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An eternal perspective – what role will you play?

We are encompassed about by things of no eternal consequence, but which ceaselessly fill our lives, occupy our thoughts, and consume our time… the vain aspirations of man and the constant ongoing minutia of daily life.

While all around us wages a war.  A war that is extended from before the foundations of this world;  a war over the souls of the children of men.

A battle, the individual results of which will determine the fates beings all, whether it is to their everlasting salvation unto eternal progression, or unto eternal damnation.

Surely we must live, and the demands of daily life must be met, but we must also bring ourselves to see that behind all these frivolities lays a far greater purpose, one with everlasting ramifications. 

We must be able to look through this husk of mortal life and witness the kernels of eternity, the potential that lies within the souls of the children of God.

Too much is at stake for us to take our task lightly. 

You must pause, witness the world around you, and ask yourself, what role you will play.

Will you be one who stands up to make a difference?  Will you be one who puts on the armor of god in defense of the truth, to battle the adversary despite the cost?  Or will you sit idly by and let the cards fall where they may?

What role will you play? 

May we rise together, and may we find each other on the side of truth, anxiously engaged in this great eternal battle, for none but fools will trifle with the souls of men.

Rusty

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How often do you feel the spirit?

I’m a big fan of measurement.  I think that unless you frequently measure those things in your life that matter most to you, then you’re achieving less than you could.  Simply the act of measuring brings you to consciousness, wakes you up, and makes you refocus.  Measurement brings clarity, perspective, and awareness to life.

In business there are proven techniques and formulas you can use that return hard and fast numbers that give you an accurate idea of how you’re performing.

But many find measuring their spiritual progress far more difficult. 

Ones level of spirituality, after all, is far more ambiguous, and can be difficult to measure.  What’s more, it’s difficult to apply the same formulas across multiple people, for our lives are very, very different.  But the inherent difficulty does not lessen its importance, and I propose that there are a few common techniques anyone can use to gauge their spiritual progress.

One of the most compelling, in my opinion, is in the answer to the simple question “How often do you feel the spirit”.

The frequency with which we encounter the spirit in our daily lives is directly proportional to the level of spirituality of our lives.  If our appetites are spiritual, if our pursuits are spiritual, then so too will our lives be filled with the spirit.  As your eye becomes single to god, your whole bodies are filled with light.  But that internal brightening happens by degrees, and those degrees are measurable by the instances of the spirit in our lives, as he confirms our actions.

I believe that a very healthy endeavor is to keep a simple calendar.  Perhaps it’s on your phone, or next to your bed, or on the wall, as long as it’s somewhere accessible, and every time you KNOW you feel the spirit, make a special mark on the calendar.

At the end of the month, tally up how many marks are on your calendar.  Now track this for several months running.  If you find that there are constantly diminishing number of marks on your calendar, you’re headed in the wrong direction.  If they’re the same, you’re stagnant.  We want to show more marks month after month.  But more importantly, we want to see more marks year over year.

What you really want to see is dramatic increases in encounters with the spirit this month, over the same month last year.

If that’s a lot, how about measuring only one month in three, or four months a year?

Initially, it may be hard to distinguish the spirit from other emotions.  Generally, the less you feel the spirit the harder it is to recognize.  But as I stated above, simply by measuring, you become more self-aware, you refocus, you wake up.  Simply by measuring you’ll do better at taking note, and those instances will become more meaningful, rather than lost in the rush of the day.  Then, over time, you’ll become more finely tuned to those encounters, and they will begin to play a larger role in shaping your daily life.

What’s more, feeling the spirit is a self-perpetuating cycle.  The more you feel the spirit, the more sensitive you become, the more tuned you become, and the more you’re likely to have such encounters.  So if you really want to know how well you’re doing, or if you’re improving and progressing.  Try keeping a calendar.

My hope is that we all might more proactively pursue a regularly realized relationship with the Holy Ghost.

Rusty

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What do Mormons believe about works?

Many have asked me what Mormons believe about “works”, and how we reconcile those beliefs with the notion of being saved by grace, through the mercy of Christ and His atonement.

Indeed, Mormons believe that our salvation is made possible by the mercy of Christ, and were it not for his everlasting Atonement, we could not be saved.  For man is carnal, mortal, and imperfect, and as such, will inevitably sin.  But the atonement of Christ makes it possible for us to be forgiven for our sins by paying the demands of justice if we will repent.

