What Is Reverence?

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Reverence is an attitude of deep respect, and love, for something sacred.

So, what do we deem as sacred in our own lives?

We should realize that our families are as sacred as Deity.  That said, family life should be filled with love and deep respect for each member of our family.

As we look at today, we see the “me” generation.  Our focus is usually on ourselves.  This focus is misplaced if we have a family.

“My time,” was when you and I were single.  We had lots of experiences and time to develop ourselves and enjoy our lives before we started a family.  Hopefully, we have matured enough to realize our place as parents is to give each of our children opportunities to grow and develop and enjoy “their time.” 

Are we willing to give our time to be with our children at those special times which we often fondly recall years later as having been pivotal?

Do we remember that our own spouse is the person that we, alone, have chosen?  We have married and made commitments with vows to love and honour him/her.

Some of us may sometimes feel that being attached to another person is not convenient for us, especially when in the presence of someone else we feel may fill “my” needs better than our  spouses.

“Fill my needs” is a telling attitude.  It is a selfish one.  We are in a family where we have vowed to fill “their” needs before our own.  When we act selfishly, we often forget the needs of our spouses and children.

Family life can be hard.  It stretches and strains us. It can be uncomfortable at times. Family life is full of challenges, problems, and sacrifices.  While working through these challenges, parents learn to become unselfish, wise team players and able to strengthen their own family.  These experiences naturally lead us to love our family members deeply. 

We enjoy watching each of our children grow and mature.  We enjoy becoming closer to our own spouse, enjoying the interplay and fun we have, and growing together by turning our challenges into stepping stones.

There is no handbook for being a wife or husband.  Sometimes we do not know how to handle a problem. 

“When in doubt, work it out.” (together)

Talk openly as husband and wife and communicate honestly.  Husbands do not think like wives and wives do not think like husbands.  This is good.  Different perspectives are essential when tackling family problems.  When there are deep love and caring between husband and wife, we can always find the right answers.

It is far better to do the hard right thing than the easy wrong thing.  Reverencing our own family is the hard right thing.

My Ways Are Higher Than Your Ways

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“My ways are higher than your ways.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

8  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

9  “For As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

I do not profess to know the thoughts of God.  From my experience learning about Him, I can say that one reason His thoughts are higher than our thoughts is because He is so much more righteous than we are.

Jesus Christ, His son and our older brother, gave us perfect examples of righteousness.  Every word Christ spoke, every lesson He taught direct us to become better, or more righteous.

All God’s commandments and Christ’s teachings, if followed, will lead us to a happier, more righteous life.

Why is righteousness so important?

Think of the complete opposite of righteousness: evil.  Webster says evil is “ morally bad or wrong, wicked, depraved; causing pain or trouble, harmful, injurious, sin.  Anything that causes harm, pain, misery.”

Webster defines righteousness as “Acting in a just, upright manner, doing what is right; virtuous; morally right or justifiable.”

We are bombarded with evil every day of our lives.  How can we learn to become righteous if we do not understand how to overcome evil?

God has given us two opposites to choose from:  good or evil.  He wants us to overcome evil and become more righteous like He is.

God has given us the Ten Commandments to help us.  In case you have never read them, here they are:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not worship any graven image.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

Thou shalt honour they father and they mother.

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Thou shalt not covet.

God, our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, have given us teachings on how to overcome evil and become more righteous like They are. 

Christ said:  “Love one another as I have loved you.” 

We can become more righteous by implementing these teaching into our lives.

Where Will My Eternity Be?

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Where will my eternity be?

Our mortal minds cannot comprehend something that does not end.  Trying to comprehend eternity is like trying to arrive at the end of space.  There is no end to space.

Eternity is life after our death and resurrection that goes on forever.

If we will live forever, where will we live?

The Bible states that there are two places we can go: heaven or hell.

We will go to the place we qualify to go according to the amount of righteousness we have incorporated into our lives here on earth.

I think one definition of hell can be looking at what might have been and realizing we can’t have that because of our choices.

Someone has said:  “The saddest words of tongue and pen, are the words, it might have been.”

Think of these words going through your brain forever, knowing you could have done better.  This would be hell for me.

Mortal life is our time to prepare to meet God.  This life is our testing time.  What choices will we make?

