Content

9be021f600fe9652ebf080325cea77b8

Are you as sick and tired of all the discord and clamor as I am? Discontentment is a huge issue with folks everywhere these days.  Many people do not seem at peace.  Loud voices are screaming in our faces, “you’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough, you’re not rich enough, you don’t think like me”! People are getting mean with each other over it. The love for mankind, peace and respect has nearly disappeared among us.

On the flip side, the people in Bali, Indonesia are unadulterated and real.  Their humble and caring nature seems to present a spirit of peace and contentment within~a true namaste.  What attributes!  I was inspired to discover what it is within their lifestyle that encapsulates these qualities .  Gradually it dawned on me, it is because of their daily sacrifices and offerings. Living the Law of Sacrifice has helped these people have balance and equality among themselves and to be happy with what they have been given in this life and, for the most part, they work along side one another in harmony and fellowship.  They are a humble people who do not put themselves above one another.

I believe in the law of sacrifice and know personally how by living it, I can clearly see His gifts laid before me.  Gratitude swells within my heart as I recognize my nothingness before our Almighty God, the creator of both heaven and earth.  How blessed we are by His almighty hand to have this earth whereupon to live, with all the food and raiment flowing in abundance for our sustenance.  He has blessed us with strong and capable bodies to complete the tasks required of us for good.

Learning to be content in life with what we have and with who we are is a lifelong quest. Today we are bombarded with images of who we think we should look or be like, or who we most surely don’t want to be like to the point of being annoying.  To me, this is a sad mark of pride among us.  Instead of celebrating our unique gifts, talents and idiosyncrasies, we rush out and get some sort of surgery to change us into looking like someone else, or by our raucous behavior, we try and force others to be/think like us.   I believe God has given us differences for a reason and with that, weaknesses to make us humble.   27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27  

Beware of Pride  is the talk for this generation.  There are so many facets to pride that are nearly unfathomable for most of us comprehend; however, after reading this talk, these once enigmatic aspects of each of us become straightforward and clear.  “Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance…Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness.  All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.  The central feature of pride is enmity-enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen.   Enmity means [hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition].  It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us….The scriptures abound with evidences of the severe consequences of the sin of pride to individuals, groups, cities, and nations [Pride goeth before destruction, Proverbs 16:18] It destroyed the Nephite nation and the city of Sodom [See Moro. 8:27; Ezek. 16:49-50]”. Beware of Pride April 1989 General Conference, Ezra Taft Benson  

With all the hype about the “progressive” movement, we should be aware that “Pride is a damning sin in the true sense of the word.  It limits or stops progression,[ see Alma 12:10-11].  The proud are not easily taught [1 Ne. 15:3, 7-11]. Pride results in secret combinations, contention, arguments, fights, unrighteous dominion, divorces, spouse abuse, riots, and disturbances.  The proud are easily offended and hold grudges.  They withhold forgiveness to keep another in their debt and to justify their injured feelings.  The proud do not receive counsel or correction easily.  The are defensive.  The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not….They feel worthwhile as individuals if the numbers beneath them in achievement, talent, beauty, or intellect are large enough.  Pride is ugly.  it says, “if you succeed, I am a failure.”    The proud are not easily taught [1 Ne. 15:3, 7-11].  They won’t change their minds to accept truths, because to do so implies they have been wrong.” B.O.P. 1989, E.T.Benson  

What is the antidote to pride?  “Humility-meekness and submissiveness. Those of us who choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are”.  This formula will assist us in avoiding God’s compulsion in making us a humble people.  Alma 32:16The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us how to humble ourselves as we take upon us the name of Christ and become disciples of His teachings.   We learn how to listen and obey, repent and be born again with water and fire (baptism/gift of the Holy Ghost-sacrament each Sunday) and how to show our love to God as well as to our fellow travelers on earth as we follow and live the laws of tithing, sacrifice, obedience, chastity, forgiveness, long-suffering, temperance and patience.  Articles of Faith 1:13

In short, if we humble ourselves before our Almighty maker just like I witnessed by the people of Bali, we can learn how to become content like them.  If we will simplify our lifestyles, recognize we are nothing before the great power of God, give more than we receive and live to love one another, our spiritual selves will take hold over our natural man tendencies. We will celebrate our uniqueness, having oneness, peace and contentment!

