Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

something better

Joseph Smith once prayed simply, "Lord we thank Thee for this Johnny cake, and ask Thee to send us something better. Amen." (It wasn't long after than a man came bring flour and ham to the home.)

This idea of praying for something better... this is huge. I mean of course God has blessings in mind for me that are so much bigger and understanding that is so much better than i could ever imagine -- but am i possibly not receiving it because i haven't asked? It's not that I'm not asking (because I do a LOT of that) and it's not that I am asking for things I shouldn't... it's just that I'm not thinking bigger... so what am I missing out on because I don't ask, and therefor seek, for the BETTER?

Sheri Dew wrote that we shouldn't try to "limit or restrain the Lord by the smallness of our vision or hopes or petitions"  -- we shouldn't be afraid to pray like Joseph did for something better. I am going to try to expand my view of what is possible and what the Lord may give me.

I will try to pray and thank the Lord for what I have, ask him for what I think I need, and then ask for something even better.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

our great potential

"these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men" (Moroni 10:19)

How do you picture those who don't believe? Because most likely it's the same way I have... and I didn't fall into that group. Like so many scriptures it's taken me until now to see how I actually do, in scary ways, fit negative definitions. We are supposed to put ourselves into the scriptures, and it's a much easier thing to do in the positive ones, but it the ones where I become a sinner and an unbeliever...well, of course those scriptures aren't about ME...those are about THEM...right?

It's the "All is Well in Zion attitude" and it needs to change. Think of unbelief the way Sheri Dew does: "the most sobering kind of unbelief is actually that of faithful members of the Church sitting in sacrament meeting every week -- members who don't really believe the Lord will reveal His mind and will and workings to them, and have thus hardened their hearts to their spiritual possibilities, potential, ad privileges." (If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard) And now, we can start seeing ourselves in it.

President George Q. Cannon makes it even clearer:

"Yet we find, even among those who have embraced the Gospel, hearts of unbelief. How many of you, my brethren and sisters, are seeking for these gifts that God has promised to bestow? How many of you, when you bow before your Heavenly Father in your family circle or in your secret places, contend for these gifts to be bestowed upon you? How many of you ask the Father, in the name of Jesus, to manifest Himself to you through these powers and these gifts? Or do you go along day by day like a door turning on its hinges, without having any feeling upon the subject, without exercising any faith whatever; content to be baptized and be members of the Church, and to rest there, thinking that your salvation is secure because you have done this? I say to you, in the name of the Lord, as one of His servants, that you have need to repent of this. You have need to repent of your hardness of heart, of your indifference, and of your carelessness. There is not that diligence, there is not that faith, there is not that seeking for the power of God that there should be among a people who have received the precious promises we have. Instead of the sick being healed, why, it is as much as you can do to get faith to believe that the administration of an elder will be attended with effect. There is not that seeking for the gift of healing and for the gift to be healed that there ought to be among the Saints. And so with other gifts and graces that God has placed in His Church for His people. I say to you that it is our duty to avail ourselves of the privileges which God has placed within our reach."

Friday, October 1, 2010

this life or the next?

"If we are too quick to adapt to the ways of this fleeting and flawed world, that very adjustment will maladapt us for life in the next"

It's sometimes very scary to think the more I love the things of this world the more I'm not ready for the next... because I do love many things of the world, not just things that I "shouldn't" but many beautiful, interesting, yet also trivial and temporary things. we are supposed to be preparing for a better world and i'm not sure the things i do are preparing me all that well... and really, when it all comes down to it, shouldn't EVERYTHING I do be doing so?

Sheri Dew wrote that "this life was designed to be a test -- a test to determine if we want to be part of the kingdom of God more than anything else. Mortality offers a wide range of experiences and opportunities, everything from countless ways to serve our fellowman to an endless array of distractions, deceptions and modes of self-gratification. When all is said and done, perhaps the most fundamental question we each answer is, Do we want to be part of the kingdom of God -- both here on earth and in eternity -- more than we want anything else? And do we demonstrate by our choices and priorities, by how we live our lives -- everything from the way we spend our time and energy to the way we spend our influence and resources -- what we really care about? (from If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard)

But it's hard sometimes to recognize.

In his book Christianity and Culture C.S. Lewis discusses how "the real business of life" is "the salvation of the human soul" (agreeing with what the Lord himself has said, "For this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life on man" Moses 1:39). He explains how he began to Question the worth of culture -- those highly valued natural things, "of intellectual and aesthetic activity" -- to a true christian (and if it is not "good for its own sake or good for man" then, "how are you justified in spending so much of your life on it?"). While I won't get into the mechanics of his foray into answering this question, one thing that came into my mind when I asked myself the same question was the later part of the 13th Article of Faith "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." I think any activity, intellectual, aesthetic, or otherwise must be judge on an individual basis. Does it encourage virtue? Does it exemplify loveliness? Is it worthy of praise for the value it gains in promoting charity or glorifying God? The degrees may change, but if something is can be said to be GOOD, i.e. of God or (according to the dictionary) approved by the standards of the principles of the gospel and possessing/displaying moral virtue (and not merely giving pleasure for the sake of pleasure or advantage in worldly respects) then I think you can begin to make your own determination as to the time you allot to it.

Going back to the quote above from Elder Maxwell, the simplest answer is if what I am doing is not aiding me in my preparation to be a part of the world to come...then it is "maladapting" me. And I really don't have time to waste on it...I need all the preparation I can get!