walk the walk

When A Father “Walks the Walk!”

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My wife and I both have the same feeling. We are both proud to be children of the men who we call “Father!” It’s quite a blessing and one that should never be taken lightly or for granted. Even at my age I never tire of being stopped and told how lucky I am to be the son of my father. Just the other day, I am playing first base on a local softball team. The first base coach of the other team said, “Are you Garth’s son?” “Yes I am,” I replied. “Well,” he said, “Your Dad is a member of my congregation at church and he often teaches a class. He is a wonderful man.” Then he added, “What would it have been like to have been taught and instructed by him all your life!” Then he added, “You are a lucky man!” I nodded my affirmation, and added, “I have indeed been blessed to have him as my Dad!” Our conversation stopped as the new inning started but as I stood there at my position, my mind wandered back in time to the many occasions when people, upon hearing I was my Father’s son, would come up to me and tell me what a ‘great’ man my father was and if I could be half the man he was, I would be extraordinary!

I don’t think I will ever be “half-the-man” my Father is, but that doesn’t bother me at all. I’m just grateful that by striving to be like him, I am becoming closer to what I should and could be, and by striving to do so, I can also catch a glimpse of exactly why I am also striving to become like my Heavenly Father. I may never reach Godhood, but the journey to become such, is enriching and enhancing the joy of life and showing me the potential of what I might become!

The other day my sister paid my Dad a compliment when she proclaimed that, “He doesn’t just ‘talk the talk’, he ‘walks the walk.” So I salute every man who ‘walks the walk’ of Fatherhood and who lift their sons and daughters to heights beyond their own greatest imaginations! By blessing the lives of your children, you also bless the nations in which you and they reside! You are the pattern by which the understanding of a loving Heavenly Father becomes clear, and your teachings elevate the souls of men and women beyond the heavens, reaching to a divine Father who is real, and who waits for our honorable return!

Rubbernecking

Rubbernecking After the World!

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We have all done it at least once in our lives. You know, rubbernecking! We are driving along the highway and there is some accident ahead, or someone is in trouble with the law. As we come close to the scene we slow way down, sometimes to a crawl. We look! We look again! We look still again, this time we stretch our necks ever so high in hopes of a glimpse of the “scene.” It seems that our necks are made of rubber as we desperately stretch to see what “all the excitement” is about. This rubbernecking is not harmless because, at a minimum, people are delayed in arriving at their destinations. At its worst; another accident can be caused by inattentive drivers. I’m sure you have been in traffic jams where the accident is on the opposite side of a divided highway. The traffic jam on your side is not caused by the accident, but by “rubberneckers.” This causes delays and problems long after the scene of the accident has been cleared.

The highway of our life is no different from the highways we travel on everyday. Except that the highway of life’s destination is the Celestial Kingdom, not work, church or some event. We are told that the Lord’s “paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel.” ( 2 Nephi 9:41). I think we all desire to arrive at the gate of heaven and be judged by its keeper “the Lord God.” But many a person has been distracted by the “excitement” along the roadside. They have “rubbernecked” themselves into trouble. One such tragic individual was David. Chosen of God, he found himself “rubbernecking” one night. “And it came to pass in an evening-tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon” (2 Samuel 11:1–2).

A few years ago Whitney Clayton spoke of David. He said:

Do you see how David got caught in this trap? He was on a rooftop courtyard of his palace, and looking below in a neighboring yard, he saw something he never should have seen. That was the adversary’s bait. Modesty, chastity, and good judgment required that David turn away immediately and not watch, but he didn’t do either thing. Instead, he allowed his mind to turn to forbidden fantasies, those thoughts led to actions, and things quickly spiraled downward from bad to worse to fatal. David was trapped, and for him the consequences were eternal. (“Blessed Are All the Pure in Heart”).

David’s life journey took a major detour because of his “rubbernecking!” He didn’t just get delayed on his journey: he had a major car accident. It is so tempting to “rubberneck” with the things of the world. Just a peek, just slowing down to glance at the enticing of man-made things. If we do so, we might find ourselves “seeing something we should never see.”
Let us keep our eyes on the road with our destination being that of eternal life with our Father. Resist the temptation to “rubberneck” after the world. It could cause a delay in our eternal arrival. Or, worse yet, like David, the consequences could bring about the total wreck of our lives.

woman praying

I Can’t Believe That Heavenly Father Loves Me!

