Monday, May 30, 2016

Blacks and the Priesthood

Today I had an experience that I felt to share not only with my children in this writing, but also to you as you too will likely encounter a similar experience as mine at some point. 

While I was at the gym today I ran into a member of my old McKinney Ward whom has recently left the church. 

As soon as I saw him I knew I should talk to him as I had heard that he had left the church. 

After asking how his family has been I felt to  ask him why he left the church?

His response to me was that his loss of faith began because of the facts that he had learned about Blacks initially not being allowed to hold the Priesthood. 

I was thankful that I was able to explain to him that our Heavenly Father loves all of His children and that His purposes include every race, but that only God knows the depth of His designs of His patterns. 

I then reminded this individual that inittially even when Jesus Christ was on the earth and during His ministry, He did not allow all people to be taught His gospel and baptized into His church.

In Matt. 10:1-6 Jesus gave specific instruction to withhold teaching to specific groups:

" These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them saying, go not into the way of the Gentiles, and in unto any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; But rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as ye go preach saying the Kingdom is at hand."

Thus, if one felt that it was racist to not initially allow all people to have the Priesthood, then they too must believe that Jesus Christ Himself was racist as He did not even share any of the gospel with certain groups - at first. 

I then explained that just like there was a correct time that the gospel could then be preached to all nations, there was also the time later that the Blacks would receive the Priesthood. 

I explained that Jesus Christ knew that His gospel would eventually be given to all of the world as He stated later in His life:

Matt. 24:14 " And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations;and then shall the end come."

And, again Jesus taught after His resurrection - Matt. 28:19 : " Go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." 

So we see that the Lord has His times and seasons for everything. 

The conversation continued and this individual explained that they felt there were so many clicks in the church and that it was all about whom you were friends with as to if you received authority through callings. 

I sympathized a great deal for this person, and explained how sad that experience makes me feel. 

I share that part because I know that if you are reading this now, and you haven't become dis-interested at this point, then you are likely truly care, as I do? I know that the way that we treat these precious brothers and sisters of ours who fall away can make a difference in their future, because remember there was a time that I myself did not attend church - so I know this by experience.

The conversation continued and this individual ended the conversation by saying that no one in the church had yet shown interest in what he thought, up to that point to the extent that I showed that I cared. He explained that most members of the church just avoid and ignore him when they see him. He said that he is not saying that someday he will not go back to the church, but he knows for sure it will not be in McKinney where he felt so dis-included. 

For my children, I hope that you will always look out for those whom seem like they are more quiet, or who seem less comfortable at church. I hope that we can seek to look after those whom need more of our time, and I hope that you will always include those whom seem to be struggling in your prayers. I know that as we do this, we are being His hands in their lives. I know that we will be blessed by them, just as much as we will be blessing them.

I am happy to report that this individual's wife still believes in the church. I feel really blessed that I was able to ask her husband for her phone number so that I might be able to let her know she is loved. 

I continue to be very thankful for the chances that I have to serve Him and His children. I feel like my Heavenly Father is very merciful to me, and blesses me a great deal. 

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Gathering of Israel

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Offer Your Whole Souls To His Work

D&C 30:11 reads , " And your whole labor shall be in Zion, with all of your soul, from henceforth; yea, you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you. Amen.

As I have been pondering this scripture many thoughts have come to my mind. To the world it can seem like we are asked so much of ourselves, but truly this is not a new concept as Jesus Christ Himself taught this same principle to the rich young ruler whom asked what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life? Jesus's response was, " go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast...take up the cross....and follow me." ( Matt.19:16-22 )

Many times this scripture reference is used to explain that we must not hold onto the worldly enticings of wealth, However,  the last sentence also explains what we are so frequently taught in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - To take up our cross and follow Him by sacrificing our time and our talents for His Kingdom.

The cross represents our Savior's entire purpose and work here upon the earth. Of course no one is asked to bear what He has already born for us; but, we are asked to labor with all of our souls or give all that we have to His work.

I know that what we are being asked to do in giving all of our souls to His work is actually a great blessing to us.

 As we work to serve Him and sacrifice in our own ways, we are coming to know Him more.

How can a man whom has never known sacrifice for the Lord even claim to love or be like Him?

I appreciate and love these quotes in regards to the works and sacrifices that we must give in order to know Him:

" A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation." - Joseph Smith

" Sometimes you need to sacrifice something that matters to offer something that matters more for much more than yourself." - unknown

Lastly, I consider the words that Jesus Christ gave Joseph Smith when he had been imprisoned in the winter for four months, sitting on a cold floor, being fed food with poison, and having no proper bathroom to use :

D&C 122:
 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Honor Father and Mother

 A dear friend of mine let me know that she was missing hearing as much about my scripture insights and life stories that I document in books for my children. As I explained to her why my schedule has not allowed me to devote as much time to writing my experiences down, she then reminded me that what I had just explained to her - was definitely something that I should write down, as I learned from the experience  and likely others and my children can as well. She was right. Thank you Kristy Hall :) 

While Jeffrey my sweet Home Health Patient was in the hospital this winter - we all thought it was the end for him, since his Brain Cancer has spread to the point of complete paralysis on the right side of his body. I was asked to take on another client/patient while Jeffrey was in the hospital and soon to pass. 

I had learned so much from taking care of Jeffrey, and this time it was a woman in need. I had hopes to be able to share the gospel in any small way with another dying soul- so I agreed. 

Miraculously, Jeffrey was sent home on Hospice and I have become so close to him and his wife that I am now able to pray with him each morning before I feed him through the feeding tube. It has been wonderful to see the power of prayer work in his life and mine as the transfers from bed to chair have become much easier with a prayer and faith.

