Tuesday, July 31, 2012

May you keep the flame of your Testimony burning brightly

There will be times when you will face challenges which might jeopardize your testimony, or you may neglect it as you pursue other interests. I plead with you to keep it strong. It is your responsibility, and yours alone, to keep its flame burning brightly. Effort is required, but it is effort you will never, ever regret. I’m reminded of the words of a song written by Julie de Azevedo Hanks. Referring to her testimony, she wrote:

Through the winds of change, encircled by clouds of pain, I guard it with my life, I need the warmth  I need the light, though the storm will rage, I stand against the pounding rain, I remain A keeper of the flame.

May you believe and then may you keep the flame of you Testimony burning brightly, come what may.

Finally, may you endure. What does it mean to endure? I love this definition: to withstand with courage. Courage may be necessary for you to believe; it will at times be necessary as you obey. It will most certainly be required as you endure until that day when you will leave this mortal existence.

Thomas S. Monson

Logan Temple
"When filled with God's love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us."
John H. Groberg

"Of course, we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God's approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully, but also as a determination to live decently. A moral coward is one who is afraid to do what he thinks is right because others will disapprove or laugh. Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well."
Thomas S. Monson

"Courage is acting in spite of fear." Howard W. Hunter

"Courage is the art of being the only one who knows that you are afraid."

"A man full of courage is also full of faith." Cicero

"Courage doesn't always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
'I will try again tomorrow.'"

"Courage is the first of human qualities, because it is the quality which guarantees all others."  Winston Churchill

"Be Strong and of a Good Courage"
By Hilary Weeks
I just finished reading a book called, "The Chosen."  It is the story of a friendship between two Jewish boys, Danny and Reuven.  Danny is faced with the challenge of answering difficult questions about the Talmud, testing his knowledge and depth, in front of an entire congregation every week.  Reuven complains to his father about how unfair and cruel it seems to have to participate in something so "terrible in front of everybody."  Reuven's father replies, "It is a little cruel, Reuven.  But that is the way the world is.  If a person has a contribution to make, he must make it in public.  If learning is not made public, it is a waste."
When I read that sentence it rang very true in my own life and many of the experiences I have had through speaking, singing and performing.  I understand a little bit about what it means to make a contribution in public.  I have mentioned before that I love to sing...just not in front of people.  Well, at least I didn't use to.  Singing in public used to terrify me.  I would get so nervous before a performance - even weeks before!  On the day of a performance I would hardly be able to eat a thing (and I love to eat!)  It was all I could do to get myself to take the stage.  I worried about everything.  What if I forgot the words?  What if I had to cough in the middle of the song?  What if I hit the wrong note?  What if I spontaneously combusted?  (Well...you never know, it could happen.)
The only thing that helped, the only thing that got me through and gave me courage was prayer.  I plead for Heavenly help before every performance.  And Heaven never let me down.  Many years and countless experiences later, I am not afraid to sing in public.  I still get the butterflies, but I can live with that.  Over time, one habit has stayed with me and that is to pray before each and every performance.  In a very deep and profound way, I am grateful for the fear the Lord allowed me to feel because it allowed me to feel so many other things...strength in the arms of the Savior, confidence in His power, faith in His ability to help me succeed, peace knowing that He would walk with me.  If I had never felt such genuine fear, I would never have felt such geniune love.  I would never have turned to the Savior like I did.
I would like to believe that I'm not the only one who has ever been afraid of something.  I'd like to think that every person who reads this is able to relate because you have faced fear straight in the eyes.  While I believe that the Lord allows us to experience fear as a means of accomplishing so many different ends, He also helps us overcome our fears when we turn to Him for help.
In the New Testiment, the book of John chapters 14-16 contain the last discourse the Savior gives to His disciples.  The first verse of that discourse reads: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."  The last verse of that discourse says: "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."  The first and the last verse both speak of courage.
when Joshua was just about to lead the children of Israel into the promised land the Lord told him something four times in one chapter.  And when the Lord repeats Himself, He wants (and expects, if I may add) us to listen.  In the first chapter of Joshua verses 6, 7, 9 and 18 the Lord says:
"Be strong and of a good courage."
"Only be thou strong and very courageous."
"Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid."
"Only be strong and of a good courage."
Well, I don't know about you, but I am starting to get the point.  I can be courageous.  I know I can, because I have tried and succeeded with the Savior's help.  I have done things that have taken all the courage I felt I had and I felt the Lord with me, by me, supporting me.  He wants us to be courageous.  He will lead.  He will guide.  Our contributions are worth making - even, and maybe especially, when they must be made in public.  Somehow He makes everything work for our good (and everyone elses,) just as He promises.

