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The Plan of Salvation – Love leads to action

As I mentioned in my prior post “Pondering the Plan of Salvation”, I mentioned how I thought that in nothing was the love of God more plainly manifest than in the Mormon doctrine of the Plan of Salvation.  The deeper you understand and appreciate of the Plan of Salvation, the more convinced you are, and aware you become, of the tremendous love of our Father. 

Knowledge of God’s love instills within our souls happiness and hope, confidence and courage.  It’s an enabling power that moves us to action. 

Reflecting on the times I’ve felt the spirit the strongest, I find that those are also the times I feel the most pressing need to act, to do something. 

Why is it that feelings of love and gratitude tend to be action motivators? 

Is there a way as a parent, a teacher, a leader, a son/daughter, or as a spouse that we can use this principle to incite positive momentum in others?  Is there less benefit when so contrived?

Rusty

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Family Night Suggestion – Appreciating our uniqueness

I’ve moved this post to my new Life-Engineering blog, dedicated to motivating people to achieve their goals and change their futures by taking control of their lives.

You can now find this post here:

http://life-engineering.com/family-night-suggestion-appreciating-our-uniqueness/

Don’t abandon your children

Today Nebraska lawmakers voted (43-5) to change the state safe-haven law.  All 50 states have these safe-haven laws, allowing parents to leave infants at a hospital anonymously without fear of prosecution.  They were passed in an effort to prevent unwanted babies from being abandoned in less safe locations.

But when Nebraska set up their law, they failed to provide an age limit.  The result is that people have been driving even from out of state, just to drop of their children.  They’ve come from Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and even Florida.

Since September, when the law took effect, they’ve already had thirty five children dropped off, all but six of them older than 10.  Today the Senate held an emergency session to change the law.

But is there a problem with the law, or is there a problem with society?

Full disclosure, having myself been abandoned by my father when I was about 2 and by my mother when I was 11, I have strong feelings on the matter that may cloud my vision.

But to me this whole scenario has exposed a terrible flaw in society, and this is just the tip of the iceburg (granted, one of the more atrocious illustrations of this flaw).  To me it speaks to the dramatic deterioration of the family.  

As a society have we come to so disregard the family?  Unwanted and out of wedlock pregnancies abound because of this disregard.  And as a society how do we rate this.  It’s strange to me that anyone can have a child and we have laws allowing them to abandon them at will at a hospital, but I have to have a license to catch a fish.  There’s something innately wrong with that.

Are there scenarios where it may be in everyone’s best interest for a child to live somewhere else?  Perhaps (far be it from me to judge each scenario), but it should be done with extreme trepidation, care, prayerful consideration, inspired guidance, and using appropriate channels (for there are worthy parents out there who are willing and anxious to care for these children).  But what kind of solution is it to simply walk away from the problem.  Especially when that walking away is from your very children, who love you, and look to you for support.

What kind of culture does that create? What kind of message and habit does that perpetuate? 

Families are ordained of God.  It’s central to His plan for the eternal destiny of His children.  Families are the mortar of society, and anything that would weaken those bonds (including the dereliction of duty by parents) threatens not only society but our own exaltation.

The protection and preservation of the family is not only crucial to those who have their own families, but to every individual, for families form the fabric of eternity, and our eternal destinies are interwoven in that fabric, regardless how isolated we may feel or try to become.  The hearts of the children MUST turn to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers MUST turn to their children.  There is immeasurable and ill-understood power in these relationships both on this side of the veil and beyond.

This same eternal and divine power that binds us together as relatives, is the very power that will strengthen you, support you, and give even the most weary parents the emotional and spiritual sustenance they need to overcome even the most daunting of life’s many challenges.

So if you are one who is struggling against such challenges, and considering such a dramatic course of action, let me speak to you clearly.  There is no challenge beyond which the Lord has power to help you overcome.  Do not turn away from your family.  Instead, turn to them, and experience the infinite power that is available to those who endeavor to strengthen those family bonds, instead of breaking them.  Turn inward, not outward, and you’ll find strength and support from the Lord in ways that you may have never imagined.

Families are eternal.  Let them not be so easily broken by such temporary strains, no matter how difficult they may seem at the time.

Please.

If you haven’t already, just read “The Family:  A proclamation to the World” and let your soul reflect upon the words of a latter-day prophet.

Rusty

 

P.S.  News on the issue can be found here, and here.

Picking pumpkins

The thing I love about the holidays, is the excuse to just get out and do stuff as a family. Here we are at the pumpkin patch, each of the kids prowling around in search of the perfect pumpkin.

It’s a cool October evening, and everybody’s having a blast.

Life is just good.

Life’s little pleasures

This morning I was lying in bed, trying to extract from the night every last minute of sleep possible, but I was slowly coming to consciousness as my kids began to wake themselves to go about getting ready for school.