20170121_201206

Bali <3

20170123_204648.jpg

Bali, Indonesia is a land of people who adhere to deep family religious traditions that weave throughout all aspects of their lives on a daily basis.  At the entrance of every home, business and each villa at the Kayumanis private villa resort and spa where I was staying (whether there were guests or not), you will find a small woven tray made from banana or some other leaf containing a small portion of their food and flowers.   The offerings are called canang sar and are performed as rituals to thank Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in prayerful praise and thanksgiving. They believe in karma in the sense that by giving up something of their time, talents and possessions and even their vices, they will receive good back from their Gods.

They believe in a trinity but worship many gods and goddesses such as Saraswati who is the goddess of knowledge, arts and music.  The traditionally worn dress and basket offerings on top of women’s heads was in honor of this special event celebrated every six months and happened to occur during the time I was there when it culminated with a huge parade beginning from one temple located at one end of Ubud, and running through the village, where I stayed, to another temple on the opposite side.

“Offerings are an essential part of worship. During puja a devotee presents gifts that, according to tradition, the particular god or goddess likes: often flowers, special foods, grains, coconuts, or oils. If the offering is made in a temple, a portion of it is kept for use by the temple, and the rest is returned, now blessed by the deity. Offerings made in the household shrine are later divided among family members. Reciprocity, the process of giving and receiving, is an essential aspect of Hinduism. Hindus are taught that by giving, they receive, and that when they receive, they should respond with gifts. When a Hindu prays for a specific favor from a deity, he or she may vow to present a special gift to the god or goddess or to perform an arduous duty if the wish is granted. Much of the apparent wealth of a temple and many of the good deeds carried out in a community are the direct results of honoring those religious commitments.”  Puja Why are offerings given to the Dieties Smithsonian 

Temples are the adorning trademark of Hinduism.  If you can see past the walled lining and into the resident’s courtyard, chances are you will not see their home but rather, you will see the top of beautiful stone carving temple spires reaching heavenward.  From the outside it is very difficult to decipher one’s wealth.  I asked someone how you can tell the rich from the poor.  He told me you can only tell once you’re on the inside of the home by the wood or stone carvings that ornate the walls…how unostentatious.

The good works of the Balinese people was demonstrated to me daily as each bowed in reverence with hands clapped together in namaste greeting me with “good morning Ibu”.  Their sweet and kind service to me was so humbling.  I truly wanted to package each one up and bring them home with me in my suitcase…didn’t think my suitcase was large enough or that my husband would approve, so I didn’t (this time) :).  However, I am a changed being because I know these beautiful people whose mile-wide white smiles and loving brown sparkling almond-shaped eyes greeted my green eyes with purity and integrity, honor and truth.  They are content with what they have and are unassuming in their purpose to serve and work.  They are a loving and content people who are unpretentious by nature.  I was very fortunate that the quaint and quiet resort where I stayed was located on the outskirts of Ubud city and right inside the village where it hires the local artisans and agriculturalists.

I loved everything about my vacation and pray that through my good Karma, sacrifice and service to others, I will be BACK!!!

(sorry about the blurry pics of these home temples….I was obviously driving by when I miraculously caught them just at the right times and at least it gives the viewer a glimpse of what my blog is about)

Tug-of-War

images

Starting a new year gives us a renewal of faith in ourselves and hope for a better year. There are two competing forces we all are playing a game of tug-of-war with daily:  To walk in the spirit or to follow the lusts of our flesh.  We all have our struggles in this mortal existence.  Have you found out yet that no matter if you win or lose at tug-of-war, you always end up with rope burns if you don’t wear gloves?    Are we all not in a Tug-of-war with temptation?  How can we win against the tug-of-war within us so we’re not left humiliated, abandoned, hurt, withdrawn, fallen down and burned?

Wearing gloves is like having a plan of action before we play the game of tug-of-war. Gloves provide us with protection from harm and are just like having a counterpart or someone with whom we can correspond about our change.   We must not hide in the dark any longer or think we can battle this alone.  Our counterpart is the go-to-person whom we can report to whenever temptation arise.