Little do most of us realize that the choices we make each day, each week, each year, impact our eternal life.  Our compiled choices determine where we will live throughout eternity.

Life is not about the amount of money we accumulate, the number of toys we have in our garages, the prestige of our jobs, or where we vacation.  The purpose of our mortal lives should be to build a strong relationship with God; to keep His commandments and become better than we now are.

If we choose not to find time for God during our mortal lives, where will we end up living our eternity in the places where God has created?

There is life after death.  There is resurrection for all of us.  There are all those unnumbered days of eternity before us.

Which place are we choosing to live our eternity by the choices we make today?

What Is Agency?

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Agency is a most priceless gift from God.  It is the right given to us to make our own choices.

God gave us this gift  when we were just spirits living with Him before we were born on earth.  We continue to have this right as we live our lives as mortals.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why no one else can know your thoughts?  Why can’t your parents or husband or wife or your children or friends know your thoughts?  Sometimes they think they know, but they are just guessing.

The answer to this question has everything to do with agency.

If others could know your thoughts, they could influence you. When your thoughts are completely private, you alone are responsible for them.

Your thoughts direct your life.  You act on your thoughts.  You make choices as a result of your thoughts.  Your choices impact your life and the lives of others.

What is the Purpose of Agency?

When we are free to make our own choices regarding everything in our lives, the choices we make compiled together make us who we become. 

Will we overcome our challenges?  Will we change our weaknesses into strengths?  Will we learn to repent of our sins and forsake them?  Will we learn to love others, forgive them, be kind to them? 

Will we become calloused?  Will our hearts become cold?  Will we seek revenge?  Will we harbour hate in our hearts?

Who and what will we choose to become because of our choices?  No one else is responsible for the choices we have chosen to make.

What is the Result of Agency?

When our lives are finished and we stand before God to be judged for the life we have chosen to live, our choices will judge us.  How do our own choices compare with God’s standard?

Have we learned the lessons of life and chosen to soften our hearts, repent, make righteous choices to serve, help and love others as Christ has taught us to do?  Have our choices made us worthy to live with Heavenly Father again,  or will we not qualify to stand in His presence because of the choices we alone have chosen to make?  Are our hearts too full of hate, envy, strife, or malice to stand in His presence?

Agency given by God is His way of allowing each of His spirit children to become what they choose to become while living as mortals on the earth. 

What Is The Purpose Of Life?

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We mortals living on this earth do not know much about where we lived before we came here or about God.  Just trying to comprehend eternity makes our heads swim.

A definition of eternity is something that never ends.  Things that never end are foreign to our mortal experience.  Everything pertaining to our mortal lives will end, infancy, childhood, puberty, the teen years.  Marriage ends at death. 

We mature into people who are wise, strong and capable.  When we feel we are at our best, we need glasses.  Then our hearing goes.  We need a mouth full of new teeth.  We see wrinkles on our faces.  Our skin begins to sag. We lose strength.

If we die of natural causes, there is not much left of us.

Your question may be:  Why?  What is mortality all about anyway?  What is the purpose of life?

God says that this life is a time for testing.  He tests us through the decisions we choose to make. He has given us the power to choose.  He has given us two opposite powers to choose from: good and evil.

We are allowed to make our own choices in this mortal life.  Some choices are good,  Some choices are not so good.  We learn from our mistakes.  Some mistakes we make are called sin. 

The consequences of sin make us no longer worthy to live with our Heavenly Father where we lived when we were just spirits before we were born on earth.

It is God’s plan that all those who love Him, repent, keep His commandments and enter into sacred covenants with Him, will be worthy to live with Him again. 

There was only one sinless man who lived on earth: Jesus Christ.  He became our saviour.  He suffered for all of our sins,  and for all the sins of mankind.

In order to be worthy to live with God again, we must repent of our sins, forsake them and turn our lives toward Christ.  God expects us to keep His commandments.  That’s why He gave them to us.

What is the purpose of life?

Most of us do not realize that God’s purpose for our mortal life is to refine us.  Will we learn how to love others?  Will we learn to serve others?  Will we choose to overcome our selfish selves?

 Mortal life is full of trials.  We get sick.  We experience sorrow and disappointment.  We have temptations.  We may lose all our money.  We may experience war and become refugees. 