He will lead us exactly where we need to go

By Emily Freeman
Acts 26:28 – Romans 2:23
The lesson found in Acts 27 is, by far, my most favorite story in the book of Acts.  The heading explains that Paul, in a perilous voyage, travels to Rome.
The season is late fall, sometime in the middle of October.  Winter is fast approaching, and “sailing was now dangerous.” (Acts 27:9)  With what must have taken great courage, Paul, who was a prisoner, approached the centurion saying, “Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.” (vs. 10)
But his advice was not heeded “Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.” (vs. 11)  The master felt that the haven they were in was not a good place to winter; he wanted to try to make it to Crete.  Because the south wind blew softly, he felt confident in his decision and began the journey.
Not long after the journey started they encountered a tempestuous wind called Euroclydon, known and feared for its destructive power.  The storm became so powerful the ship could not be steered, and the captain finally had to let go of the controls and let the ship steer herself.  As the storm intensified, the men began undergirding the ship, tying it together with rope so that it wouldn’t break apart in the storm.
On the second day of the storm they lightened the ship, throwing overboard everything they could do without.  On the third day they threw out the tackling.  Several days went by under complete and heavy cloud cover so dense they could not see sun or stars.  They had lost the power to navigate, and the scriptures tell us, “all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.”  (Acts 27:20)
I love what happens next.
It seems Paul, who had known all along what was going to happen, waited patiently until this point.  “But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me.” (vs. 21)
I always get a giggle out of this told-you-so moment.
But I also recognize that his hesitation and patience were an important part of the lesson that was about to come.  During the days of storm these men had let go of their excess baggage, they had secured what was most important, and they had lost all ability to rely on their own strength or intelligence in navigating their course.  Just when it seemed all hope was lost, in the moment of greatest humility, Paul began to teach.  His sermon was a powerful one.
“Now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul;  thou must be brought before Caesar:  and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.  Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. 
Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.”  (Acts 27:22-26)
Within this sermon Paul teaches four important lessons.
I like to call them anchor points.
First, he testified of his trust in God, “Whose I am, and whom I serve.”  Second, he explained how the angel told him, “Thou must be brought before Caesar.”  God had a purpose in mind for him and Paul knew it would come to pass.  Third, he said, “Be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as he told me.”  Faith in God was something Paul would not turn his back on.  Last, he said, “we must be cast upon a certain island.”  Paul knew that God knew what the end would be, that they were in God’s hands and known of Him.
When we find ourselves on a perilous journey, I wonder if we could learn from these four anchor points:  to trust God whom we serve, to know that He has a purpose for us, to have absolute faith in Him,
 to remember He is mindful of us.
You might be wondering why I call these anchor points.  It is because of what happens next.  When the fourteenth night came the men began to worry that they were close to shore.  Fearing that they might hit rocks “they cast out four anchors… and wished for the day.”  (Acts 27:29)
Just as Paul had done with his four anchors spiritually, in the midst of the storm and the doubt, they cast out four physical anchors, and waited for light to come.
As they waited for the light several more lessons were learned.  First, some of the men tried to escape by the lifeboat.  They were discovered and Paul told them, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” (Acts 27:31)  They could not rely on their own strength or timing, they had to be patient with God’s timing.  In an effort to make this extremely clear, the lifeboat was thrown overboard.  Second they took meat and bread, and gave thanks.  During this time of waiting they gathered strength, and because they recognized it, they were able to thank God for it.  Last, they threw everything off the ship, placing their full trust in God’s plan.
When it was day they took up the anchors and committed themselves unto the sea.
It wasn’t until they had completely entrusted themselves into the hands of the Lord, that they took up the anchors.  Then, “they hoised up the main sail to the wind, and made toward shore.  And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; … and the forepart stuck fast and remained immovable.  And so it came to pass that they escaped all safe to land.”(vs. 41-44)
There is a great lesson on anchor points that can be learned from this chapter.
When we find ourselves on a perilous journey we too can cast out our four anchors and wish for light to come.  We place our trust in God, and let Him determine His purpose for us.  This requires faith in Him and an understanding that He knows the end from the beginning and is mindful of us along the way.  While our anchors are set we must let go of anything that might be holding us back and gather strength from Him with gratitude, rather than relying on our own strength.  Then, when we are ready, we must commit ourselves into His hands, trusting that He will lead us exactly where we need to go.
These anchor points can become a testimony to us, steadfast and immovable.  They are four anchors we can cast out during any life storm we might face while we wish for the day.
Trust God.
Believe He has a purpose for you.
Have absolute faith in Him.
Know that He is ever mindful of you.

