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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pain & Progress

"Yes, there is pain in change, but there is also great satisfaction in recognizing that progress is being achieved. We need not feel that we must forever be what we presently are. When change is thought through carefully, it can produce the most rewarding and profound experiences in life."

—Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, Nov. 1979
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Hero at the Grocery Store, by Stephenie Meyer

Suddenly everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.

Christmas stories happen in the most everyday places. I was part of one not long ago at the grocery store. I hope I never forget it, though the memory is bittersweet.

I had been shopping for almost an hour by the time I got to the checkout lines. My two youngest sons were with me, the four-year-old refusing to hold onto the cart, the two-year-old trying to climb out of the basket and jump down to play with his brother. Both got progressively whinier and louder as I tried to keep them under control, so I was looking for the fastest lane possible. I had two choices. In the first line were three customers, and they all had just a few purchases. In the second line was only one man, a harried young father with his own crying baby, but his cart was overflowing with groceries.

I quickly looked over the three-person line again. The woman in the front was very elderly, white haired and rail thin, and her hands were shaking as she tried unsuccessfully to unlatch her big purse. In the other line, the young father was throwing his food onto the conveyor belt with superhuman speed. I got in line behind him.

It was the right choice. I was able to start unloading my groceries before the elderly woman was even finished paying. My four-year-old was pulling candy from the shelf, and my little one was trying to help by lobbing cans of soup at me. I felt I couldn’t get out of the store fast enough.
And then, over the sound of the store’s cheery holiday music, I heard the checker in the other line talking loudly, too loudly. I glanced over as my hands kept working.

“No, I’m sorry,” the checker was almost shouting at the old woman, who didn’t seem to understand. “That card won’t work. You are past your limit. Do you have another way to pay?”

The tiny old woman blinked at the checker with a confused expression. Not only were her hands shaking now, but her shoulders too. The teenage bagger rolled her eyes and sighed.

As I caught a soup can just before it hit my face, I thought to myself: “Boy, did I choose the right line! Those three are going to be there forever.” My mood was positively smug as my checker began scanning my food.

But the smiling woman directly in line behind the elderly lady had a different reaction. Quietly, with no fanfare, she moved to the older woman’s side and ran her own credit card through the reader.

“Merry Christmas,” she said softly, still smiling.

And then everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.

It took a minute for the older woman to understand what had happened. The checker, her face thoughtful, hesitated with the receipt in her hand, not sure whom to give it to. The smiling woman took it and tucked it into the elderly woman’s bag.

“I can’t accept …” the older woman began to protest, with tears forming in her eyes.

The smiling woman interrupted her. “I can afford to do it. What I can’t afford is not to do it.”

“Let me help you out,” the suddenly respectful bagger insisted, taking the basket and also taking the old woman’s arm, the way she might have helped her own grandmother.

I watched the checker in my line pause before she pressed the total key to dab at the corner of her eyes with a tissue.

Paying for my groceries and gathering my children, I made it out of the store before the smiling woman. I had made the right choice of lanes, it seemed.

But as I walked out into the bright December sunshine, I was not thinking about my luck but about what I could not afford.

I could not afford my current, self-absorbed frame of mind.

I could not afford to have my children learn lessons of compassion only from strangers.

I could not afford to be so distant from the spirit of Christ at any time of the year—especially during this great season of giving.

I could not afford to let another stranger, another brother or sister, cross my path in need of help without doing something about it.

And that is why I hope never to forget the Christmas hero in the grocery store. The next time I have a chance to be that kind of a hero, I can’t afford to miss it.

- Stephenie Meyer, “Hero at the Grocery Store,” Ensign, Dec 2006, 20–21 -
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Making Time for Reflection

"Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God". (D&C 101:16)

"Our lives become extremely busy. We run from one thing to another. We wear ourselves out in thoughtless pursuit of goals which are largely ephemeral. We are entitled to spend some time with ourselves in introspection, in development, in thinking, meditating, pondering things."
~ President Gordon B Hinckley ~
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Don't Push the Cow in Today

One of President Lee’s favorite sayings was:

“It’s all right to pull the cow out of the mud on Sunday,provided that you don’t push him in on Saturday night.”
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Excuse me, are you Jesus?

EXCUSE ME, ARE YOU JESUS? As you read this think about what you would do!

"Excuse me, Are you Jesus?" A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago . They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE !!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.

He was glad he did.

The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?" She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?"