How do we define these temptations?  This is an interesting part of the equation because there are so many people in the world who may not consider “lusts of the flesh” evil. Because so many people have abandoned the faith of their fathers, they have succumbed to the belief that there is no faith or belief in God, therefore, there is no law, therefore, there is no need of judgment, therefore, there is no sin; these are signs of being in the yoke (rope) of bondage.

That there is no sin and no law and no God is the great lie Satan has promulgated across the world through the beginning of time and is the anti-Christ being taught in homes, schools and societies.   The sins of omission to the greater law are taught by Paul to the Galatians 5:16-21 “for he that lusts after the flesh are contrary to the spirit of God”:

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

“Paul taught the Galatians to rid themselves of the yoke “(or rope)” of bondage they were tied with because of being mislead by some of their Christian-Jewish leaders who were taught they needed to follow the law of Moses and be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul chastened the Galatians Saints for being so easily swayed away from the liberty of the gospel of Jesus Christ and returning instead to the bondage of the law of Moses. He then clarified that even though followers of Christ had been freed from the bondage of the law of Moses, that did not mean they had the freedom to indulge freely in sin.” New Testament Seminary Teaching Manual

Anything contrary to the spirit of God means we are on the losing side of the tug-of-war match and the results are loss of freedom; freedom within and freedom without. In 2 Corinthians 3:17 we learn “Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  We must ask ourselves, “what is the spirit of the Lord and how do we know if it is there?” The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance Galatians 5:22-23  

I pray this year is our year to win the tug-of-war with temptations as we visualize ourselves as free agents who have won the battle of addictions of the flesh as described by the apostle Paul.  How wise are the words of the prophets if we take the time to humble ourselves and realize we are nothing without the help of the Lord, His servants, His followers and others who are lovers of others rather than oneself.  Not only do we need help from each other to battle these temptations that so easily beset us, but we especially need the spirit of God and the Atonement of Christ who are the ultimate gloves of protection from getting burned from the rope of bondage.

Compromise

Here is a progressive moment I’ll share with some “non” progressive thinkers this Sabbath day: “I think everyone should live together before they get married so they can see if it will work out before couples commit to marriage”, my friend said to me a few days ago.  We were talking about the success/failure of marriages within the Mormon culture to which we both belong, when suddenly this comment came out of her mouth.  I didn’t take much of a stand about how I really feel in regard to her statement because I didn’t want to offend her. Since I didn’t know or understand where she was coming from out of her life’s experiences, judging her belief may have proven fatal to our friendship.  Thank goodness I put my “progressive” pants on that day, because we are still friends and neighbors.

Like my friend, there are many people around the world who tend to believe differently than me about sex before marriage and co-habitation.  Most older generations married, stayed married and avoided divorce like the plague, until progressives started the sexual revolution.  How that came about may stem from teenagers being sick of seeing unhappy parents in a “dead-end” marriage and who were looking for peace, love and rock-n-roll? Whatever the reason, since that time, marriage has declined drastically.   People seem afraid of commitment and compromise which ironically, are espoused in marriage.

Marriage takes lifelong work and commitment and I would wager very few people entering within its bonds are equipped for such an endeavor….much like having children (no owner’s manual included…learn by the school of hard knocks).    No one wants to get a divorce with all of its hardship on all parties including legal ramifications.   Most Christian and many non-Christian religious advocates believe in marriage; however, now that religion is on the decline among progressives, traditional marriage may seem archaic. With all that said, and with all we see in our world today and the decline of the family, sexual diseases, sexual exploitation, pornography, sexual identity confusion, mental disorders (from sexual abuse), drugs/alcohol abuses, murder, suicide, corruption of governments, war, famine, pestilence and overall wickedness…..is our focus on progression really progressive?  Are we in a custody battle wherein progressives must go with one parent while the rest go with the other? Don’t we belong to the same human race family?  Isn’t there a far greater cry to attend in this world family than who is right or wrong?  Who is the source we look toward to find this answer?

“The doctrine and theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints literally start and end with family,” said Elder Ballard   I believe the traditional family is a fundamental pillar in the structure of humanity…but that is only my belief.  Just as my beliefs differ from those of my friend who is of my same religion, and many others around the globe, we must remain civil if we all want progression.  Time may prove that our indifference to our differences will limit or even deny individual rights, beliefs and religious freedom.