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A number of years ago Bonnie D. Parkin said:

“Our Heavenly Father loved us before we came to this earth. I know that He loves us…as does His Son, Jesus Christ.That love will never change—it is constant. You can rely on it. We can trust it…

I know of a young mother with five little children who called an older sister, her valued mentor, and asked, “Can we go on a hike?” Her friend knew that meant she needed to talk. Halfway through an eight-mile loop, the young mother finally said, “I just can’t believe that Heavenly Father loves me; I’ve made lots of mistakes in my life. I can’t feel that I’m worthy of His love; how can He possibly love me?”…The older sister quickly responded, “Of course He loves you. You’re His daughter.”

Do we frequently reject the Lord’s love that He pours out upon us in much more abundance than we are willing to receive? Do we think we have to be perfect in order to deserve His love?…We must acknowledge that perfection is a process. This is a gospel of eternal progress, and we must remember to appreciate the journey. Eternal means “without beginning or end,” so the encircling of His love is there for us every day. Remember, it’s constant—even when we don’t recognize it.” (GC, October 2006)

One of the great tools of Satan is discouragement and making us feel as if we are unworthy of Heavenly Father’s love. Sometimes in the church we feel we must be perfect in order to gain His love. This is a false doctrine that has led to much unhappiness.  The sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ was to atone for our mistakes and sins,  provided we come unto him. If we have faith in His atonement we should understand that sin is a part of the process in becoming like Him.

Understanding that the Lord loves us is fundamental to finding happiness in this life and the next.  My faith and testimony is that He does love us despite our weaknesses and faults. Let us exercise our faith in the atonement and accept in our hearts that we are loved and watched over by a loving God.


house divided

The Indefensible Position Of ‘A Cultural Disciple’!

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I have always been puzzled when someone, of any faith, professes allegiance to their religion, but then add the caveat that they don’t believe in many things their church teaches. What? Years ago Marion G. Romney said this:

“Some members assume that one can be in full harmony with the spirit of the gospel, enjoy full fellowship in the Church, and at the same time be out of harmony with the leaders of the Church and the counsel and direction they give. Such a position is wholly inconsistent, because the guidance of this Church comes not alone from the written word but also from continuous revelation, and the Lord gives that revelation to the Church through his chosen prophet. It follows, therefore, that those who profess to accept the gospel and who at the same time criticize and refuse to follow the counsel of the prophet are assuming an indefensible position. Such a spirit leads to apostasy. It is not new. It was prevalent in the days of Jesus…” (Marion G. Romney, “Unity,” Ensign, May 1983).

Being a follower of the gospel requires more than being a “cultural disciple” of the Savior. Over the history of Christianity it is clear that many embraced the teachings of Jesus Christ for political or social reasons. They wanted to be a part of the “in” group but they couldn’t quite bring themselves to say or act in accordance to something that is not really part of who they were. We are all guilty, to some degree of disobedience. But that is different from being pro-active in criticizing leaders of the church or its doctrine. When I hear someone of my faith take a public position contrary to the declared position of the leaders of the church I can’t help but wonder if they are attempting to have one foot in Zion, while striving to please man. As Romney stated, it is an “indefensible position”.

I am a firm believer in the words of the Savior as recorded in the gospel of Luke. “…Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. (Luke 11:17).  Every man is a “house”, so to speak. One cannot be divided. If one is not totally in, the soul or house of that man will fall. We live in a day when we are required to stand united with the leaders of the church. In the coming years we will be called on to become “spiritual warriors” for the gospel. Taking the position of a “cultural disciple” will not make us strong enough to survive the perils of the last days. Our position as a cultural disciple of the Lord will be indefensible at the judgment day. May we strengthen our testimonies on a daily basis so that we will be found true followers of the Savior and not just ‘cultural’ disciples.

 

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