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?" Do people mistake you for Jesus? That's our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Sometimes we just take things for granted, when we really need to be sharing what we know... Thanks GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

God is on his throne-and all is right with the world!
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Christmas Story, a Breath of Heaven

*Please mute the music on this blog before playing*

This is my last post before Christmas. This sums up what this season is all about. Wishing you a very happy Christmas, may you be wrapped in the arms of His love, always.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

The First Christmas

The announcement of the first Christmas is the sweetest story ever told—the "glad tidings of great joy"—were to be "unto all people". The Light of the world was to shine in every heart.

I hope He shines in your heart today!
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Receive His Love

"The ultimate expression of following Christ is to receive His love, whether from Himself or from those who serve him, to be lifted and blessed by it and then to be for others what He has been for us...."

—Stephen E. Robinson, Following Christ-
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Pool of Bethesda

"Just as the lame man at the pool of Bethesda needed someone stronger than himself to be healed (see John5:1-9), so we are dependent on the miracles of Christ's atonement if our souls are to be made whole from grief, sorrow, and sin".

—Merrill J. Bateman, Ensign, May 1995
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Thoughts on Fishing - Part 3

Last thought about these verses, I think:)

.....OK, so they hadn't caught any fish, the Saviour came and they caught a huge amount, which would been VERY lucrative for them. I found this very interesting that the Lord provided such a temporal blessing for them,that would have secured wealth for them, then before they had had the chance to spend any of it, the Saviour invited them to follow Him and to spread the gospel, and they did:

"And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him."

Maybe that was the final step after exercising faith and showing humility, being willing to give up all worldly goods and behaviour. What great examples they were, they forsook all immediately to follow the Saviour, and we have all been blessed by that decision. It has lead me to ask myself the question, am I willing to forsake all to follow the Saviour??? Our hearts always know the answer.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Love & Praise

2 Nephi 1:15
Father Lehi said: “But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”

2 Nephi 4:30
Then Nehpi his son said:“Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say:O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation”.

Elder Maxwell: "What will we and those who witness these marvelous events speak of, then and later? Not the solar display with falling stars! Instead, we will speak of Jesus'"loving-kindness." For how long will we so exclaim? "Forever and ever" (D&C 133:52). The more we come to know of Jesus and the Atonement, the more we shall praise and adore Him "forever and ever."
(Neal A. Maxwell, That Ye May Believe)

I hope that you have felt as Lehi did – that you can feel His love about you, and that it causes you to praise Him forever. I love my Saviour, and I know He loves you - I really feel that sometimes when I send these thoughts out, that your souls are so precious. I hope you have a wonderful day.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

All the World must go to Bethlehem

"All the world must go to Bethlehem though some but shut the door to Christ--all the world must go to Bethlehem and some will find the world's wisdom there. All the earth must go to Bethlehem, for there is earth's hope."

—John F. Mulholland- "We Must Go to Bethlehem,"Treasury of the Christian Faith
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Who the Savior is

"A babe born in a stable of the village Bethlehem, boy reared as a carpenter of Nazareth...a man who never received a school degree, who never spoke from great pulpit, who never owned a home...is actually the Creator of heaven and earth and all that in them are."

—Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, December 1983
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Friday, December 12, 2008

What does Christianity consist of?

"Christianity consists not in abstaining from doing things no gentleman would think of doing, but in doing things that are unlikely to occur to anyone who is not in touch with the spirit of Christ".

—R. H. L. Sheppard, Treasury of the Christian Faith
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Thoughts on Fishing - Part 2

A few days ago I shared some thoughts about the experience of Simon Peter & co fishing and the miracle of catching the fish provided by the Saviour. Well, another thing I really liked was Simon Peter's reaction to receiving this huge blessing, Luke
records:

"When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’
knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man,
O Lord.
"For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
"....And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men." (Luke 5: 8-10)


This showed what a humble man Simon Peter was, and imperfect too - like the rest of us - and he definately did not feel worthy of such a great blessing. Nevertheless the Lord saw fit to bless him, and showed His grace in the miracle He gave, showing
that the Saviour looks for opportunities to bless us, and that He uses those who are imperfect who know they need the Redeemer in their lives, and who show gratitude for what they have received.

I hope you have a wonderful day and feel of the Saviours love for you, and that you feel Him smiling upon the good things that you are doing.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Prince of Peace

"The Prince of Peace was sent to "bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound"(Isaiah 61:1). The Lord Jehovah, who is Jesus Christ, is the Great Physician, the One sent of the Father to heal our wounds, to dry our tears, to settle our souls."