The purpose of life is to be tested by all of our trials, disappointments, and sorrows.  Will we choose to become better or will we choose to be overwhelmed because of them?  It all comes down to our own choices.  Will we choose the easy path or the hard one?

Will we choose to pass God’s tests and be refined by them, follow Christ and become more like our Heavenly Father?

What Do You Stand For?

What_do_you_stand_forWhat Has Happened To Good Old Fashioned Truth and Honesty?

Nowadays, it is hard to find someone who esteems honesty.  In some areas, honesty seems to have disappeared altogether.

More leaders in the auto industry have authorized dishonest statistics given for their cars.  Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda, and Mitsubishi have joined Volkswagen in giving misleading facts to potential buyers.  They have all fudged their numbers. Their leaders are propagating lies about the quality of their cars.

Believing the words of our political leaders is questionable.  We know some of their words are just rhetoric.

What is reported in the news as facts are sometimes far from what actually happened.  Many reported facts have been changed from what is true for political or financial, reasons or to protect the guilty.

On a personal basis, people seem to think to be dishonest or to lie is okay if it gets them what they want.

We can trace part of this change back to when God was taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools.  God represented honesty and truth.  When God was no longer seen as relevant, focus shifted away from honesty and truth.  As those school children grew up, honesty and truth were not even considered as important.

This is not just happening in one or two countries. The world is in a moral spiral downward.

It is true that truth and honesty are old fashioned.  Perhaps we are happier upholding falsehoods in our modern “enlightened” society.

I think there are still a great number of people throughout the world who live by what is true, honest, fair, and righteous.  These are those people who have a strong moral compass directed by a dedicated commitment to a higher power. 

Some call that power, God. In this world, God can have many faces.

For me, God is my Heavenly Father.  His son, Jesus The Christ, is my redeemer.  They teach  eternal truth.  I love Them.  I believe Them.  I choose to follow Their teachings. I stand for what is honest and true.

Following Christ has become my eternal journey. 

What about you? What do you stand for?

It’s Not My Fault!

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“It’s not my fault!”

These words, spoken at some time by most of us, uncover an unwanted need to take on personal responsibility.  People of all ages say it.  It’s easy to blame others and cover up our own under achievements. The longer we sidestep, the more ridiculous our reasoning becomes.

“My boss screwed up again!”

When we put the blame on others, we remain on the static side, stuck where we are, not willing to take on the “R” word.  Some people shudder at the thought of “responsibility.”

The funny thing is. . .those who have progressed from “it’s not my fault,”  to “I’ll take my responsibility,” can see through our lame excuses.

We, on the other hand, cannot.

It usually takes someone else’s words, which uncover our immature reasoning, to jolt us out of our comfortable blaming rut before we start realizing others can see through our excuses.

After we decide to face the responsibilities we have and take them on, we finally realize the difference just changing our attitude makes to our own lives.  When the results are life changing, why is it so hard to do?

Maturing can sometimes be seen as a dreaded burden.  We want to remain carefree with no worries.  There is no pleasure in procrastinating our own maturing.  Once we have embraced the process, It almost makes us want to leap in the air for joy!  Our lives change.

Our employer’s face lights up when he hears us say,

“I will.  I did.”

Our family looks at us in a different way.  Instead of frowning when we explain for the umpteenth time that someone else screwed, up to beaming when they hear our words:

“It was my fault.  I will do better.”

Our children’s expressions are the most heartwarming of all when they are delighted to see us in the audience.

But the most important change is to our own selves.   We feel equal when we pull our own weight at work.  We feel loved and appreciated when our families can depend on us.

Changing our attitude about responsibility is such a simple thing.  The decision to change is the difficult part.  After we make that decision and accept our responsibilities, we open the door that allows us to become who we are meant to become. 

Christ said, “Men are that they might have joy.”

Let us all feel the joy of walking in His path, accepting our responsibilities  and becoming more like Him.

Agency is the Right We Have to Make Our Own Earthly Choices

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Agency is a God-given Blessing.

When we were born to this earth, God gave us a body and the right to make our own choices.

How important to our future are the choices we make every day?

Everyone has the capacity to make choices, even small children.  Wise parents teach their children how to make wise choices.  The choices we have before us are endless: good, bad, wise, foolish.  We can become anything we want with the choices we make each day.