“Understanding that reasonable and sincere people may view marriage as only between people of the opposite gender, the public square must accommodate and religious freedom must protect such views,” he said. “Indeed, since religious beliefs can affect how believers view the very purpose of life, such views will inform how they interact with society.”

Compromise, he added, can seem difficult and distant in a time of “extremes.”

“We hear stories of people who have tried to be true to their standards, only to be accused of bigotry or intolerance or punished on a seemingly unreasonable scale,” he said.

Even amid the challenges, there is wide support for the Church’s view of traditional marriage. There can be no surrender in the defense of truth and values, he added.

“If those who oppose us are genuine in their commitment to the values of diversity and equality, we should be able to work together to find compassion and peace,” he said.

Elder Ballard said fellowship can exist between those who disagree.

“Just as we do not or should not shun family members with whom we disagree, we cannot and should not shun those who look or think or act differently than we do,” he said. “We demonstrate our best humanity when we show love and kindness to all of God’s children. We demonstrate our discipleship when we refuse strident tones, when we refuse derisive labels, and when we enter the public square seeking fair outcomes through understanding and mutual respect.”  Elder Ballard defends Traditional family at World Conference of Families

I could sit here at my computer and spout off hundreds of reasons why the Traditional Family is, in my opinion, the best pillar for an honest and civil society wherein its inhabitants can compromise (successful marriages are good at and children learn from parents behaviors) on differences of opinion but would that be progressive?  Should we take a stand and defend what we believe to be the “best” way by bullying everyone else who doesn’t think like us, or do we allow everyone free agency to choose for himself what he deems right?  Isn’t that what a true progressive is?  Shouldn’t a progressive thinker be about compromise and the ability to overlook one’s differences and by espousing the Golden Rule: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”15  even if it means people within or without our own religion?

I really like my friend, even to the point of giving her a haircut in the faculty bathroom during our lunch break.  I surely don’t want to “dis” our friendship just because she believes differently than me.  Given more time and not such a “hairy” situation, I would love to sit down with her to go over why she feels that way especially considering it is such a dichotomy from our traditional family beliefs.   We could share our thoughts and feelings about a very controversial subject matter in a civil manner and really come out ahead by learning from one another.  Perhaps we could come to some kind of compromise in our opinions.   Even if we don’t agree, we can amicably disagree while being kind and accepting…..now that is what I call progress!

e3b69399e839d96c9f7d2cd4e1b0bf4b

Miracles

“Has the day of miracles ceased?” (Moro. 7:35).  Is technology a modern miracle?  “The word miracle is used in different ways. We sometimes say that any happening we cannot explain is a “miracle.” To me, a computer is a miracle. So are cell phones and space travel. But these wonders are explainable by physical laws understood by some mortals. I call them miracles because I do not personally understand them and therefore cannot duplicate them at will.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks; Miracles-Ensign 2001

When or if technology fails us, there will always be one constant that has survived the test of time:  The Book of Mormon.  One of the greatest miracles impacting the course of my entire life has been the Book of Mormon.  I just finished reading again and I stand as a witness of its truthfulness.  How it was preserved through thousands of generations of both righteous and unrighteous leadership and then brought to light by the hand of the angel Moroni and into the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith to translate, is nothing short of a miracle.

Within the past decade, technology has made sharing its message so great and wonderful. However, with every good thing, there is bad.  Has this modern “miracle” of technology helped or hindered us as a whole?  Does the good it bring us outweigh the bad? How has it effected our civilization? Are we better people because of it?  Do we feel peace in our homes?  Has our wisdom increased? Do we feel safer? Has it unified us?

The following are words of wisdom by God’s chosen servants who have been blessed to know greater things because of their exceeding faith:

For Peace At Home, by Richard G. Scott (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles). April 2013 General Conference

You live in a world where technological advances occur at an astounding pace. It is difficult for many of my generation to keep up with the possibilities. Depending on how technology is used, these advances can be a blessing or a deterrent. Technology, when understood and used for righteous purposes, need not be a threat but rather an enhancement to spiritual communication.
For example, many of us have a personal electronic device that fits into our pocket. We are seldom without its company; we may refer to it many times a day. Unfortunately, these devices can be a source of filth and wasted time. But, used with discipline, this technology can be a tool of protection from the worst of society.
Who could have imagined not very many years ago that the full standard works and years of general conference messages would fit into your pocket? Just having them in your pocket will not protect you, but studying, pondering, and listening to them during quiet moments of each day will enhance communication through the Spirit.
Be wise in how you embrace technology. Mark important scriptures on your device and refer back to them frequently. If you young people would review a verse of scripture as often as some of you send text messages, you could soon have hundreds of passages of scripture memorized. Those passages would prove to be a powerful source of inspiration and guidance by the Holy Ghost in times of need..

