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In You We Have Seen The Beauty And Majesty Of The Father!

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Some people can change the world while being home bound in a wheelchair. And without ever uttering an intelligible word they end up blessing the lives of all those they come into contact with. Such has been the case with a young man who passed away about five years ago, the teen son of my niece and her courageous husband.

I don’t know the depth and width of the sacrifice required to care for those who are in constant need. That vision of understanding is only opened up for brief moments to us who observe from afar. What I can see is the blessings that the Lord bestows upon all those who choose to serve with love unfeigned and who follow the words of the apostle John, when he stated:

“God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

And so, while I don’t think any of us would volunteer to live a life, such that we felt trapped in an imperfect physical body, those that so suffer offer to us, the grace and blessing of having God dwell in us, if we choose to open our hearts and let love flow unceasingly. Such human experience can transcend this mortal life, and lift our souls to heavenly places that are reserved for those whose Christ-like charity suffereth all. The service that loved ones render on behalf of those who so suffer, enriches and elevates the spirit.

At the passing of such individuals, who serve as instructional instruments in the hands of God, we cry and mourn, not only because we love them, but because they have brought us closer to our creator. Once homebound, they are now home bound in a joyful reunion with the Father where He will embrace them and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

To all such travelers, who have given their lives in service to us, may your journey be filled with the knowledge that you have left behind to us far more than we ever gave to you. In you, we have seen the beauty and majesty of all that the Father is, was, and will forever be. You will be missed, but never forgotten!

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When All The Kids Are Gone, Do We Know The Person Left Behind?

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When we hold our first child in our arms, it seems that they will be ours forever; but they won’t!  When our last child disappears behind airport security as they leave for college, have we taken sufficient time to know the person who is left behind? Who is that person left standing next to us who waves so lovingly to our child and yells to them to keep in touch? As we drive home in silence and ponder just where all the years have gone, who is that other person in the car who seems as lost in their thoughts as we are?

We open the front door to our home which has graced the childhood of our kids and there is no noise of shouting children or the television blaring at an unacceptable level. There we stand next to them as the big house echos the sound of the tick of the grandfather clock and the awkward silence of the moment.  Who is that person next to us and what do we say or do!

The question facing all couples in a such a moment is, ‘When all the kids are gone, do I know the person left behind? This moment will arrive for almost every married couple, and when it does there will be a sudden realization that if we haven’t taken the time to get to know, love, and understand the ‘person left behind’, they will be a stranger.

A number of years ago Robert D. Hales made this plain and simple statement:

“By divine commandment, spouses are required to love each other above all others. The Lord clearly declares, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.” (“The Eternal Family,” October GC, 1996)

It behooves us all to remember that ‘in the end’, it is our spouse that will be by our side, hopefully for all time and eternity. From the first moment when we hold a babe in our arms, let us keep in mind that the countdown has begun when they will depart from our home.

It is important we spend time and energy in building wonderful relationships with our children. However, let us never forget that when all the kids are gone, we want the person left behind to be our best friend. We don’t want it to be a stranger who silently sits beside us wondering why the only thing they see and hear is the grandfather clock in the hallway sounding ‘ticktock, ticktock.”

 

 

 

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Nothing Is Free In this Life…Or The Next!

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Free! Free! Free! That word seems to catch the eye of even the most dispassionate person. Just today I was driving down a two-lane highway when a sign on the side of the road caught my eye. It was the big word “free” painted in red on a big plywood sign. I  passed it before I could see “what” was free. Out of curiosity I turned around and drove back to find out. I turned the car around and passed the sign the second time. The sign just said, “FREE” in big letters. It was located outside of a small farm so I assume that whatever was “free” has something to do with farming. I guess I will never know! However, the sign did catch my eye!