I was pretending they didn’t exist for as long as possible when suddenly I heard the tremendously excited voice of my two year old in his bedroom across the hall.  Whereas generally he’ll lay awake in bed for a little while till I come retrieve him with a bear hug and daddy snuggles, today he burst out of his room shouting “garbage truck”.

Actually, it sounded more like “garage shuck”, but apparently he’d heard the garbage truck laboring up the hill outside, and just couldn’t bear the excitement any longer.

My 9 year old saw his enthusiasm, and brought him outside to witness this marvel of marvels first-hand.

Now, fully conscious, but not ready to give up the bed, I rolled over and tried to get comfortable.  That’s when I found that hidden spot in the bed where the sheets are still cool.  It was then that I realized how grateful I am for life’s little pleasures.

In a life of soaring expectations, overwhelming responsibilities, and profound business, sometimes it’s the simplest of things that bring you the most pleasure, if we will but take notice.

Rusty

The 3 D’s of Exalted Living

Decisions Determine Direction.  The point is that everything matters, even the small things. They matter to God (he’s Omnicaring), and it should matter to you, because every decision you make impacts the direction of your life.

If, for instance, you’re heading on a course due north, in a perfectly straight line, and then you vary, if only by a portion of 1 degree… over time, that tiny variation of your course will equate to a monumental change in your destination.

It all happens by degrees.  Every decision matters.

In a jet, if a pilot is flying around 500 mph and drifts by only one degree, he will be miles off course in a matter of only a few minutes.

Today, life flies by us at blazing speeds.  We live in an age of unprecedented momentum and make countless decisions, most of them, almost unwittingly.  In such an environment, we cannot be too vigilant about the impact of our actions. 

Let’s consider, as an example, the following illustration of a vehicle heading due north.  Pretend the vehicle represents you and a completely righteous course of life – with your entire focus on godliness.  But notice what a dramatic change only a few recurring alterations can make in your vision.

car_view.jpg

This is how Satan works.   He doesn’t really think he can get us to make radical changes all at once, because such an abrupt change of our vision would certainly be noticed, and we’d self-correct our course. 

Instead, he tries to get us to make slight changes in our course, changes that seem a “natural extension” of our current course, and that only slightly alter our vision.

In this way he “lulls us away into carnal security” (2 Nephi 28:21).  It’s all about change by degrees.  That’s how he works.  I call it “Spiritual Entropy” (blog post).

Every decision we make alters the direction we’re heading, so we cannot be cavalier about the decisions we make, and must be terrifically tuned to alterations in our course.

But how do you do that.  How do you know when you’re being lulled off course?  I submit that there are two primary ways we can stave off this tactic.

First, we must implement within our lives the regular recurrence of mechanisms that sharpen our vision of Godliness.  Regular scripture study, daily prayer, weekly church attendance, etc.  These simple things are those that most clearly reinforce that vision of Godliness.  The more regularly we do them, the more habitually they become a part of our lives, the more crystal clear that vision of Godliness becomes, and the starker are the events when our vision shifts beyond where it should.

That’s how we “stay in tune” (blog post). 

Secondly, we must subject ourselves to frequent course-correcting criticism.  We must regularly check ourselves, analyze our lives, look around us, at where we’re heading, at what we’re doing, and compare that with the vision of what we would have that to be.

Now of course, God expects us to live a life full of little twists and turns, that’s why he sent His Son.  But the farther we depart from the path of exalted living, the path pre-trodden by the Savior and countless others, the more difficult life becomes, and the more difficult it is to return.  So it’s far easier to hold counsel with the Lord in regular intervals, and look upon your life for areas in need of correction.  Just don’t dwell on your past unhealthily (see “beware the rear view mirror“).

So remember the 3 D’s of Exalted Living – Decisions Determine Direction. 

Rusty

The power of packaging

I’ve moved this post to my new Life-Engineering blog, dedicated to motivating people to achieve their goals and change their futures by taking control of their lives.

You can now find this post here:

http://life-engineering.com/the-power-of-packaging

Marriage and Family Today, prophetic perspective from 1978

In association with my recent post “Don’t abandon your children”, and my upcoming answer to the question “Why do Mormons support Proposition 8”, I give you the following inspired and prophetic instruction and counsel of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Apostle.

This was given all the way back in 1978, but just listen to the shockingly accurate portrayal of our day.  It’s titled: 

“Meeting the Challenges of Today”

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMMu4Sv0-QI&sdig=1

 

Rusty

Our children cannot breathe

I’ve moved this post to my new Life-Engineering blog, dedicated to motivating people to achieve their goals and change their futures by taking control of their lives.

You can now find this post here:

http://life-engineering.com/our-children-cannot-breathe/

Cycle Time – the power of frequency

I’ve moved this post to my new Life-Engineering blog, dedicated to motivating people to achieve their goals and change their futures by taking control of their lives.

You can now find this post here:

http://life-engineering.com/cycle-time-the-power-of-frequency/