Be Not Afraid

In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus relates the parable of the talents. A talent then was a great deal of money. One received five, another two and another one. When their master returned to see what they had done, he found the first two had been faithful and worked hard to improve their lot. The third responded thus:

"And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth:" (verse 25)

Let us not be afraid. Let us go and do as the Lord has commanded us. Let us use the gifts he has given us, exercising faith to act and minister to the needs of others. If we set aside our fear, we will be blessed as we build on our faith to serve the Lord and his children.

Trying to Be a Latter-day Saint

The name of the church I attend is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Paul called the members of the church in the meridian of time saints. Those who believed in Christ and sought to understand and practice the gospel of repentance which he had taught were known then as saints. Not because they had performed miracles but because they relied on the miracles of Christ, especially that of the Atonement.

They were not perfect. Nor are his latter-day saints. As we strive to become like him, let us remember the words of one who serves him.

“If we don’t try, we’re just latter-day sinners; if we don’t persevere, we’re latter-day quitters; and if we don’t allow others to try, we’re just latter-day hypocrites” ~Dale G. Renlund, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

And They Followed Him

While Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, there were two blind men sitting by the road. Think of them as ourselves. Are we too blind?

These men called out to Jesus and begged for mercy. He stopped and asked them what they wanted him to do for them. Of course they asked to receive their sight. Matthew records the Master's response in this way.

Matthew 20:34 (KJV): "So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him."

In such a short sentence Matthew conveys some great lessons. First, is the Lord's great capacity for compassion. Second, that Christ will touch those on whom he has compassion. Third, that we can receive immediate blessings from Him through faith. And finally, that the mark of true disciples who have received their sight is that they follow Him.

Do you call out to Him in faith? Will you see? Will you follow Him?

Recognize the Lord in Our Lives

When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, he looked out upon her and wept for its wickedness and imminent destruction. These were his people and they, except for a few, had not recognized him, as had been prophesied, yet he had compassion on them.

Luke 19 (KJV)

41 ¶ And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,

44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

I hope that we will each learn to recognize the works of the Lord in our own lives, that we will embrace him and love to serve him as we serve others.

Take a moment today to recognize someone in your path as one you can lift a little with a kind word or a hug. Listen for a moment and see them as the Lord might. Then you will bring a little of the Lord's peace into their life and your life.

We Are Made Alive in Christ

"...we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments. And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." ~2 Nephi 25:25-26 (Book of Mormon)

We are God's children living in a fallen mortal state where we are tested that we might prove worthy to return and live with him. But we all fall short. We are not perfect as we must be to live with God. In His infinite wisdom God provided a plan whereby we might overcome our imperfections. This great plan of happiness requires a saviour to step forward and pay the price for our sins. God's firstborn in the spirit stepped forward and said, "Here am I. Send me."

It is through the grace of his atoning sacrifice that we may be made clean and worthy to enter into God's kingdom. I am so grateful for this blessing in our lives. Let us embrace our Saviour Jesus Christ and follow him in every way we can.

Seeking Something Better

The idea of "Something Better" has been on my mind lately. In life, work, everything. There is much good to choose from. How do we choose the better part? How do we store up that which moth nor rust can corrupt?

I read these words of Christ today: "But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." ~Mark 12:31,34 (KJV)

As we ask ourselves, which is better, let us keep in mind those words. Which thing sets me on the path to find and build the kingdom of God? Let us seek the Lord's guidance in all that we do and then do that something better.

Love and Wisdom from Dad

Yesterday we enjoyed a visit with my parents to celebrate my mother's birthday. Three of my four children were able to join us. My brother and his wife and his two sons and a daughter-in-law were also there. My oldest daughter brought a favorite client whom we love and have adopted over the last 10 years, not legally, but in every other way. In total we had 13 plates around the table and overflowing to the kitchen counter.

Usually a crowd of this size is disquieting to my dad who suffers from Alzheimer's and gets very confused and sometimes anxious when a big crowd visits. After we ate a fine Sunday meal of pot roast with potatoes and carrots with green salad prepared by my dear wife and a wonderful lemon cake made by my brother's wife, the group retired to the family room to visit with Mom and amongst themselves.

Dad looked on for a few minutes, standing at the edge of the room, but the large group with so many voices made it impossible for him to join in. I took him to the living room not far away but just far enough. We sat on the sofa and looked out upon the field of harvested corn covered mostly by recent snow. And we talked. He is not able to express himself well anymore, but if you quietly and patiently listen, you can hear his words of love and wisdom trickling through the fragments of his speech. He asked what I would do next or where I would go. I told him I would go home and work. In his way he asked about that and my family. In brief and short sentences, I told him about them and my concerns for them.

While he was unable to complete each of his thoughts filled with bits of wisdom and encouragement, but I found myself understanding more and more of what he was trying to say, sometimes finishing his thought for him to which he would then agree. I felt his spirit communicating with me in only a way that a loving father can. I was comforted and leaned my head on his shoulder and gradually fell asleep. He sat quietly there as I slept for about half an hour. Perhaps he slept as well. I'm told my children were checking on me as they made plans to leave and, finding me still asleep, they would return to the other room to chat more with my mom and their cousins.

I am deeply grateful for such wonderful rest and the blessings of my dad's wisdom and love which still has the power to transcend the disease which robs him of his memories and his normal cognitive abilities. His spirit is strong and while I will celebrate the day that he is released from his mortal tabernacle to go and serve the Lord on the other side of the veil, I will suffer the deepest sadness for myself and others who now benefit from his enduring spirit of love and wisdom here in mortality.

Freedom to Act - A Most Supernal Gift

We are agents to ourselves, free to act and choose our actions, thoughts and words. This gift is inherent in us and we bristle when others try to take it from us. Even when our cognitive faculties abandon us, we often work hard to maintain our independence and ability to choose for ourselves.

An ancient prophet in America wrote the following.

2 Nephi 10 (Book of Mormon)
23 Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.
24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

God will never force us to choose Him. But if we reconcile our own will to His and choose to follow Him, accepting His Son Jesus Christ and the atoning sacrifice He made, we can be made whole from our sins through His grace and be saved in God's kingdom.