Friday, April 07, 2017

3 Nephi 27:13-14

“I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
“And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that i had been lifted up upon tbe cross, that I mighy draw all men unto me."

"As Latter-day Saints, we refer to His mission as the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which made resurrection a reality for all and made eternal life possible for those who repent of their sins and receive and keep essential ordinances and covenants.
"It is doctrinally incomplete to speak of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice by shortcut phrases, such as “the Atonement” or “the enabling power of the Atonement” or “applying the Atonement” or “being strengthened by the Atonement.” These expressions present a real risk of misdirecting faith by treating the event as if it had living existence and capabilities independent of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
"Under the Father’s great eternal plan, it is the Savior who suffered. It is the Savior who broke the bands of death. It is the Savior who paid the price for our sins and transgressions and blots them out on condition of our repentance. It is the Savior who delivers us from physical and spiritual death.
"There is no amorphous entity called “the Atonement” upon which we may call for succor, healing, forgiveness, or power. Jesus Christ is the source. Sacred terms such as Atonement and Resurrection describe what the Savior did, according to the Father’s plan, so that we may live with hope in this life and gain eternal life in the world to come. The Savior’s atoning sacrifice—the central act of all human history—is best understood and appreciated when we expressly and clearly connect it to Him"

Russell Nelson, April 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

Paul explaining the Atonement of Christ and, as we embrace it, the effect of that upon our relationship with the Father and with each other, Ephesians 2

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
... For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both [us and Him] one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us and God];
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity [we have with God]…for to make in himself of twain [us and Him] one new man, so making peace [with God];
...And that he might reconcile both [Himself and us] unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity [between us and God] thereby:
For through him we... have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

New England, Architecture and Libraries.

Oh my.

The Athenaeums of New England


I think I may have found my perfect combination of destinations for a road trip vacation.  :-)

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/property/blog/2016/03/01/new-england-athenaeums/





Monday, March 13, 2017

Psalm 82:1-5

God standeth in the congregation of the mighty;....

“How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?
“Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
“Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.”

[sigh] They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

Psalm 82:1-5

Grateful for the many individuals in the world who do know and understand that call to defend and deliver and who, in spite of “all the foundations of the earth [being] out of course” proceed according to that understanding.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Matthew 16:24-26

I few weeks ago I read Pastor Joel Tooley's report of a post-election political campaign rally he recently attended in which he felt called upon to protect a mother and child who were being physically threatened and the experience of the threats and vile language that he, his young daughter as well as the woman and her child experienced.

And then in my scripture reading a few days later (Matthew 16) I read, again, this verse

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, 'If any will come after me, let him come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosover will lose his life for my sake shall find it.  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'"

And I was struck that, unlike the point made the various Bible commentaries I've read about this passage that talk about the importance of maintaining your faith and your truth-speaking about Jesus, in spite of persecution, for me this is more.  It is about being willing to be uncomfortable, tired, exhausted, brave in the face of fear, and to suffer emotional or physical pain and even experience death as a consequence of living Jesus' commandments to love, feed, protect, visit, help, educate and succor those you are called, as a disciple, to assist.

In Jesus' time, each condemned man or woman carried his her own cross, the very thing upon which they would suffer and die.

And for us, taking up the work that we do as disciples is, in fact, carrying with us, always, a work that, if we do it right, will result in our being in situations that will result in our suffering fear or pain, and, for some of us, physical death, as we love, feed, protect, visit, teach, succor and help.

And the call is to do that difficult, often courageous, work when we encounter it, and not just simply keeping ourselves and our families safe, refreshed,  happy or comfortable in the blessings of the gospel.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Listening and confidence

In a meeting or on the phone….

Note:  This is not a post that is written in response  to national or regional politics.  Though there may be some tangential connections, my thoughts here are directed at interactions with people who are speaking to you or to a group with which you have elected to gather in order to listen to them.  This is not about our responses to soundbites and debates in the news media or our responses to the individuals who show up in those soundbites and debates.  That is fodder for another post.

Recently I sat in a meeting where a woman that I dearly love spoke of truths I understand.

I have noticed that when  I love a well-meaning person who is speaking at a meeting or in a personal conversation, the virtuous positions they espouse sink more deeply into my heart than when I am reserved in my affection for him or her.  And, similarly, when listening to someone I dearly love espouse understanding that I think  is seriously flawed, I am more easily able to forgive and  and not be overwhelmed with sorrow, anger or dismay over the less virtuous positions he or she may advocate than when I am reserved in my affection,  and, from there, simply continue on wisely and well  in what I understand  to be wisest and best.

So, I am learning, brotherly love not only increases my ability to recognize and embrace what is wise and good, but it also increases my ability to proceed in that good path wisely and confidently, minimally upset by misguided and wrong statements pronounced by someone who means well but does not understand or even rejects  the good that I understand.

Therefore, when I am  seated in a meeting, or am in a conversation, listening to a well-meaning person who doesn’t understand the goodness or virtue that  I understand and love, if I feel  my anger and frustration levels rising, or my sorrow start to become overwhelming, I may wish to take stock of my personal commitment to the development and practice of brotherly love.