For as the scriptures tell us, God is Just, and it is always required that the laws of justice be satisfied, for there are consequences for sin (as we read throughout the scriptures).  But if man will repent, the Lord will intercede with the demands of justice, having paid the price already himself.  Such is mercy. 

But if man will not repent, he cannot be saved, for no unclean thing can dwell with god.  And not only must we repent of our sins, but we must strive to live the gospel and keep the commandments, and there are certain things we must do in order to earn our salvation.

Baptism, for instance, is required for salvation.  So is obedience.  For why would God give men commandments if he did not expect them to be obeyed?  And why would he require men to repent, or why would his servants, the prophets, so continually preach repentance, if repentance were not necessary for salvation, or if obedience were optional and there were no consequence for disobedience?

Hence we believe that through the Atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel (1st article of faith).

The following are just a very few verses I’ve selected from the Bible that help provide the scriptural basis for these beliefs.  But the burden of proof of this doctrine of works is not upon Mormons, for the scriptures I reference here (among many others) are clear and present.  Rather the burden is upon those who believe contrary to this scripture, to come up with some alternative explanation for these and other verses.

Revelation 20:12-15 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

Hebrews 5:5-10 “He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

Romans 2:13-16 “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

2 Thessalonians 1:1-10 “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

James 1:22-25 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

Romans 2:5-11 “And revelation of the righteous judgment of God: Who will render to every man according to his deeds…”

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 16:27 and Revelation 22:12-15 “For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and then He shall reward every man according to his works.”

Luke 6:46-49 “And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

John 7:16-17 “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine…”

John 14:15-21 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Acts 1-:34-36 “But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”

Titus 3:8 “That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.”

1 John 1:6 “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.”

Revelation 22:14-15 “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life.”

1 Samuel 15:22 “To obey is better than to sacrifice”

Matthew 7:15-20 “Ye shall no them by their fruits”

Matthew 24:13 “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved”.

Galations 5:20-23 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest…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.”

James 2:14-26 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have no works? Can faith save him?… For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Rusty

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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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There must be opposition in all things.

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.

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Recognizing the spirit in our lives

Have you ever just divorced yourself from being a consumer, and sort of stepped back and objectively observed the behavior of a typical cell phone user?

It’s quite entertaining, cell phones are just funny.  Everybody’s got to have one (I’ve got 5).  And you take it with you wherever you go, because, well, someone might have to talk to you. 

I’m convinced there’s some chemical reaction that happens in our brains when a cell phone rings.  People can recognize a cell phone ringing from a mile away. You can be in the middle of grand central station, someone’s cell phone will go off and immediately everyone’s heads will turn, and everybody thinks the same thought…”somebody better get that”.  And you can’t think of anything else till it’s answered, all ears are collectively riveted to that ring till it stops.  It’s like some neurotransmitter is blocking all other synapses till that ringing stops.

All you hear about these days are cell phones; plans, rates, minutes, coverage, new phones, etc.  A new phone will come out, and I’ll literally think “I’ve got to go get it!  I could get better reception!  I could get better battery life!  People will be able to get a hold of me better!”  It’s insanity, I have 5 cell phones with 3 providers.

And it’s all about reception these days, reception and coverage.  Have you ever been driving down the road when someone calls you?  First, you really feel important because hey, someone is calling you!  And if you have a flip phone you feel extra cool as you open it crisply with the practiced flip of your thumb. 

But have you ever picked up the phone and realized you can only hear two or three words a sentence?  You’ve got a bad reception!  There goes that brain chemical…

I don’t know about you, but in instances like that, I’ve actually panicked.  So what’s the first thing that you do?  You take your eyes off the road to check your reception.  You’ve got to see how many “bars” you have.  Now this is a scary moment.  Not because you’re concerned you might crash as the world flies by you on the road, no, it’s because you’ve removed the phone from your ear and in that critical 2-3 seconds the person on the other end just might say something that you’ll miss.  You end up doing this funny little jerk-motion to see how quickly you can look, then get the phone back to your ear.

So you take the risk and look at your phone, and realize you’ve only got one bar.  There’s something strange that takes place when you realize you only have one bar.  It’s like an autoimmune response of the body.  Immediately those chemicals flow from your brain and you begin frantically searching for any way possible to improve reception!

In times like this I’ve found myself suddenly accelerating, somehow trying to get out of this “dead zone” as fast as possible.  I’ve even found myself changing lanes!  Somehow thinking “you know, maybe if I move 10 feet in THIS direction suddenly it’ll get better”!  Insanity.