We learn from our choices.  We can all think of one choice we wish we had not made.  Next time, we will never make that choice again.  Making wrong choices is an essential way to learn to make the right ones.

Our choices define us. Every choice we make compiled year by year, makes us what we eventually become.  Why is this important?

We create the kind of life we will live throughout eternity by the choices we make each day.

The most important choice we make during our lives is what we choose to believe about God, our Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.  That choice alone will have the greatest impact on our immortal lives.

Why did God give us the right to choose our belief about Him and His Son?   What we believe about God and Christ, without outside interference, is the choice we want to make.  It shows God who we really are.

That choice, more than any other, determines where we will live our eternity.

Although Christ is not an important part of most people’s lives, each of us will stand before Him to be judged.  He will ask each of us:

“What have you done with your agency as you lived your life on earth?”

  “What have you become?”

  “What have you learned?”

“Have you kept my commandments?”

John 14:21  “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

Our choices earn us the place where we will live through our eternity and how close or how far from our Father in Heaven and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, we can be.

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29

christ's hand.jpgHow did Christ do it?

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ suffered for all our sins: yours and mine.  His suffering would be so great, it caused Him to ask His Father in Heaven to “remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.”  Luke 22:42

Christ volunteered to become our Savior in His pre mortal life and our Heavenly Father agreed.  Because our Father in Heaven knew that each of us would sin in some way while we live on this earth and become unworthy to re-enter Father’s presence, His plan was to provide a Savior for us.  

It was decided that Christ would come to earth and become the Savior of all humankind. Not only did He suffer for our sins, He “. . . himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” Matthew 8:17  

Just think of all your suffering in your life: your sins, your weaknesses, your sicknesses. Add all the suffering of everyone else: all humankind.  Add that suffering for each year mankind has been living on the earth. 

His suffering was so great that blood came out of His skin.  “And his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”  Luke 22:44

Christ overcame hell.  Hell is state of unworthiness to live with our Heavenly Father again because we committed sin in this life. By suffering for all the sins of humankind, the sinless Christ opened the door for each of us to live with our Heavenly Father again, if we would repent of our sins, follow Christ, and keep our Father’s commandments.

Then they took Him, pounded great spikes into His hands and into His feet and hung Him on a cross and crucified Him.

Christ overcame death.  He was the first to be resurrected.   Because of Christ’s resurrection, He gave each of us the gift to overcome death and be resurrected also.

Easter is the time for us to remember the atonement and resurrection of Christ.

I invite each of you to view the following short video about Christ’s atonement and resurrection.

https://www.mormon.org/easter

Handel’s Messiah

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At this Easter season, we usually have the opportunity to see and listen to Handel’s Messiah.  It is one of the greatest musical works of all time.

George Frideric Handel, a German  born in 1685 was drawn to musical instruments.  His father wanted him to study civil law.  But as a small boy, George loved the sounds his instruments made and the feelings he experienced when he heard them play.  His father forbade George from playing his instruments and called it “musical nonsense”.

We do not know how Goerge smuggled the small clavichord into his room.  He played it, ever so quietly at night while his family slept.  It was at night, alone in his room, that he discovered the magic music would play in his life.

As an eight-year-old, he slipped away from his family, and slid onto the organ bench at church and began playing the postlude.  By the age of 26, he was writing operas and oratorios.

When he was 56  he received a manuscript from Charles Jennens, a poet, who wrote a poem about the life of Jesus Christ. That manuscript changed his life and changed his music.  Handel wrote the “Messiah” in just 23 days.  His “gift” has been enjoyed and appreciated by music lovers since that day.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has partnered with people and choirs of other denominations in churches around the world to create the world’s largest virtual choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus together.  It is awesome to watch and inspiring to hear.

This piece of music is doing what churches have not been able to do:  bring people of different faiths together in a few joyful minutes of singing praises to their saviour, Jesus Christ.  Powerful.

This single act of singing together proves that no matter who we are, where we live or what denomination we believe in, we can joyfully express our love to our Saviour, Jesus Christ, with our friends of all denominations.

To all of you who love Jesus Christ, I invite you to listen to this piece.  Go to youtube.  Type in Virtual #Hallelujah Chorus.   You can sing along too.