Friday, July 27, 2012

God's peculiar people are His rescuers

by Emily Freeman
Ezekiel 46:9 – Daniel 2:16
As a teenager Elder Scott worked for a summer on an oyster boat.  Because of his standards, he was at first viewed as an outsider and treated very coldly.  As time passed, his crewmates took a liking to him and decided they wanted to teach him what it was like to be a “real man.”  Elder Scott declined each invitation and spent his time instead studying his scriptures and enjoying quiet evenings on deck.
On one of these evenings, while his coworkers enjoyed “real man” activities off shore, Elder Scott fell asleep in his hammock.  He was awakened suddenly to the rough shakes and alcohol ridden shouts of one of the men.
“Scotty,” the man yelled.  “Get your mask and fins.  There is a man overboard and you are the only one who can save him.” 
There are many lovable lessons from this story, but one of them touches me more deeply than the rest.  When it mattered most, the men on the ship came looking for Elder Scott.  When someone was in trouble, Elder Scott was available.  Why?  Because of the decisions he made that night, and the ones he had made over the preceding weeks, he was in position to rescue.
Just about 3000 years before this incident, another young man felt similar emotions, made similar tough decisions, and similarly was in position to rescue.
Daniel was taken as a captive into Babylon in order to be trained and taught in the courts of King Nebuchadnezzar to live, think, speak, and eat like the Babylonians.  The king was trying to raise up Daniel as a prince in Babylon by erasing his culture, his religion, his language, and his God.
During the years of preparation, it was ordered that all of the young men in the palace walls were to eat the foods of the king’s table.  Normally, someone would leap at the chance to dine like royals. However, on this occasion, the food being offered was forbidden by the Lord.  Daniel and his brethren had covenanted with the Lord under the Law of Moses not to eat the food and wine being offered to them by the king and his servants.
There is no doubt the food was delicious.  Certainly it was prepared by Babylon’s finest chefs and presented in luxury.  To make matters worse, Daniel and the servants appointed over him would be putting their lives on the line for denying the king’s commands.  Saying no to the king’s meat would have been no easy task.  Even though he was ridiculed, “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8) That decision would affect his life, and the lives of others for good.
We live in a Babylonian world.  Often, we are presented with the king’s meat.  Sometimes it is presented in an edible form, but most of the time it is something quite different.  The king’s meat is found in fashion, movies, TV shows, music, humor, attitude, and many other flavors.  It seems like the number of people refusing the king’s meat is getting smaller and smaller—even among people of faith.  Babylonian buffets get more mouthwatering ––we are invited, enticed, teased, ridiculed, bullied, and tempted to try those things that we have made covenants with God that we will not.  Just like Daniel, we will be “proved.”  (Daniel 1:14)  Perhaps the decision we make in that moment will have the potential to affect our life and the lives of others ––just as it did for Elder Scott, and Daniel.
Not much time passes before another test arises.  Nebuchadnezzar is vexed with a repeating dream.  It steals so much of his rest that he becomes frustrated and furious.  He calls in all of his wise men to interpret the dream.  The catch is that the king could not tell the wise men what was in the dream.  When none of his magicians and counselors were able to describe and interpret the dream, the king ordered that all of them be killed.
The wise men were in need of help.  If you were going to pick someone to rely on for help and strength in this situation, who would you turn to?  Because of the decisions he had made in the past, Daniel had increased in stature, knowledge, and wisdom.  He was in position to rescue.
And rescue he did.
The Lord granted him the interpretation of the dream, and Daniel was able to bring glory to God, and save himself and the rest of the wise men.  It is much like the story of Elder Scott ––all of a sudden being peculiar shifted from insult-worthy to heroic. (Daniel 2)
Think of those who you would ask for spiritual and trusted advice?  Who would you request a blessing from?  Who would you ask your deep questions of the soul?  Who would you turn to for support and help in times of trouble?  Is it the type of person who has made decisions that allow them to be in a position to rescue?
Now ask yourself if you are the type of person that someone would come to in their own distressing times.  When there are times of trouble, are you in position to help? To rescue?  God’s peculiar people are His rescuers.  It has often been said that only a man on higher ground is able to lift someone up.
In the darkest days of Word War II Winston Churchill said, “To every man there comes … that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing unique to him and fitted to his talent. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.”
You and I were born to rescue others.  We must make the hard decisions that will put us in position to do so.  We must refuse the king’s meat. We must purpose in our heart that we will live in such a way that will allow us, in the very moment of need, to be called upon to rescue.