But even if you’re not in your car, you still find this autoimmune response active.  You see people ducking and weaving their heads, hurrying out into the open, all the time shouting “can you hear me now!?!”

The bottom line is this…we spend a lot of time worrying about our cell phones, worrying about coverage and reception, wondering how many bars we have.  But how often are we even considering our spiritual reception?  We’ve got these finely tuned autoimmune responses that detect and react when our phones go choppy, but we’re not nearly as sensitive and quick to react when we lose connection with the Holy Ghost.

Otherwise we’d hear people walking around saying “can you feel me now?”

With a cell phone, there are simply places where the signal from the towers just won’t penetrate.  Similarly with the spirit we go places, or find ourselves in situations or conversations all the time where our spiritual reception drops, or where the spirit just can’t get through.  How crucial it is to be as sensitive to that dropped connection with the spirit, but it’s just not something we’ve “dialed” in to.  It’s somehow less real.

I hear people asking each other strange questions like “how many bars do you get in the delta center?”, like it’s some sort of universally understood trivia game, and people will know.  “How many bars do you get in up at Snowbird?” or even more specific, “You know that stretch of freeway on I-215 East side southbound, by the airport?  How many bars do you get there?”  People can answer that.

We need to be equally adept at knowing and recognizing the instances of the spirit in our lives; equally concerned when those instances become infrequent; and equally sensitive to feeling when that spiritual reception drops.  We need to ask ourselves, with much more regularity with regards to our spiritual sensitivity…”how many ‘bars’ do I have right now?”

So how DO you acquire this spiritual sensitivity?  How do you increase your familiarity with the spirit, and become agile in getting it back when it leaves?

Frequent Use

One method, I’d say, has a lot to do with frequency.

I travel a bit, and it never ceases to humor me, how often people will talk on their cell phones.  It’s not uncommon when I’ll hear people walking into the airport on their phones saying “Okay, I just got to the airport, I’m ‘gonna go get checked in”.  Then, moments later, they’re back on the phone “okay, I just got through security”. Then later “my plane just arrived, we’re boarding now”.  Then “Okay, we just landed, I’m going to go get my luggage”, and then yet again when they finally get out to passenger pickup.

Is an airport experience really so entertaining that people WANT a blow by blow report?  I don’t think so, I’ve BEEN to the airport.  I think it’s simply because we can.  You know, in the “good ‘ol days” you used to simply send your itinerary to whoever was going to pick you up, they’d check to see if your flight was on time, and somehow, magically, when you walked out of the airport there they were!  How in the world did they do that?

You see people in meetings, in school, on vacations, everywhere on their cell phones, and when they’re not talking on it they’re “text messaging”. 

Have you ever tried text messaging, it’s one of the most inefficient methods of communication, and designed terribly.  We took a 12 button phone keypad and turned it into a 62 button keyboard.  It takes 5 minutes to write one sentence, and yet we do it!  We’ll undergo tremendous pain just to make sure we’re communicating.

How has this happened?  Somehow the cell phone has made communication real, tangible, immediate, and convenient. 

I actually think that if Heavenly Father got a cell phone, we’d talk to him more.

I can just see kids in school, with their cell phones out text messaging….”H-e-a-v-e-n-l-y  F-a-t-h-e-r,…t-a-k-i-n-g    t-e-s-t…  d-i-d-n-‘-t   s-t-u-d-y …..NEED HELP!

Of course he could set us all up on the “Family Plan”, there’d be no such thing as “weekend” or “rollover” minutes.  I can see the ad now…

Heavenly Mobile
Best coverage available
Pray as you go

With heavenly mobile you get more spirit in more places.

But why does it take a cell phone?  Does it somehow become more “real” for us to have an actual device in our hands…”This is how I talk to my Father.”  Why doesn’t prayer suffice?

It does, the only thing a cell phone has going for it, is that we use it all the time.  I guarantee that if you begin to pray with as much regularity as you talk on the phone, you’ll find yourself much more capable at discerning the spirit.  Its companionship will much more constant and durable.  And its departure will become much more easily recognizable. This is the key.  If you want to boost your ability to recognize the departure of the spirit, increase the regularity of when you feel it, so that when it leaves, you can literally feel it leave. 

Keeping your phone charged

Certainly we can increase the regularity with which we do the big things, like attend the temple, but what’s most important is the day to day things, reading scriptures, saying prayers, having family night (our kids are RELYING on us to make sure they feel the spirit), and other more common, but daily events that keep us spiritually charged (which I talk more about here, and here).