Funny how the word “free” strikes such a strong cord in us! Something for nothing! How wonderful! Over my lifetime I have seen that word hundreds of times on signs: splashed over magazines or as a banner across the Internet page I am visiting. It is frequently shouted on the radio, or over the television. Yes, the word “free” is a pretty popular word. Most of the time the word “free” is the lure for the hook that fools us into making a decision benefiting, not us, but the promoter of the word. Somewhere in the promotion of the word “free” there is usually found smaller words explaining that by getting something for “free” we are committing to the giver some right or promise that binds us to them. Sometimes it is a commitment for a short time, to buy some other product or sometimes it is much longer and more expensive than the “free” item. A trap has been laid for those whose greed wants to gain something without any effort. The author of “something for nothing” has lived long before the formation of this world. He is known as the “master of mayhem”, Satan, Lucifer, or the Devil. He goes by many names, but his purposes are the same; to rob us of our agency and eternal life.

How interesting that Satan used the concept of “free” to try to lure us out of our “freedom” or agency. The scriptures tell us:

” I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor. But, behold, my Beloved  Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.” (Moses 4:1-4).

There he was, the master deceiver, promoting that he was going to save us, without any effort on our part. I wonder if he broadcast himself on a big screen into each of our pre-mortal homes promoting this “great free gift,” while softly underscoring that we would be subject to him and that it would only cost us our eternal “agency.” So little for something that is free! He must have been a great salesman, because a third of us bought into his “free” plan. We didn’t go for it then, and there is no reason to go for his “free” plan in this life. It is a different stage of our life, but it is the same trick. Today Satan offers all that this life has to give, for ‘nothing,’ or so he says. He even tried this sales pitch on the Savior himself.

“And the devil, taking him up into a high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” (Luke 4: 5-6).

Fortunately for us the Savior was wise to Satan’s trap, for he responded: “…Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (vs 8) Indeed!

Let us not be deceived by the advertisers of this world, and those not of this world. Nothing in this life is free, or the next. There is always a price to be paid.  Sometimes it is hidden or oft-times it will come due “bye and bye.” This much I am sure of. When I see the word “free” I have learned to be careful. We were not fooled when the “free” plan was offered long ago in the pre-mortal existence. Let us be wise, once again, in rejecting the same “free” plan offered in this life.

 

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“The Girl You Marry Will Take A Terrible Chance On You!”

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“The girl you marry will take a terrible chance on you. She will give her all to the young man she marries. He will largely determine the remainder of her life. She will even surrender her name to his name” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Living Worthy of the Girl You Will Someday Marry,”).

Gordon B. Hinckley had a way with words and a way of communicating those words with power, conviction and love. Over forty years ago my wife took a “terrible chance” on me. I’m not sure it worked out for her but I know it did for me. I was talking with one of my brothers who, several years ago,  had a daughter marry. He, like most fathers, held a high standard for the young man who came calling for her hand. We sat and talked a bit about this subject and then he said that he saw in the eyes of the father of the bride that recently married his son, the same concern that he had for his daughters. He recognized “the look” and thought to himself that this man didn’t need to worry because he felt confident that his son would take good care of his daughter. The man who knows his son best should be his father. But it dawned on him that the bride’s father didn’t know his son like he did.  Time was needed for his son to gain his new father-in-laws confidence. Respect is most often earned over time.

In the same talk Hinckley went on to say these words.

“As the old Church of England ceremony says, you will marry her “for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse.” She will be yours and yours alone, regardless of the circumstances of your lives. You will be hers and hers alone. There can be eyes for none other. There must be absolute loyalty, undeviating loyalty one to another. Hopefully you will marry her forever, in the house of the Lord, under the authority of the everlasting priesthood. Through all the days of your lives, you must be as true one to another as the polar star.”

The polar star is also known as the North Star, known for centuries by mariners as something you can depend on and trust. There is something quite remarkable about a couple that has built their marriage on trust. In that kind of union the two are at peace.  They never wonder about the who, the what,  and the whereabouts of their spouse because they know he or she is doing the right thing and can be found in righteous places. Fear and anger haunt those who cannot trust their mate as suspicion and uneasiness are tightly interwoven into the already complex nature of the marriage relationship.

May all of us ‘be true to one another as the polar star!  May we husbands be the kind of men we would want to see come courting our beautiful daughters. In so doing we will be listening to a prophets voice and taking advantage of and receiving all the blessings that God has in store for us in the wonderful world of marriage. Another man, who gave us his precious daughter, is counting on it!

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