He is the light that will lead through the darkest hour

Herein Is a Marvelous Thing

John 8:43 – John 12:7
The most bitter times are black.
When I look back at the hardest times in my life, the feeling I remember most is darkness. The sense that the world is closing in, the empty feeling of nothingness, the inability to see clear enough to make simple decisions.
That darkness has a tendency to shroud the soul, preventing all light from penetrating.
In John chapter nine we read of a man in this condition.
This man was blind from birth.  He spent every day in the dark.  Although surrounded by people in every direction, he was completely forgotten and left alone with his trial.  I wonder if there were many times he sat in the black world he lived in and pondered his existence.  I wonder if at times he doubted his ability to go forward.
Were there days when he questioned everything he had been taught, the reality of God, the beliefs which had sustained him through life so far?
I imagine so.
There is a moment of epiphany after the soul has doubted all it knows, when it begins to reach out for solid answers and firm ground.  This moment is defined by one emotion that sustains and creates a desire for change.   Before faith or knowledge is found, before joy or happiness is experienced, before the healing begins, one emotion begins to stir from deep within the depths of despair.
It is the light that will begin to lead through the darkest hour,
 which will enable us to begin to move forward along the darkened path.
It was this light that the blind man sought.
Sometimes this epiphany, this small portion of hope, will bring a change in perspective.  This change simply helps us to evaluate the situation from a different view than we have previously seen.  We are given small portions of knowledge, line upon line, as we work through the abyss.
The blind man experienced this process.
The Lord simply changed his point of view.
Dust was turned into clay.  Simple.  And then he was told to go to a place of healing, Siloam, and wash–– an ordinary technique that symbolizes so much.  Wash.  Let go, rid yourself of what is holding you back, and heal.
The man’s eyes were opened.  He could see.
I think about his story and realize that there are so many times in my life
that I have prayed for the Lord to touch my eyes so I might see.
In the darkness of the night I have wept and pled for sight.
Those moments have found me praying that the Lord will help me see the reason
for the trial and what I am supposed to learn.
Sometimes the light is slow in coming.   When the reason for the pain is not forthcoming, 
 I often wonder if I have the strength to endure.
There are times when a burden will exhaust our energy so much we can’t even begin to remember what it feels like to have faith.  Although we trust that Christ lives, we may have a hard time believing that we will ever get past the point we are at.  In those moments, when we can’t see the end from the beginning, when the light seems beyond our reach, when we wonder if we have been forgotten we must remember one unchanging truth…
The Lord will not leave us to struggle alone.
Heber J. Grant gave this sweet promise, “The Lord be always near you.  You will feel His very presence.  In the hour of tribulation, the Lord be near you.” 
In the hours of greatest tribulation we can feel the Lord’s presence.  He will bring us comfort and He will be our strength.  Most important, He will give us the hope we need to move forward when hope is gone.  Hope that will change our perspective and allow us to see things in a different light.
It doesn’t mean we won’t have to experience the trial…it means we won’t have to bear it alone.
When the apostles asked Christ why the blind man was blind, He answered that it was for one reason, “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”  (John 9:3)
Never underestimate the purpose of the trial.
The works of Christ will be made manifest in your life.  It is through adversity that we experience the sweetest parts of the atonement.  It is what allows us to experience the healing power of Jesus Christ.  It is what strengthens our testimony of the reality of Christ and enables us to eventually help lift the hands of another.
Elder Holland once said, “On those days when we have special need of heaven’s help, we would do well to remember one of the titles given to the Savior. . .An high priest of good things to come.”
If you are in the midst of the hard times…
If you are having trouble making even the most simple decisions…
If you surrounded by darkness and wonder if the light will ever come…
Allow your heart to hope.
The Savior is real. He will not leave us to struggle in blindness.
In your moments of greatest reaching He will be there open your heart and feel His gentle touch, open your eyes and see His hand in your life.
He is the High Priest of Good Things to Come.
He is the light that will lead through the darkest hour.
He offers the strength that will enable you to begin to move forward along the darkened path.
Turn to Him.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

