Sunday, May 15, 2016

Thinking about Limhi's description of his situation. Mosiah 7:24-33

And thinking about Germany and France 77 years ago.
What do you do when the people in your country are smitten with sore afflictions and in bondage, and finding that their ways are hedged up and that their work is just creating stumbling blocks, and they are "reaping the chaff of filthiness as in a whirlwind, and the 'east wind' which brings destruction" because of the wicked decisions and action of rulers, authority figures and of "the voice of the people" do you maintain hope?
"But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage."
In other words, you do whatever you can to support those who understand what is righteousness and what is wickedness and who will not be deceived.
You become determined to be, as much as possible, a source of hope and help for the innocent men, women and especially the children who suffer the consequences of the devastating decisions of others.
You grab hold of God's grace with all you've got for the strength and vision required to heal and bless.
You may not live to see the society that you are part of experience the deliverance the Lord may provide, or live to see the healing from the horrendous damage that comes from socially or politically powerful people embracing decisions that bring horribly destructive consequences but you can be a part of the efforts to prepare for that healing and ever seek to lay foundations for it.
People have done so before.
Le Chambon, France

Thursday, May 12, 2016


"...I have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the works which my hands have made...for I rule in the heavens above and the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence..."

A glimpse at the etymology and history of "prudence":

mid 14th century meaning intelligence, discretion, foresight, wisdom to see what is suitable or helpful.

Thomas Aquinas listed it as the first of the four cardinal virtues, defining it as: "wisdom to see what is virtuous"

13th century, from Old French "prudence"

and directly from Latin "prudentia", a forseeing, forsight, sagacity, or practical judgment.

Plato listed it as a cardinal virtue in "Republic". Aristotle defined prudence as recta ratio agibilium, "right reason applied to practice, a phrase Thomas Aquinas used as well..  

Aquinas elaborated further, writing that prudence functions as a principle virtue on which a variety of other excellences hinge. Those excellences include: memory, intelligence, docility, shrewdness, reason, foresight, circumspection, and caution (ST IIaIIae 49.1-8).

It is interesting to contemplate God as the epitome of prudence as well as of wisdom.  And how that should translate into my discipleship is, I think, worth my taking some time to consider.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Rephrasing 1st Peter, chapter 1 and a bit of chapter 2

Dear far away, as yet unmet, friends who have come to recognize and be changed by the Spirit of the Lord such that you have embraced repentance and discipleship. I wish you much grace and peace.

Thanks be to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ whose abundant mercy has enabled you to be born again to new hope, which hope in you upon started upon learning of Jesus' resurrection,

You rejoice greatly in this, even during the times when temptations come and your faith is tried. Your faith in the Lord is more precious than gold, but that does not mean it will not be tried to the extreme. There is reason to rejoice, even through those fiery trials of faith, for trials of faith can, if you continue in faith, prepare you for experiences full of praise, honor and glory when you meet Jesus Christ again.

You have not met Him, but you love Him. And even though you have not met Him or seen Him, you believe and experience the joy and rejoicing and sense of glory that comes from that decision to believe Him. And that, you will find, fills you with a sense of what will be the ultimate result of your faith: the salvation of your soul: the ability to stand, blameless and free and full of love, in the presence of God.

For centuries prophets prophesied of the wonderful gift of daily grace from God that you would experience, and asked and diligently searched to find out when the suffering and atonement of Christ would happen and when the particularly glorious hope that would follow that would begin.

It was revealed to them that it would not happen during their lifetimes, but, nonetheless, they did teach and testify of it coming. And you have experienced the arrival of that wonderful gift as you listened to those who have preached the gospel to you and taught with the Spirit of the Lord. Angels in heaven love watching that happen.

So, set your mind to be faithful, brave, and ready to do God's work. Be sober. Continue hopeful and continue living expecting the amazing grace that is to be

You are called to be obedient children of God, not just people following our appetites or passions as you were before you understood. Be holy in your conversations. The scriptures have taught us that, as followers of the Holy One, he has called us to be holy.

You know that you were not redeemed with money. Payment for sin is not made with physical things. You were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. The old way of making a sacrifice with an unblemished lamb was a foretelling of this ultimate sacrifice for your redemption.

Christ was appointed to this work of redemption before the world was created but He carried it out during your current time. You believe in God, the Father. And it was God, the Father, who raised Him from the dead and gave him glory so that you might have this faith and hope in God that you have now.

You have been obeying truth as the Spirit teaches it to you in such a way that you have learned to honestly love those who have taught you. In that same manner you must also learn to love one another purely and fully. You can do that because you have been born again through your embracing of the living and eternal word of God and his grace in your life.

So, humbly and soberly call upon God, the Father, who does not play favorites, but judges and knows you, and everyone else, fairly and completely. ( a sobering thought)

We are mortals with mortal bodies and mortal ideas. Mortal bodies and ideas and their accompanying mortal glory, like grass and flowers, eventually wither. But the word of the Lord endures forever. And this enduring word of the Lord is what has directed the teaching of the gospel to you.

So lay aside all malice, any wishing of harm to others, any desire to deceive others, and all hypocrisy, envying or speaking ill of others.  Instead, humble yourself; hunger and thirst after the word of the Lord.  The word of the Lord is as essential to our spiritual growth and our living in grace as milk is to a baby's physical growth and health.  We thirst must for it. We cannot grow or thrive in grace or understanding without it.