If Ye Lack Wisdom, by Marcos A. Aidukaitis (First Quorum of the Seventy)

Whatever the question is, if we need more information, we search it online. In seconds we have a lot of material. This is marvelous.
The Internet provides many opportunities for learning. However, Satan wants us to be miserable, and he distorts the real purpose of things. He uses this great tool to promote doubt and fear and to destroy faith and hope.
With so much available on the Internet, we must carefully consider where to apply our efforts. Satan can keep us busy, distracted, and infected by sifting through information, much of which can be pure garbage.
One should not roam through garbage.

Protection from Pornography–a Christ-Focused Home by Linda S. Reeves (2nd Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency)

Note: Read or watch the entire talk
Many children, youth, and adults are innocently exposed to pornography, but a growing number of both men and women are choosing to view it and are drawn back repeatedly until it becomes an addiction. These individuals may desire with all of their hearts to get out of this trap but often cannot overcome it on their own. How grateful we are when these loved ones choose to confide in us as parents or a Church leader. We would be wise not to react with shock, anger, or rejection, which may cause them to be silent again.
Pornography is more vile, evil, and graphic than ever before. As we counsel with our children, together we can create a family plan with standards and boundaries, being proactive to protect our homes with filters on electronic devices. Parents, are we aware that mobile devices with Internet capacity, not computers, are the biggest culprit?
Brothers and sisters, how do we protect our children and youth? Filters are useful tools, but the greatest filter in the world, the only one that will ultimately work, is the personal internal filter that comes from a deep and abiding testimony of our Heavenly Father’s love and our Savior’s atoning sacrifice for each one of us.
To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood, by David A. Bednar (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles).

Note: Read or watch the whole talk
We are blessed to live, learn, and serve in this most remarkable dispensation. An important aspect of the fulness that is available to us in this special season is a miraculous progression of innovations and inventions that have enabled and accelerated the work of salvation: from trains to telegraphs to radios to automobiles to airplanes to telephones to transistors to televisions to computers to satellite transmissions to the Internet—and to an almost endless list of technologies and tools that bless our lives. All of these advancements are part of the Lord hastening His work in the latter days.
The Lord is hastening His work, and it is no coincidence that these powerful communication innovations and inventions are occurring in the dispensation of the fulness of times. Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families. And I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and more effectively to testify of God the Eternal Father, His plan of happiness for His children, and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world; to proclaim the reality of the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days; and to accomplish the Lord’s work.
My beloved brothers and sisters, what has been accomplished thus far in this dispensation communicating gospel messages through social media channels is a good beginning—but only a small trickle. I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood. Beginning at this place on this day, I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.
Not every manifestation or miracle comes from God or from mortal deception. The adversary has great powers to deceive, and he will use these to give his corrupted copy of the genuine miracles worked by the power of God. I will say no more of this, since I believe it is not desirable to say much about the powers of the evil one. It is sufficient for us to know that his power exists and that we have been warned against it (see Rev. 13:11–14; D&C 28:11; D&C 50:1–3). 4   First, miracles worked by the power of the priesthood are always present in the true Church of Jesus Christ. 5 The Book of Mormonteaches that “God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles” (Mosiah 8:18). The “means” provided is priesthood power (see James 5:14–15; D&C 42:43–48), and that power works miracles through faith (see Ether 12:12; Moro. 7:37).  Elder Dallin H. Oaks; Miracles-Ensign 2001

I testify that through prayerful study of this miraculous book, the Lord through His holy spirit will help you know if it true.  Miracles that will follow will be: a greater vision to discern between good and evil in our world of confusion, anger and discord.  The blessings and gifts of God await you when your actions of faith prove His miracles have taken hold upon your heart.  “And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?  Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.  For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.” Moroni 7:35-38

Join the throng of people who are seeking to know the will of God  “10. 6 BY THE HAND OF MORMON that it is time to take Smith’s writings more seriously. Neusner calls the Book of Mormon “a fresh Christian expression” that has too often endured scholarly neglect.” By the Hand of Mormon Terry L. Givens   I know you will come to recognize His hand of divine providence in the many miracles that abound us daily.  And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.” Mormon 9:19

These beliefs I have received as a witness of my faith because of God’s many miracles manifested to me through the power of the Holy Ghost.  I bare witness of these truths in the name of Jesus Christ.