. . . be even as Jesus is

Introduction of Happy Like Jesus

On both sides of the world the Savior taught that to have abundant life here on earth and everlasting life in heaven, we must look to him. “Seek the Lord, and ye shall live,” the prophet Amos declared (Amos 5:6). Alma repeated the injunction: “Look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). And the Lord himself proclaimed, “Look unto me . . . and ye shall live” (3 Nephi 15:9).
To achieve eternal life, the kind of life our Father and our Savior live, we must learn to avoid evil. In fact, if we reverse evil (spell it backward), we have live.
In this book I consistently use the verb to be. In Spanish, one of the Lord’s name-titles is el Verbo (John 1:1). He is the Verb; he is an action Verb. He says I AM, and he commands us (that’s the imperative form)—YOU BE! For example, “Ye shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44; emphasis added).
I also use a figure of speech called paronomasia, which is a play on words. The Old Testament name of Jesus, the Son of God, the second member of the Godhead, was Hebrew hwhy (YHWH, or Yehovah/Jehovah), which is a play on the Hebrew verb meaning “to be.” Those four Hebrew letters (which in Greek are called the Tetragrammaton, meaning “Four letters”) signify I WAS, I AM, and I WILL BE—all wrapped up in one word. He is, so he wants us also to be. As the heading of 3 Nephi 27 says, “Men . . . are to be even as Jesus is.”
For example, he said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 3 Nephi 9:18), and he wants us also to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). He walked with a lot of darkness around him, but he generated light because of personal righteousness; now he wants us to generate light because of our personal righteousness. “I am the light; I have set an example for you” (3 Nephi 18:16).
The Prophet Joseph Smith admonished us: “If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God. . . . Search your hearts, and see if you are like God. I have searched mine, and feel to repent of all my sins. . . . Is not God good? Then you be good; if he is faithful, then you be faithful.”
Many years ago, Dr. Charles Edward Jefferson wrote a book entitled The Character of Jesus. In the first pages Jefferson explains that the New Testament is more scrutinized than any other book in print. The civilization of the first century in the Holy Land has been subjected to a scrutiny and analysis that no other civilization has ever known:
“Attention is being given to the circumstances which formed the framework of the Lord’s earthly life. Many men are working on the chronology and others are at work on the geography, and others are interested in the robe and the . . . sandals. Photographers have photographed every landscape on which he ever looked, and every scene connected with his work or career. Painters have transferred the . . . fields and lakes and skies to canvas, and . . . lecturers have made the Holy Land the most familiar spot on earth. . . . We may become so interested in the fringes and tassels of his outer life as to miss the secret which his heart has to tell. . . . It is the character of Jesus which has unique and endless significance. . . . The New Testament writers were not interested in trifles. They cared nothing for Jesus’ stature, the clothes he wore, or the houses he lived in.” Jefferson suggests that for more than a century scholars have been studying his circumstances when they ought to be studying him. His personality, His character traits, His behavior, and His teachings

Be happy—like Jesus.

“If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our desires influence our choices

"The deep hurt is the mirror image of the deep joy that still awaits you."

"To miss the misery is to miss the joy.

And to miss the joy is to miss it all."

Bruce C. Hafen

We go to the temple to make covenants,

but we go home to keep them

"I have come to understand that before choices, come our desires. Our desires influence our choices… Because many of our thoughts are private, protected, and hidden from view, our actions for a time may not always reflect our inner desires. However, eventually, our inner desires are given life and

they are seen in our choices and in our actions."