I have learned that though anger or angst or dismay  may impel me to higher levels of energy, brotherly love gives me greater ability to proceed, undisturbed, in the course I understand to be wisest, most virtuous and best with greater effectiveness and with calm confidence when someone  who I think should know better because of the evidence and information they have, rejects that course.

 “Let thy bowels be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God…”
Doctrine and Covenants 121:45

Confidence in what you believe is good, maintained in a soul committed to brotherly love, I have found, is more effective,  unperturbable, and empowering than confidence in what you believe is good mixed with angst, dismay, frustration or anger brought on because you have not yet chosen  brotherly love in a relationship with someone who is espousing what you believe is a very wrong course.  Charity towards all, regardless of the presence or total absence of mutual comprehension,  does, it seems, directly affect your ability to move forward with calm, unaffected confidence.

As a side note,  over 40 years ago a  teacher once asked why I thought the phrase “and to the household of faith” was in that verse, above, in Doctrine and Covenants 121 that speaks of waxing strong in confidence as one pursues a virtuous course of thinking and action.   Why  mention that household when that subset is already part of the set of “all men”.  I have thought about that question many times.

I think I understand better now why that is there.


Monday, February 06, 2017

A Guide to Letting Go of Your Perfectly Good Things

This post is from Zoe Kim who blogs on http://www.theminimalistplate.com/

Keeping it here for future reference and discussion.

Finding our lives under everything we own is more than clearing away just junk. Often it requires removing good quality things. Expensive things. Useful things. Admired things. Fancy things. It means letting go of perfectly good stuff in order to pursue something more meaningful.
began de-owning my excess six years ago. My husband deployed frequently and we had two children under five. I was spending more time doing something with our stuff than doing something with my family.
With my husband half-way across the world, the kids and I had to pack up to move again. It was our third move in six years, but this one was just down the street. How difficult could that be?
Well, the process of personally packing, unpacking, and organizing all of our stuff drained the joy right out of me—for two months. I wanted to take my kids to the beach, play at the park, and listen to their laughter. But I was exhausted, and stressed. Busy taking care of all our stuff.
It was in that stress, exhaustion, and desire to live better that I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment. I began to see the real cost of our stuff— and it was way overpriced!
I started peeling away the layers of excess. And I was on a roll—until I hit that layer of perfectly good things! Valuable things that people spent much time and life to purchase. I felt wasteful and sick at the thought of giving it away. This was good stuff— wasn’t it? Maybe so. But I was learning, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” —Henry Thoreau
It is possible to break through the layer of perfectly good things. Through the process, I learned these practical steps:
1. Accept the mistake. Often, we will see many mistakes as we start to purge all the ‘good stuff.’ Acknowledge it was a mistake so you can move on. Keeping something that does not add value to your life keeps you stuck holding on to the mistake.
2. Shift your perspective. As I journey further into minimalism, I realized there is far more joy in giving things away than can ever be found in owning more.
3. Designate a spot. In the beginning, I would walk through my house and see things I thought I wanted to donate but they stayed put until I set up a spot to start putting it all. Set up a box, closet or room to place your donation items. Remove them from your house often.
4. Community. Share your excess with your community. Donate books to schools and libraries. Donate clothing and other household goods to local foster care organizations, shelters, and your local food pantry.
5. Experiment. Experimentation by elimination has helped me shed the layers of good stuff quicker. I simplified my beauty and bath routine by removing 60-80% of my products. Much to my surprise, many things I kept had no real value to my day.
6. Keep your eye on your why. In times of discouragement, make a choice to focus on why you are giving perfectly good things away. Remember, you’re giving up the good for the best.
7. Ask yourself better questions.
Does it serve its purpose—to serve my purpose?
We’re often not consciously thinking about our motives when we keep things, but everything has a cost. How much are you willing to sacrifice your passion and purpose for possessions? Some of our things serve a purpose. The important things give our lives meaning and joy. The useless ones just drain our time.
Can this be useful to someone else?
When we hold on to good things we do not need, we keep them from being helpful to others. I used to think it would be wasteful just to give things away that were barely used or not used at all—especially if they weren’t cheap. But then I thought, what if I just own my mistake in buying this thing by giving it away.
Would I leave this as someone else’s’ responsibility?
With my spouse deployed in harm’s way, I was expected to plan. I filled out the spouse deployment form—pages filled with detailed questions and answers should my husband be killed. Experiences like these gave me more prudence. What will the state of my stuff look like when I’m no longer here? Do I enjoy this enough to leave if for someone to take care of—because it will be my family taking care of it someday?
How do you want to live your life?
Own too much, and you’ll live a life owned by your stuff. Say yes when you should say no and you’ll live a life organized by others. Keep more than you need, and you’ll give less to those in need.
The journey to minimalism might look like it’s about going through and purging your possessions. But it’s much more about going through your heart. “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” Marie Kondo
I’ve often wondered if I would have journeyed into minimalism had we not experienced the active duty military life. If we hadn’t moved so often and been stretched in stress, would I have kept it all put-away—like organized hoarding happily?
Nonetheless, I’m grateful for the experiences which brought me to the path to living more intentionally with a lot less.
***
ZoĆ« Kim blogs at The Minimalist Plate where she inspires others to live an intentional life by owning less, creating new habits, and cultivating opportunities to give.