there are still plenty of disciples among us and “thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57) Let us “Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the Lord do that which seemeth him good.”(2 Samuel 10:12)

 

the disciple 165

The World Can Break Your Heart…Yet Fill It To OverFlowing!

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Who hasn’t , at one time or the other, felt  joy in this life that filled our soul to overflowing?  The immensity and grandeur of it all!  Who knows from whence it came or why it left, but for a moment in time, it was ours! Perhaps it was on a bliss wedding day, or the moment when we first held a child, our child, in our arms. Or perhaps it was a moment, when we exchanged a glance with our spouse, or a word of love with a parent. Moments of joy are plentiful in this life, if we open our hearts and let it in. Yet…

Who hasn’t, at one time or the other, felt pain in this life that left our heart-broken? The immensity and grandeur of it all! Who knows from whence it came or why it left, if it ever did. But for a moment in time, it was ours! Perhaps our heart broke on the break up of our marriage, or the moment when we first received news of the death of a child. Or perhaps it was a moment when we had an ugly exchange with a spouse, or words of hate with our parents. Moments of pain are plentiful in this life, even if we don’t open our hearts to it.  Yet…

“…it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so…righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.” (2 Nephi 2:11-12)

reach for the stars

Its Time To Stop Missing What We Never Had!

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Recently I heard a fictional character on television say, “Now, I miss what I never had!” He was ‘now’ in the later stages of life, and he was giving advice to a young protegé. He was referring to the fact that he had spent his entire life in service to his country. What he had sacrificed to do so, was the joy of having a family and the enjoyment of the small pleasures of life. He gave a slight chuckle as he finished his sentence, as if to say, “For what!”

All of us, upon reflection, sometimes wish we could  go back and change decisions we made in the past. But of course, we can’t. We can only move on with the lessons that we have learned.  “Regrets, I’ve had a few”, Sinatra sang. Perhaps it is the follow-up line he sang that carries more significance, “but then again, too few to mention.”  He captured to some degree the senselessness of ‘crying over spilt milk.” I found myself trying to teach the same lesson to my granddaughter just the other day at dinner time.  She had a few cookies for desert and a small glass of milk.  As she reached for the cookies she knocked over the glass and the milk spilled all over the table.  She looked at me and started to cry. As I got up to help her I said, “don’t cry over the spilt milk, I will get you some more.”  As I walked to the fridge to get more I laughed and mumbled to myself, “So that’s where that saying came from.” Yet, as trite as that statement is, it resonates truthfulness.

While we cannot change the past, the future is before us. Jesus Christ once told the story of two sons who were asked by their father to work in his vineyard. One said he would, but didn’t. The other said:

“I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.” (Matt 21:29)

There are a number of lessons taught by this short story. One is that despite what we may have said or done in our past; we can repent, change and do the will of the Father.  Like the fictional character quoted above, some of us are missing what we never had,  and time certainly may have taken away some blessings from us that we could have had.  But today is another day and the future is in our hands. There is no better time than the present to stop missing what we never had by reaching out for greater happiness.  There is no better way of finding true joy in this life than through observance to the  teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

sirens song

Escaping The ‘Sirens’ Worldly Song

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Sometimes solitude is hard to find, and finding a place where you can be alone is the best place to ponder and pray. Most of us live in the city; that is, places where the hand print of man is found on almost all we see. As I survey out my office I am surrounded by stores, parking lots, restaurants and gas stations. Looking out my window to the North, South, East or West gives me the same sights; it’s the images of man. It is busy, noisy, and yells out to be worshipped! Because of that I enjoy the peace and quite of the temple. There I have found refuse and solace during my times of angst. But, a temple might not always be available at our moment of need. In a tense moment of our life we might remember that the spirit of the Lord can be found “in holy places”, and those “places” can be most anywhere.

Over the years, I have taken the opportunity to seek out the Lord in the solitude of the woods by my house, in parks and on the grounds of the temple. I have availed myself the opportunity to seek wisdom in local church buildings.  I once sat in the church pews, alone, in the dark, during the middle of the day with no one else in the building. I had a wonderful time. Sometimes, under the right condition, I have communicated with Deity while driving my car, or sitting in my car. And certainly, our homes are places of learning. I have felt the warmth of the spirit while dressed in nothing but my pajamas while kneeling in my house. Mostly, I have learned, that the spirit of the Lord will communicate with me when I take the time to excuse myself from the world. A common denominator to finding the Lord is having faith that He exists, and then taking the opportunity to have a “private” conversation with Him. That means creating an environment where you have no distractions.

We live in busy times and have busy lives! The world is much like the mythical creatures written about in the Odyssey called the “Sirens.” The alluring song of the Sirens, who had the body of a bird and the head of a beautiful woman, captivated seaman who, hearing their songs from the shore, would guide their ship too close to the shore and wreak their ships on the rocks from whence came the “Sirens” sang. The song of the world can be beautiful and lure us to our deaths. We need to take the time to block out the enticing sounds of the world and seek the spirit. All of us need to have “places” to go where we can communicate with the Lord. Some places are better than others, but the reality is, it can be most anywhere, because, His spirit permeates the universe.

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