"Listening is an essential part of praying. Answers from the Lord come quietly ever so quietly. In fact, few hear his answers audibly with their ears. We must be listening so carefully or we will never recognize them. Most answers from the Lord are felt in our heart as a warm comfortable expression, or they may come as thoughts to our mind. They come to those who are prepared and who are patient."

Heavenly Father has not left us alone during our mortal probation. He has already given us all the safety equipment we will need to successfully return to Him. He has given us personal prayer, the scriptures, living prophets, and the Holy Ghost to guide us. At times, using this equipment may seem cumbersome, awkward, and horribly unfashionable. Its proper use requires our diligence, obedience, and persistence.

But I, for one, choose to use it. We must all choose to use it.

"If our words are not consistent with our actions,

they will never be heard above the thunder of our deeds."

"Unwise patterns, when continued too long, have a way of visiting us with regret in the long run."

"Nothing touches the soul but leaves its impress, and thus, little by little, we are fashioned into the image of all we have seen and heard, known and meditated; and if we learn to live with all that is fairest and purest and best , the love of it all will in the end become our life. "

"The Lord never asks the impossible.

Often the difficult, but never the impossible."

The Elephant Whisperer

This is simply amazing .....

You've heard them called "dumb animals"
but these particular ones are amazingly intelligent creatures.
With a "sixth sense" that is beyond our comprehension.


Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books

including the bestseller The Elephant Whisperer, bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals
during US invasion in 2003.

On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died.
He is remembered and missed by his
wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons
& numerous elephants.

Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved
A total of 20 elephants had patiently walked over 12
miles to get to his South African house.


Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence's passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way: Walking slowly - for days - making their way in a
solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house.

Lawrence's wife, Francoise, was especially touched,
knowing that the elephants had not been to his house
prior to that day for well over a year!
But yet they knew where they were going.

The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep
respects, honoring their friend who'd saved their lives -
so much respect that they stayed for 2 days 2 nights.
Then one morning, they left, making their long journey
back home.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Their nearness makes a difference


Wayne E. Brickey

To a particular family one evening, word came of a foul event, an insulting deed against one of the family members.  Jason, an older brother, was inflamed at the news.  In rage he stormed to the door, vowing to take revenge.  The family had just been shocked in one way, and now Jason was shocking them in another.  But then came another surprise.  Mild mannered Andrew, a four year old, ran to the door and blocked Jason’s path.

“Out of my way,” yelled Jason. “No,” Andrew answered with nostrils flaring, “not till we pray.”  When Jason tried to move Andrew to the side and swing the door open, Andrew dove through Jason’s reach and wrapped his little arms around one of Jason’s knees, clamping his teeth on the pant leg.  Jason dragged his leg and his little brother out into the front yard but finally stopped.  Anger was suspended by a special kind of courage, the moral courage of love.  Soon, with the smallest family member still attached to the biggest, the whole family was at Jason’s side.  They all reentered the house, where they would council together about their new challenge.

Courage can, and usually does, transfer from one person to another.  Bravery spreads between soldiers on fields of mortal danger.  It spreads in workplaces and on teams.  Firmness rubs off of heroes we haven’t even met.  Many a bedridden patient, awaiting the next step in some medical ordeal, has found new resolve in the mere presence of a loving visitor.  Likewise, we may be transformed by beings we do not know and cannot see.  As the Lord predicted, they will be “round about you, to bear you up”.   Their nearness makes a difference.  With power they bear us up, stimulation us to Action. Perhaps little Andrew was so decisive because of love and firmness pouring into him through the veil.

As the love of a small boy gave moral courage to a big boy, our unseen friends bear us up by their pure love.  As John the Beloved said, “Perfect love casteth out fear”, or as Mormon said, “all fear”.

Along with purer love, those beings have gone on to mightier faith.  Just as we mortals strengthen each other by bearing testimony, they can instill faith in our hearts.  Like love, faith dispels fear.

If we try to follow Jesus praying without fail, tithing without fail, fulfilling our callings without fail we have the nearness of Him who is firm without fail.  Then we can face anything.
He and the courageous host of heaven, by their nearness, move us to Action.