If you want to use your cell phone, you have to keep it charged.  You plug it in.  I’ve seen the terrified look on people’s faces when they go to use their cell phone, because they need it, and they find they forgot to charge it.

We’ve all been there, we go scrambling to find someone with a similar phone who may have a charger.  They’ve built these little “charger stations” in airports and other places now where those who forgot to charge their phone can pay to get a quick boost.  You can buy all kinds of “charger accessories” now, where you can charge it in your car, on the go, you can buy extra batteries, and so forth.

How much more terrifying is it to find ourselves in a situation where we desperately need the guidance of the spirit, but we find that because we’ve not invested the small daily time to pray and study the scriptures, we’ve lost its companionship?  We were not spiritually charged.

Reception – based on location.

One more way to help ensure your ability to recognize the spirit, and be sensitive to its presence, is by focusing on your location.

We’ve talked about cell phone users walking around trying to find somewhere with better reception, rushing into open areas, ducking around corners, trying to find someplace with a clear reception.

In the church we have a phrase for that…”Stand ye in holy places”. 

Certainly it’s not always feasible to literally stand in holy places, but we can also make our own holy places by sanctifying where we are with righteous works.  You can make your bedroom a holy place by making it a sanctuary of the spirit.  A place where you study and pray:  a place where you listen and learn.

By standing in Holy Places, you’re guaranteed a powerful reception, and the more regularity with which you put yourself in places like this, the more stark the difference will be when you suddenly find yourself without.  What’s more, by knowing the moment of it’s departure, you can more quickly identify what caused it to leave, and it’s far easier to retrieve right then, than hours later, days later, weeks later, or years later.

No busy signal

God lives, our Savior lives, the Holy Ghost is real, and the three of them work constantly for our benefit.  They’re always available.  You’ll never get a busy signal if you reach out to them.  We’ve been given the gift of the spirit and the companionship of the Holy Ghost as a solid testimony of the love of God and his never ending interest in our eternal welfare.

It’s crucial for us learn to recognize the spirit, to understand the way it works, and to give adequate urgency to maintaining his companionship.  Our capacity to recognize the spirit and tune ourselves to its promptings is one of the most important keys to spiritual success in this life.

Rusty

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Placebo – the power of belief

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.

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Don’t stare in your rear-view mirror

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Do you want a donut? A lesson on the atonement.

The following story came to me in email today.  If you happen to know who originally wrote it, please let me know so I can give them credit.  Until then, thanks… somebody.

Do you want a donut?

There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending Seminary in Utah. In this Seminary classes are held during school hours. Brother Christianson taught Seminary at this particular school. He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson’s Seminary class.
 
 Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room. He would also be the first to leave after the class was over.
 
 One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. After class, Bro.
 Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, ‘You think you’re pretty tough, don’t you?’
 
 Steve’s answer was, ‘Yeah, I do.’
 
 Then Brother Christianson asked, ‘How many push-ups can you do?’
 
 Steve said, ‘I do about 200 every night.’
 
 ‘200? That’s pretty good, Steve,’ Brother Christianson said. ‘Do you think you could do 300?’
 
 Steve replied, ‘I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.’
 
 ‘Do you think you could?’ Again asked Brother Christianson.
 
 ‘Well, I can try,’ said Steve.
 
 ‘Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,’ Brother Christianson said. Steve said, ‘Well… I think I can… yeah, I can do it.’
 
 Brother Christianson said, ‘Good! I need you to do this on Friday.’
 
 Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the ro om. When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited-it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.
 
 Bro. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, ‘Cynthia, do you want a donut?’
 
 Cynthia said, ‘Yes.’
 
 Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, ‘Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?’
 
 Steve said, ‘Sure,’ and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Bro. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.
 
 Bro. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, ‘Joe do you want a donut?’
 
 Joe said, ‘Yes.’ Bro. Christianson asked, ‘Steve would you do ten push- ups so Joe can have a donut?’ Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.
 
 And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut. And down the second aisle, till Bro. Christianson came to Scott.
 
 Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. Then Bro. Christianson asked, ‘Scott do you want a donut?’
 
 Scott’s reply was, ‘Well, can I do my own pushups?’
 
 Bro. Christianson said, ‘No, Steve has to do them.’
 
 Then Scott said, ‘Well, I don’t want one then.’
 
 Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, ‘Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?’
 
 Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, ‘HEY! I said I didn’t want one!’
 < BR> Bro. Christianson said, ‘Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.’ And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.
 
 Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Bro. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.
 
 Bro. Christianson asked Jenny, ‘Jenny, do you want a donut?’
 