.. moroni-buries-plates-39672-gallery

Tag, you’re IT!

Sweat, snot, snoring, starvation, sleeping~not, sorority style surroundings and another four letter “s” word that I’ll refer to as Honey Buckets or anywhere else for that matter (specifically along coastal borders in the USA)….tag, you’re it…welcome to a Ragnar race…or the Presidential election 2016!

If you run in a relay race like I did when I ran the Wasatch Back, don’t plan on things being easy.  This race, like another race our country just saw, is not designed for people who like everything to go their way or to always have ease and comfort…me for the past eight years.   Aside from sharing a runner’s high with your mates because you’re gonna run your butt off, plan on sharing many of the things we as humans consider deplorable and uncouth…reality of life…try living in a third world country or Syria and Iraq today.  As a team, you’ll become close friends for at least those 24 hours and not just because proximity, but because you’re accomplishing a common tough goal as you run together…we are adult citizens of the same country…not crying daycare children who argue immaturely.  When you hand over the baton to the next runner..or allegiance to our next President of the USA, you look forward to each member doing his part in helping YOU arrive to the  finish line.  Athletes like to talk themselves up, and so you see many of them and their transportation vehicles all decked out to buoy for the team’s triumph…some racers like to talk trash…it’s competitive (we trashed up our vehicle with words like go, fight, win).    

The Ragnar race is like playing tag on steroids as you each take turns running approximately 200 miles within 24 hours... American politics for as many years +.    We all remember tag as one of the best childhood games known to mankind…the free electoral process.  My husband and I still play it while raising children and running a household together….our country’s marital bond within parties.   When we reach the end of our “ropes”, we say, “tag, you’re it” and have full trust the other will take the baton of responsibility and run with it…oh wait, most Americans are divorced and the meaning of marriage has become convoluted…..hummm…do we see a pattern here?  

Aside from parenthood and marriage, each of us play tag-often.  There are many instances in life when the baton is passed to us by others either in the workforce, with our education, and with life itself.  Typically speaking, when a baton is passed from one person to another, it refers to a relay race whereupon one runner passes the baton to the next runner until all four runners have finished their leg of the race to the best of their ability.  There is a method to who runs which part of the race:  The second fastest runner starts the race, followed by the third fastest, followed by the slowest runner, and finished by the fastest runner.  Not all runners nor athletes are the same, and that’s OK, for that reason it takes all types to be in the running and compete!

Running the Wasatch Back Ragnar was one of the craziest races of my life.   No one could have prepared me for the circumstances I would be living for 24 hours…nor the post election behavior of “fellow” Americans.  Somehow, I was elected to run “Ragnar Hill” in Midway, Utah…and choose who to vote for this year.  Luckily, I had training with one of the finest world record holder ultra/mountain runners of our time, Bryce Thatcher….and my love for God/religion, my country, and my family.  Remembering his words of wisdom carried me up that mountain where I met the next runner in our relay, who, thank goodness, took our race the rest of the way up the accent…following the Holy Ghost’s guidance up until the bridegroom returns to actualize the binding to His bride in marriage;  He who is the finisher of the race and who will take the helm of the country and world. Hebrews 12: 1-2  

Tag, you’re IT!  I VOTE FOR JESUS

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-1-50-54-pm

Windows of Heaven are open

search-1

search

There are many signs that shall prevail prior to and upon the Lord’s coming to help us know when that time draws near.  One misnomer some saints and non saints believe is to purchase fire insurance in order to be saved at the Lord’s coming, right? NOOOOOOO!   Humorously, my husband says that paying tithing saves us from being burned in the last day, but the truth regarding the scriptural reference in Malachi 4:1….“the proud who do wickedly shall burn as an oven….and shall leave them neither root nor branch”, is specifically made known “after we bring all our tithes into the storehouse….if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”.  Malachi 3  Then the Lord gives his word, which he cannot break, for surely “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say.” (D&C 82:10; italics added.) The Lord continues: “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” (Mal. 3:18.)

