Sunday, April 16, 2017

#PrinceofPeace - Finding peace through compassion

It is difficult to watch this video without reminding ourselves of similar circumstances within our lives where either our own children, or those who are close to us have suffered something similar that reminds us how tender life can be.  I think we each try and take that challenge and do something with it to bless the lives of others.  It never fully takes that pain away, but it does help us channel it in a way that can bless the lives of others.  As the Savior has said, when we lose our lives in service to others, we really find ourselves.

My older brother Milton, who passed away
in 1965
In July of 196 when my older brother, age 11, was in a his final days here on earth, suffering from aplastic anemia or a form of what is now Leukemia, was in his hospital bed and could not speak because his tongue was swollen.  He wrote a note to my mother, who was three months pregnant with me.  Because of the circumstances, they had not told Milton about the pregnancy and my birth date would not be for another six months.  Milton wrote a note to my mother and asked, "Who is that child sitting in your lap?"  My mother initially dismissed it to his sickness, to which he later wrote, "you don't believe me, do you?"  Mom later realized that what Milton probably saw was me, who was not yet born, and to whom he wouldn't see in this life.  Nevertheless, it reminds us that families are eternal and the blessings of being a family come both in this life and the life to come.

While we are blessed in this life by the compassion of others, we are also blessed with peace on this Easter Sunday with the knowledge that we will be resurrected and can be with each other for eternity.  While I do not know the day I will see my older brother, I do also know that he lives and I will be with him one day, along with my family, my wife Cathy and our children.  I am grateful for the peace this brings in my own life.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

#PrinceofPeace - Finding Peace through God's Word

I would be the first to admit that I'm not as avid of a reader of the scriptures as I would like to be, but every time I do read from it, I'm strengthened.  It does mean that I do need to read it more and be more consistent.  We have four basic scriptures in the Mormon faith, the Bible - Old and New Testament, the Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.  Each are separate accounts of how God has loves everyone of his people, giving them guidance through a prophet of God and encouragement through life's trials as well as admonishment or warnings of things to come.  If one is learning about the Church, I would definitely start with the Book of Mormon, which is the keystone of our religion and testifies of Jesus Christ.  There is a promise in it that if you do read it, pray, you can receive for yourself a testimony to it's truth.  I have done that and many others have done it as well.  While written many years ago, it really testifies of today.

One such scripture in the Book of Mormon is from chapter 34 in Alma, it reads:

32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.

37 And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;

At first blush it may seem like you have no choice and you are doomed, but just the opposite.  If you do your best in this life, access the atonement of Jesus Christ in your life and prepare to meet God, then the actions you take, only benefit you in the life to come.  It doesn't help you much if your thought is doing something at the last minute and hope you get buy.  Really God knows your heart and while we might pretend we are something we are not to change the impression of others, we simply can't hide it from God and it will be evident.  Why put it off.  Why not enjoy the full blessings of this life, in living our best to be with God.  He doesn't expect us to be perfect and I am certainly not.  I love the peace that comes through God's word.

Friday, April 7, 2017

#PrinceofPeace - Peace coming through faith

It's pretty difficult to not shed a tear when you watch this video.  I think we all have struggled at times with a circumstance either in our lives or with others that we love, that despite their faith, the trial seems so unfair.  Recently, a couple who are good friends, after many years of waiting were expecting a beautiful baby girl and all seemed to be on track.  However circumstances changed, the baby was delivered way too early and only lived for a short time.  We ask ourselves in circumstances like this, why must they suffer so much, when in some case babies come and aren't cared for yet live a life of struggle and sadly abuse.  With the agency that God has given us, also comes the bitter-sweet moments of our faith, which help us endure the outcomes.  Some are very joyful outcomes and others of great heartbreak.

Even in those most difficult of circumstances, we feel our Savior's love and in fact does bring us peace.  It isn't that the pain has gone away, but we realize a much deeper love than a sheer moment in this life sometimes brings.  Sadly tragedy does come to each of us, and sometimes in the most unexpected way.  While there are no guarantees on how our lives turn out, and it would be easy to let fear keep us from moving forward or trying anything new, we also do not grow without the exercise of faith.  With that faith, however, we also gain more joy and peace.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

#PrinceofPeace The true answer for the questions that bring us lasting happiness

It has always been challenging in life to watch others who desperately are looking for answers to happiness or solutions to life and look everywhere else but towards the Savior, Jesus Christ.   It's not that their efforts aren't genuine nor their efforts substantial, I even have to remind myself when frustrated with a circumstance that I am looking in the wrong direction for an answer.  I've even watched some very good people who live one aspect of their life in one way and apparently their beliefs in a different way.  The true answer is that they should really be the same.  I definitely know I'm not perfect, nor has there not been moments in my life where others might say the same.  It is for that reason alone that I'm grateful for the Savior's atonement that provides me an avenue to improve.

As we approach the Easter Season, I am reminded the greatest gift he could give us all is a knowledge that he wants us to be able to return to our Heavenly Father, to be with him and to be forgiven of our sins if we just repent and come unto him.  There is much good in the world, much of it silent in nature and done with kind gestures even from strangers to strangers.  The world is in need of more kind gestures, a spirit of peace and one in which we follow the Savior's path.  While not recognized in his earthly life the way others might expect, the Savior taught us true selfless service and with such a genuine way that his example will always be our pathway home.