—Robert L. Millet, Alive in Christ-
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Go Back to Bethlehem

"Let us go back in our hearts to Bethlehem—to Jesus, the infant who grew to teach saving principles, to work miracles, to be our Redeemer."

—Elaine Cannon, Woman's Choices: The Relief SocietyLegacy Lectures-
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Monday, December 8, 2008

My Thoughts on Fishing - Part 1

Peter, James and John had worked through the night trying to catch some fish, but had caught nothing.

The Saviour then comes to them and says:

"Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught (or catch)". (Luke 5:2-11)

Simon Peter replies that they had tried all night to catch fish, but have been unsuccessful, nevertheless they will try again, because He has asked them to.

As they followed the Saviour they caught a great multitude of fish, that filled two boats, so much so that the boats were in danger of sinking.

The miracle that happened wouldn't have been so great, and Simon Peter's faith in the Saviours instruction to cast their nets again wouldn't have meant so much, if success had not been witheld from them previously.

Sometimes the Lord witholds blessings from us, not because He doesn't love us, but so that He can show us HOW MUCH He loves us, and sometimes it takes us to 'launch out into the deep' to find those things which have been hidden from our view previously, and to really find ourselves.

I hope that you have a great day, and if things don't seem to be working out the way that you had hoped despite your best efforts, then take courage, the blessings are just around the corner waiting to be found. Things always work out when we exercise faith.
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Friday, December 5, 2008

A Grateful People

"Of all of these wondrous, challenging things with which we live, I hope you regard it a blessing to be alive in this great age of the world. . . . I hope you walk with gratitude in your hearts, really. Grateful people are respectful people. Grateful people are courteous people. Grateful people are kindly people.
Be grateful."

—Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley-
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Joseph B. Wirthlin Tribute Video

This was realeased yesterday.

*You'll need to mute the music on my blog first*

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Come What May, and Laugh" - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Elder Wirthlin passed away yesterday, aged 91 years old. I was reading his last conference address from his talk called ;Come What May, and Laugh', and loved the 'Learn to Laugh' section. Here it is, I hope it brings a smile to your face too:

"The first thing we can do is learn to laugh. Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?

There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.

"I remember loading up our children in a station wagon and driving to Los Angeles. There were at least nine of us in the car, and we would invariably get lost. Instead of getting angry, we laughed. Every time we made a wrong turn, we laughed harder.

Getting lost was not an unusual occurrence for us. Once while heading south to Cedar City, Utah, we took a wrong turn and didn’t realize it until two hours later when we saw the “Welcome to Nevada” signs. We didn’t get angry. We laughed, and as a result, anger and resentment rarely resulted. Our laughter created cherished memories for us.

I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. She was all dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. In walked a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the door. We watched as she got into the car, but the car didn’t move. Eventually our daughter got out of the car and, red faced, ran back into the house. The man that she thought was her blind date had actually come to pick up another of our daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife.

We all had a good laugh over that. In fact, we couldn’t stop laughing. Later, when our daughter’s real blind date showed up, I couldn’t come out to meet him because I was still in the kitchen laughing. Now I realize that our daughter could have felt humiliated and embarrassed. But she laughed with us, and as a result, we still laugh about it today.

The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable."

(Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin , General Conference, October 2008)

Thank you Elder Wirthlin, you will be missed.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Star in Bethlehem

"Whether the world accepts Jesus Christ as the literal Son of God or not does not change the absolute truth that he is. If the Lord Jehovah can place billions of stars in the cosmos, he can certainly cause one star to hang in suspended brilliance over Bethlehem."

—Vaughn J. Featherstone, More Purity Give Me-
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Careful & Keep

Philippians 4:6-7
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God".
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus".

There are a couple of footnotes I like to these verses: Verse 6 - 'Careful' - meaning 'don't be unduly concerned' (GR). I think it's easy to get caught up with things that in the long run don't really matter. Sometimes our priorities and perspective get confused, and we put the most effort into the things that matter the least- neglecting the 'weightier matters'(Matt 23:23).

Verse 7 - 'keep' - meaning 'guard' (GR). The blessing of peace is such a wonderful thing. When it is absent confusion and despair reign, when it is present faith carries you through your trials giving you hope and purpose. I like the use of the word 'guard' here - it makes me feel as if God is protecting us from unnecessary pain and anguish of heart, which I know He will as we come unto Christ more fully.
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