In layman’s terms, this symbolism means: When we obey the commandments of God to repent, be baptized, pay our tithing and serve in His kingdom (church), we are blessed to see (windows) the many other blessings He has poured upon us such as the continuation of families performed in sacred and holy temples where our family branches are maintained and not cut off or burned at the last day

As mentioned in Ephesians, in the last days, a sign was to be given by God to all Saints foreordained to receive the gospel by the sealing power of the Holy Spirit of promise to know God and Christ by revelation.   At that time, we will know that Jesus Christ is head over all things… “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”  Ephesians 1:22-23  How do we know if that sign has been given?  When a man shall declare that a marvelous work has begun to come forth upon the earth again…“Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.” Acts 13:41  And Jesus said concerning those marvelous work and wonderwho do not believe…“therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.” 3 Nephi21:11  

There will no more be strangers among us when the body (church) of Christ  and His temple is again established.  God will gather in all His children as His truth is revealed among them and they accept it according to their faith unto Him.  In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are not strangers among us as we assist Christ by laboring in His vineyard.  We become His teachers, teaching one another under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.  We are also guided by local leaders in branches and wards who are under the guidance of stakes who are under the guidance of the quorum of the twelve apostles and first presidency of the Church.  Each of us are called through the Holy order of God known as the Holy Priesthood which is the power on earth to act in the name of God.  It is through this power that all the administration for Christ’s Church is conducted on the earth today:  Offices of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood.  “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens 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.” Ephesians 2: 19-22

Daily, new members are joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to follow Christ’s teachings of faith, repentance, baptism by fire and then to administer to others in the same way taught by the Savior.  “During His earthly ministry, Jesus was an example of one who went far beyond the simple obligation of hospitality and tolerance. Those who were excluded from society, those who were rejected and considered to be impure by the self-righteous, were given His compassion and respect. They received an equal part of His teachings and ministry. For example, the Savior went against the established customs of His time to address the woman of Samaria, asking her for some water. He sat down to eat with publicans and tax collectors. He didn’t hesitate to approach the leper, to touch him and heal him. Admiring the faith of the Roman centurion, He said to the crowd, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”5 Ye Are No More Strangers   First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric 

In order to be a teacher in the Church, the first prerequisite is a desire….“Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;..” Doctrine and Covenants 4:3  The second is faith and love.. And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.”  Doctrine and Covenants 4:5  “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,..” Ephesians 1:15  Charity is the most important of them all..“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”  Corinthians 13:1

Paul was one of the greatest teachers in the primitive Church of Jesus Christ and one of his first gentile converts was Cornelius even though it may have seemed odd for him to teach among the gentiles.  However, the duties of Israelites toward Gentiles were defined in the law and Jesus had taught him through example not to be selective or prejudice to those whom he should teach.  All people are saved by grace through faith knowing the blood of Christ saves Jew and Gentile alike.  The allegory of the olive tree explains this perfectly as Jacob quotes the answer to the question, “how is it possible that the Jews, after having rejected the sure foundation of Christ can ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their cornerstone?  To understand the allegory, we must first understand past and future events and the part the Gentiles will play as they become adopted into the House of Israel through baptism and continue the work of the Savior giving service in His church and temples right up to the Millenium.

Many know the sign was fulfilled when the prophet Joseph Smith became that man who declared it among us even though many did not believe….but many do believe and continue to see as they learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, choose to obey God’s commandments, repent from their wicked ways and have charity.   Jews and Gentiles, like Cornelius, are flocking to the gospel because they recognize the saving truths found once again upon the earth. In the temple, they recognize through the sealing power of the Holy Spirit how service to our kindred dead connects us to our roots and branches, not only blessing us now but for eternity, and saves us and our lineage in the last day from being burnt as stubble.  This is how service and sacrifice are essential in our exaltation as taught by Jesus Christ. And here is the Lord’s promise: “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” (Mal. 3:17.) I testify of these things in Jesus’ name. Amen