 Jenny said, ‘No.’
 
 Then Bro. Christianson asked Steve, ‘Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?’ Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.
 
 By now, the students were beginning to say ‘No’ and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of eff ort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.
 
 Bro. Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. So Robert began to watch Steve closely. Bro. Christianson started down the fourth row.
 
 During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters along the sides of the room. When Bro. Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.
 
 Bro. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.
 
 Steve asked Bro. Christianson, ‘Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?’
 
 Bro. Christianson thought for a moment, ‘Well, they’re your pushups. You can do them any way that you want.’ And Bro. Christianson went on.
 
 A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, ‘NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!’
 
 Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, ‘No, let him come.’
 
 Bro. Christianson said, ‘You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him.’
 
 Steve said, ‘Yes, let him come in.’
 
 Bro. Christianson said, ‘Okay, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?’
 
 ‘Yes.’
 
 ‘Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?’ Steve did ten pushups very slowly an d with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.
 
 Bro. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.
 
 The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Bro. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, ‘Linda, do you want a doughnut?
 
 Linda said, very sadly, ‘No, thank you.’
 
 Bro. Christianson asked Steve, ‘Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?’
 
 Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Bro. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. ‘Susan, do you want a donut?’
 
 Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked , ‘Bro. Christianson , can I help him?’
 
 Bro. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, ‘No, he has to do it alone, Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?’
 
 As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.
 
 Brother Christianson turned to the room and said. ‘And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, plead to the Father, ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.’ .
 
 When everyone in the classroom heard what the teacher meant by it and realized everything. Steve smiled on the ground where he laid in his own sweat and began to cry.

(Again, thanks for whoever wrote this)
Rusty

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The cross we bear

The following cartoon sequence came to me in email the other day, and I thought it was worth posting here…  If anyone knows the creator or source of this cartoon, please let me know, so I can give them adequate credit.  Until then, thank you …. Somebody.

cross.jpg

We often complain about the cross we bear, but we forget that it’s preparing us for the chasm ahead that only the Lord can see.

Rusty

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Opportunity is like a bar of soap

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/opportunity

Self-imposed limitations

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/self-imposed-limitations

What do mormons really believe?

(Disclaimer: These views are all based on my knowledge and interpretation as an active Latter Day Saint, or “Mormon”, only the actual article of faith I list should be considered “official”.  Still, I try to be accurate and do my homework 😉

I’ve decided that over the next several days, I’m going to elaborate a bit on what Mormons believe, using the Articles of Faith as my guide.  This series of posts is meant to both assist in setting the record straight about Mormonism (if you’re not LDS, and have seen the plethora of false information online), and to helping those of us that are LDS appreciate the simple beauty behind our most basic beliefs.

(For context, the Articles of Faith were written by Joseph Smith and published in March of 1842 in an effort to provide a brief view of Mormon teachings… see here).

The first article of faith states: 

 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

Yes, that means we’re Christian.  We believe in Jesus Christ.  We believe that He lives, that He was resurrected after having been crucified on the cross.  We believe that He is our savior, and that through His atoning sacrifice, our sins might be forgiven that we might be made clean through His mercy. 

We believe that he is the literal Son of God, and that God is a real being of flesh and bone, who created the earth, and that we are all His children (see we are of royal birth).  Mormons believe that God is not some vague, cosmic energy, but is a real person that we can see, feel, and speak to.

What a beautiful thing that is, to know that we are made in the image of God.  Knowledge of such a divine heritage should fill us with hope, fortify our confidence, and alter the perspective we have on ourselves, and others.

And how wonderful it is to know that God is a literal, tangible being.  Somehow that makes him approachable, being able to see him as a kind and gentle Father who is concerned at all times for our eternal welfare (see God is Omnicaring).

We also believe in the Holy Ghost, that He is a personage of spirit, and as such, is able to dwell within us.  Think upon that for a moment.  Through living a righteous life, we are able to have the Holy Ghost actually dwell within us.  What a marvelous gift.  A measure of divinity placed within each of us providing a direct conduit straight to our Father in Heaven.

While it’s so easy to take the first article of faith for granted, being so basic, I find it to be of remarkable substance and encouragement.  I am a child of God, who sent His Son to atone for my sins, and provided me the Holy Ghost as a companion to show the way during dark times.  Armed with such knowledge, we should all feel a little bolder, a little more confident, and a little more determined.

Rusty

See also Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

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Gravity’s lesson on influence (watch your environment)

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/gravitys-lesson-on-influence-watch-your-environment