Susan was my new patient that I was to see once a week - all day. 

Things were hard with Susan at first. My hopes to share the gospel when feeling prompted and allowed by the Spirit, were going no-where as it seemed that to her - everything that I did was wrong, and not only was everything I did all wrong, but so was everything that everyone else did all wrong in her life. 

I decided I just needed to provide service to her in whatever way she needed even if it seemed  silly to me that her medical needs and care included color coordinating the socks in her dresser drawer as struggled to breath many times a day.

The day that I was able to share with Susan what church that I went to was a great day for me, and I was very thankful to know that Susan had had good experiences with LDS individuals and that she took my testimony sharing well, with out the negative spirit that was most often always felt. 

Weeks went on, and things didn't improve too much with Susan, but.... 

Suddenly no one except me wanted to work with Susan, and although I could not give her more time, she was happy with what I could give her. 

Suddenly Susan began texting me even on the days that I did not work with her. 

She started telling me how she was feeling, like everyone was ignoring how ill that she really was, and that her family was not there for her, but that she was thankful that she at least knew she could talk to me, and I would help her get through it....

Three days before Susan suddenly passed away she told me that, " My parents had raised me right, and that I was her Hero." 

Although this was so nice to hear that I was helping Susan feel happier, I felt so sad that she didn't have the family that she needed at this time in her life. 

I received a call that Susan was in the hospital dying from my Home Health Company and it had been only one day since I last heard from Susan. 

I rushed to the hospital to find Susan's daughter in great great tears and she hugged me and told me, " I have been putting my priorities in the wrong place." 

I told her how much her Mom talked about her, and loved her. 

Susan was incoherent by the time that I reached the hospital. 

I was heart broken for Susan's daughter to experience this. I had told Susan many times that I loved her, even in the very moment that she insulted me, I told her that I loved her... and I meant it....

I had told Susan that I would get a bad grade on a paper if she needed me, just to let me know because she was more important than a grade. 

Her daughter however had not done these things. 

The reason this is part of what I learned and desired to share was because of this....

I felt the very most sad for this daughter who felt that she disrespected her Mother even to the end of her life....

But, the Lord taught me and gave me a tender mercy that I now share with Susan's daughter. 

As I was praying about this daughter I was reminded of something I had learned and read in the Old Testament Student Manual - 

It explains that anytime that a child chooses the right, that is truly the definition of honoring your Father and Mother. 

I realized in that moment that the Savior's Atonement and Grace would also fix this hard experience for Susan's daughter - because Susan surely would be looking down and seeing her daughter honor her name in her choices. She has the chance to show her Mother just how much she loves her as she chooses to do what it right in order to bless her Mother's name. 

This lesson that I learned also came timely with Mother's Day so close because Brooke asked me why we don't talk about our Heavenly Mother? I was able to explain that we do show Her that we love Her through our good choices and that when we love our Father, we also love Her, because they are "One". ( John 17)

So Brooke and Will,
 When I someday pass, please do not worry that you can't show me love in the way that you would like to do so - only remember that it will be your faithfulness to Christ's Restored Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith that will be showering your love for me daily. Only remember that each time that you hang onto the promises that you have made in the Holy Temple, you will be honoring my name, and know that your good choices will still be making me very happy. I will watch as you serve in callings, read the scriptures, and pray with all your hearts - out loud - like I taught you.  

I continue to be very thankful for the experiences that the Lord has allowed me to have as I was prompted to care for the ill by Him. I am eternally thankful that I am given the chance to love and care for His children when others can not yet do so. 

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

" Anytime that a child lives righteously he brings honor to his parents, whether those parents are themselves righteous or wicked."  ( Old Testament Student Manual ) 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

That Your Tongue Shall Be Loosed

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Desires of Our Hearts

Friday, May 6, 2016

Salvation, Greater Work, Answer to Prayer

 D&C 6:13 states, “there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.”

“The world changes constantly and dramatically, constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. “ – L. tom Perry

D&C 82:1, “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no such promise.”

As I understand that of all the gifts that my maker could give me, I am promised as I keep His commandments, I am able more fully appreciate the blessing that I have been given in Eternal Salvation. When I have a bad day, or am feeling down about something, as I remember that I have the greatest gift there ever was, I can feel thankful and happy even amidst adversity.

D&C 7:5-6 explains the principle that the Lord values a “ greater work “ more, as it states, “ I say unto thee Peter, this was a good desire; but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done. Yea, he has undertaken a greater work; therefore I will make him as a flaming fire…”

“I slept and dreamt that life was a joy. I awoke and saw that life was a service. I acted and behold, service was a joy. “- Rabindranath Tagore

Matthew 25:21 The Lord gives the Parable of the Talents as He states, “ And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five, talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. “

As I learn through the principle that the Lord values better and more work, It causes me to consider if I am using all that He has given me, including my circumstances to serve Him the most that I can? It causes me to consider the request that John The Beloved made, in which he desired to never stop his work, but continue on earth as long as possible to bring souls to Christ.

D&C 9:8-10 teaches the principle of coming to our own conclusions and making our own choices by studying questions out in our minds, and then asking in prayer if it is right to receive the answer as it states, “ But behold I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong….”

“The Lord will not do for us what we can and should do for ourselves.” – Ezra Taft Benson

As I understand the principle of coming to my own conclusions and making decisions first and then taking them to the Lord to find confirmation that my plan or choice is correct, I recognize the way that the Lord desires for us to learn and grow, rather than Him just telling us what to do. I see the value of agency in this principle of studying things our in our mind and then taking our choice to prayer.