Friday, May 19, 2017

Judge righteous judgment, John 7:24

I have been thinking about the difference between appreciation and approval. I believe that approval is generally a favorable judgment about someone, or about something that has been proposed or done, due to the merits of that someone or something. Appreciation, on the other hand, involves gratitude for that person or thing, and does not have to include an analysis of the quality of that person or thing, but simply an understanding of the good motives, principles and vision, etc. in the effort, individual, undertaking or thing that is being appreciated.
I believe that all of us are a mixed bag of imperfections and so are not prone to approve of ourselves very often if at all. And we are correspondingly constantly tempted to disapprove of and therefore be disppointed by others or by the outcomes of their efforts. However, we live a far healthier life if we allow ourselves to appreciate ourselves and our efforts, and others and their efforts without, every single time, also encumbering our appreciation with grim shades of disapproval about the things that are less than perfect.
"Judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24) Righteousness involves the virtue of gratitude. And, if you think about the situation referred to in John 7:23: the healing of a man on the Sabbath,  appreciation and gratitude are exactly what the people mentioned in John, chapter 7, got called out on failing incorporate into their response to another's efforts to do good In a way that they deemed imperfect.
A life that has appreciation towards self and others, and gratitude towards others and God, woven throughout it is a sweeter, heathier life.

Monday, May 15, 2017

You came with a unique gift

Each person comes to earth with a unique gift.  As your life unfolds and you take on the work of this life, the task is to put that unique gift at the service of the good work you do.

Your gift doesn't dictate what kind of work you do, but it does play mightily into how you personally do it.

Therefore, resist the temptation to compare the nature of your performance in your good work with the nature of another's performance of a similar good work.   Instead, appreciate the opportunity you have been given to incorporate your unique gift into your good work,  appreciate the diversity around you as others do their good work around you, and enjoy the process

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.