Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Parable of the Termites

Each month our church congregation distributes a newsletter with pertinent and valuable information regarding Sunday lessons, weekly activities, birthdays and...missionary addresses.  Included is also a personal messages from one of our leaders.  This month I was particularly touched by this message from our Bishop (congregation leader) who shared a personal message that is applicable to us all.  He entitled it "Faith, Testimony, and The World."  For this blog - I've titled it the "Parable of the Termites".  I share with his permission.
Faith, Testimony, and the World
picture of termites
This winter I undertook a project in my garage which necessitated a relocation of much of its contents.  As I removed a large sheet of Slatwall hanging against some unfinished drywall I noticed a small portion of drywall behind it and up against the ceiling with no paper facing.  This was a new development since I installed the Slatwall a number of years ago, so I examined the area more closely.  Dirt tailings, very small trails of black spots, and a nearly imperceptible dirt shelter tunnel leading from a crack in the floor up the foundation wall behind my refrigerator confirmed my suspicions.  I had termites!  Removing several sheets of drywall revealed the full extent of the damage  Fortunately, I had caught it early enough to stop the progress in its tracks.  Though damage was extensive in parts, the vital structural components of the home had not been compromised.  As I set about cleaning up and taking steps to arrest the progress of these small but insidious creatures, I was impressed by their capacity to undermine the integrity of a structure which had endured for decades, and which, with proper care, could last for many decades more.  I noted their aversion to light, and how they went to great lengths to create a world sheltered from the light.  There in the darkness, unnoticed, unencumbered, they went to work.  Left unchallenged it would only be a matter of time before the termites brought significant portions of the house down.
Two weeks ago, someone very dear to me sent a long letter announcing his decision to leave the Church.  This was quite a shock and seemed an extraordinarily rapid transformation from full belief in the Gospel to questioning the very existence of God.  Most members in my immediate and extended family were un-swayed by the arguments and conclusions drawn.  Some could quickly discern the obvious fallacies and holes in his logic.  I wondered at the contrast between those firmly rooted in the faith and those with a shaky foundation and how one individual could be so radically moved, while another could remain so wholly unaffected.  It occurred to me that while on the surface the departure appeared rapid, more obscure elements had been at work over a longer period;  Elements, working in darkness which were allowed to go unchallenged, unchecked;  Elements which had been eating away at the structural integrity of his faith and testimony.
"...no darkness in you"
So, what steps can we take to counteract the eroding influence of the world on faith and testimony?  Just as termites seek the darkness while they perform their destructive work, those who fight against God and deny the atonement of Christ, also walk in darkness.  As such, it is no surprise that the things of God appear foolish to them.  Christ stated “I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” (D&C 10:58).  In contrast God promises if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.” (D&C 88:67)
"...if your eye be single to my glory"
I suppose we could conclude from these scriptures that if we’re not yet full of light and don’t comprehend all things, then our eye is not yet single to God’s glory.  Perhaps a few introspective questions would help us adjust our focus.  Do we place greater importance on the things of God than we do the things of the world?  Do we honestly strive to be obedient to God’s commandments?  Do we properly repent when we fail to please God?  Are we honest in our tithes and offerings?  Do we seek to draw near to God through fasting and prayer?  Do we regularly pray in faith with sufficient intent to reach the heavens?  Do we avoid offending the Spirit and are we quick to follow its promptings?  Are we willing to acknowledge God’s hand in our lives?  Do we truly feast on the word of God and is it delicious to us?  Do we selflessly serve others and are we engaged in a good cause?  In short, do we serve God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength?
These are the things which build faith, testimony, and understanding.  These are the things which produce sweet fruits within the gospel framework.  These are the things which allow us to discern between the wisdom of God and the philosophies of the world.  These are the things, which if neglected, will gradually but steadily eat away at our faith and testimony.  That we may commit to strengthen our faith against the eroding effects of the world by keeping our eyes single to God’s glory is my continued prayer.
Bishop David Parish

Read also:  "An Eye Single to the Glory of God"  by Elder Marlin K. Jensen 
And Blog Post from Mormon Mom:  "Soul Destroying Termites"

Monday, March 2, 2015

On a Golden Springtime

These are sweet words from a children's song with an even sweeter message.  May we ponder and reflect upon their significance as we think of our own lives, the newness of life we'll see during the upcoming Spring, and...how we, like little seedlings, must stretch up towards the Light for our further growth and development.    
On a golden springtime, underneath the ground,  
A tiny seedling lay asleep until the sun shone down.
Awake, awake, O little seed!
Push upward to the light!
The day is bright. With all your might,
push upward to the light!

On a golden springtime, Jesus Christ awoke
And left the tomb where he had lain; the bands of death he broke.
Awake, awake, O sleeping world!
Look upward to the light,
For now all men may live again.
Look upward to the light!

Resurrection of Jesus Christ

On a golden springtime, in a forest glade,
The Father and the Son appeared as Joseph knelt and prayed.
Awake, awake, O nations all!
Receive the gospel light!
The gospel true is here for you.
Receive its glorious light!

"The First Vision"

Monday, February 23, 2015

Women and the Priesthood

Today we feature a guest blogger, Kaitlyn of "Plain and Simple Joy". You'll love her.  She's very sweet as well as grounded, positive, hard-working, hopeful and...focused on the good in the world.

A few weeks ago she wrote a beautiful piece about her coming to an understanding of the differing roles of men and women; and the gifts we each have as part of our mortal responsibility, work, and learning.  She entitled it "Thoughts on LDS Women and the Priesthood" and we link to it today in hopes that you'll read it and ponder on it's significance.

I'm sorry to say that it's taken me so long to get this posted but...I know that all things happen for a reason and...that timing makes a difference.  I've spent the past two weeks caring for my elderly mother in the hospital and now in a rehab center and...I just haven't been able to get online to post this before now.

I hope you'll all find it as 'food for thought'.  I am grateful that Katelyn was so prayerful in her journey to understanding.  That idea; of being thoughtful and prayerful as we all seek to learn truth, is a concept and blessing applicable to us all.

In her own words about her blog she writes:
I'm Kaitlyn. In a world so focused on the bad, there is so much good to be found. This blog documents my quest to find the joy in the plain and simple things that surround me. I recognize that all of my joy is a result of my faith in Jesus Christ.

You may also enjoy this powerful article she wrote about true beauty and some hard lessons she learned during her own search for understanding as a teenager.  It's worth the read and...the share!!! 
From Loathing to Loving

Thanks, Kaitlyn, for bringing a bit of that joy and your quest for it - to the rest of us!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Donny Osmond, David Archuleta, Alex Boye, Studio C

No posts this past week as I've spent many of my waking hours at the hospital with my 79 year old mother who fell and broke her leg last week.  It was a compound fracture with open wound so....she required immediate surgery.

Because of her having had diabetes for 47 years and complications from that - which have included 3 back surgeries, several other surgeries, and diabetic neuropathy, her case was more complicated and she's been at high risk for other challenges.  It's been an intense 10 days.

Thankfully, we've had some tender mercies and have felt peace even during some very difficult times.

We had tickets to the #RootsTech 2015 Conference in SLC last weekend but were unable to attend because of Mom's hospitalization.

Here's a little clip which includes my sweet parents (they're the second interviewees; Dad talks about 'Jack Armstrong; All American Hero and 'Wheaties') and my youngest daughter Ashley (in pink blouse and gray sweater who mentions Abraham Lincoln).  They were each interviewed for 30 minutes, along with about 60 other people, and then the clip was reduced to a very short 3 minute segment.

I tried and tried to post it but...it wouldn't work.  So...click on this link: Video Clip 

I only share this today because we could have lost my mother and it seemed timely to me to ponder on the significance of life; and those who have already gone before us.  It's amazing to learn of them and their lives and how we're all connected.  We affect one another!

Family History is for Everyone!
Get Started with Family Search.

Watch:  Donny Osmond, David Archuleta, Studio C:

and...Alex Boye'
"Once you find out where you're from, you have a better understanding of who you are." - Alex Boye'

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Dayspring; To Give Us Light

 "Through the tender mercy of our God; 
whereby the dayspring from on high (Christ) hath visited us,
To give light to them that sit in darkness and...... to guide our feet into the way of peace. 
DA'YSPRING, noun The dawn; the beginning of the day, or first appearance of light.
Whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us. Luke I.

Gilbert Arizona LDS Temple at Sunrise
He is our Light as we strive to raise our Children in Truth and Righteousness.  We have not been left alone.  Not only has He shown us the way but He IS the Way.  By and Through His example and as we follow His teachings, we can increase our love at home, for our fellow beings, and increase in light until the Perfect day. 

That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.  D&C 50:24

Friday, February 6, 2015

Mother's Influence

"It's a mother's influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child's basic character.  Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother's loving example to choose righteousness."  - Benson

"...there is no greater good in all the world than motherhood. The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation." - James E. Faust

"When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children." - Julie B. Beck

No Greater Good in ALL THE WORLD.....