How The Scriptures Bless Our Lives

Scriptures give accounting from the day the world began.

They were the first great gift from God

to enlighten the hearts of man.

Carnal minds are captive to the adversary’s whims.

The scriptures teach that we can be free

from the stains of our earthly sins.

Rebirth through Christ’s redemption for the hurting soul’s relief

with sincere and full repentance

gives us healing for our grief.

Inspiring and uplifting, God’s word is pure and true.

They testify of Jesus Christ

and His sweet love for me and you

Prayerful study every day will draw us close to Him

and fill our hearts with hope and joy

as His sweet spirit enters in.

Timeless are the lessons and testimonies borne;

bringing blessings in abundance

to the hearts of those forlorn.

Unending are the truths we find within the pages bound

to feed the soul and warm the heart.

Oh, what great messages are found!

Relying on the scriptures is very necessary

while we move God’s sacred work along

and defy the adversary.

Eternal blessings come and heaven smiles upon us

when we, daily, feast upon His word

and humbly, put in Him our trust

So precious is God’s word that feeds our hungry souls

that angels open heaven’s door

with His sweet blessings to unfold.

Each verse begins with a letter from the word scriptures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Disciples, Pray For The Hardened Hearts To Be Softened And Receive Christ.

As I continue to read and study about the Savior’s atonement and the vile and hateful things that were said and done unto my Lord, my heart breaks because of them.  These were His people and yet they denied Him, ridiculed Him, mocked Him, spat upon Him, smote Him and would rather a murderer be released than He who was purer than all the pure in heart.  He never spoke a word that was not true and never reviled against those who reviled against Him.

Here I am today in 2019 and He is still being reviled against and His followers are being persecuted throughout the world.  He is still being spat upon, though not literally, but the words and actions of some are no less scornful.  It is like He is being crucified all over again, though, He is not suffering as He did in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross.  Yet, the pain of being rejected again and the vile nature of man in these latter days, must tear into His heart for He sees the great hold that Satan has upon men’s hearts these days.

Though, I pray that men’s hearts might be changed and they might repent and be born of Christ, I fear that man may have strayed too far away from truth and light.  However, I will continue to pray that man may recognize the hold and power Satan has over them and that they might have a great change of heart.  I will not give up hope that man is not totally lost in the grasp of Satan.

Hearts that were hardened against Christ in the days even before He came into the world and afterward were softened. They came to a knowledge of their wicked ways and repented.  I pray that those in these latter days whose hearts are hardened and deny Christ, will one day be enlightened and desire to follow in Christ’s footsteps, believing and obeying His commandments with all their might, mind and strength.  All things are possible with faith in Christ.  It can happen; all it takes is faith as big as a mustard seed.  If it is planted, nourished and helped to grow, it will blossom and a heart that once was hardened will be softened and turned to the light of Christ.

It is up to those of us who follow His teachings according to the laws and commandments in the holy scriptures to stand up for Christ at all times, in all things, in all places and deny Him not.  We must let our voices ring with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and share the good news that He lives and His love abides in the hearts of those who love Him.

We, the faithful followers of Christ, can change the world, one heart at a time. It is not too late, yet.  Let us be like the five wise virgins who kept their lamps trimmed and filled with oil so they wouldn’t miss the bridegroom when he came.  Let us keep our lamps filled with oil (the gospel of Jesus Christ) that we may have His infinite light shining on us to direct our paths and help us find those who have lost their way.

It took an earthquake for the Centurion, after Christ died on the cross, to realize that they had crucified the Son of God.  What will it take to wake up the dead in Christ to everlasting life in Christ?

May our prayers stretch toward the heavens and to G-d’s ears that we may be strengthened with knowledge and understanding enough to touch those whose hearts have been hardened and influenced by Satan, the author of all lies.  May we be strengthened in our efforts as disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we may be able to lead the hardened and impenitent hearts back to Christ.

Am I A Worthy Disciple?

As I was contemplating the Savior’s atonement, I couldn’t help but think about the suffering that He endured for my sake and all mankind.  I have also been contemplating  my worthiness as one of His disciples.

I don’t think it would be possible for anyone to accurately describe what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane where He suffered the most grievous and painful suffering that no mortal man could have survived, even for a brief moment.

It is difficult to even begin to imagine what it was like for Jesus when He took upon Himself all of the pains, anguish, afflictions and sorrows of every human being who has ever lived, is living or will live upon this earth.

As mortal beings, we suffer in various degrees from sickness, injuries, loss of loved ones, depression, addictions, violence, hatred, deception, corruption, and that’s only some of the things we, as mortals, suffer in this life.  Take all that plus and times it by every single soul past, present and future and put it upon the shoulders of the purest, kindest, most gentle, loving and humble person ever to walk the earth and that cannot even begin to describe the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane.

When I think about how great His suffering was that it caused his body to bleed great drops of blood from every pore, I realize how very insignificant I am in this great world that He, under the direction of the Father, created; including each and every one of us.  I often wonder, if I am really worthy of such suffering and such a great sacrifice as He made.

That was not the end of His suffering.  He was taken by soldiers; bound and led away after his disciple, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Him with a kiss.  He was led to be mocked and judged by an angry mob who would shout that He be crucified for doing no harm to anyone; only for refusing to deny who He was, the Son of God.  Crucifixion was just about the cruelest punishment for prisoners and they decided Christ was worthy of that punishment.

Now, after having suffered such horrible pains of body, mind and spirit, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was now beaten with faggots that tore His flesh and then was crowned with plaited thorns that dug into his head.  This was all to lead up to Him being led to Golgotha which means ‘the skull’ where He was to be crucified.  He was even made to carry his cross.

His suffering would continue when they nailed Him to the cross; two very large nails in His hands and two placed in His wrists as a sure way to hold Him on the cross.  As He did when he was accused and sentenced to die on the cross, He was silent.  Through it all, He said not a word.  They offered him nothing to drink but vinegar.  As His pure blood stained the ground beneath Him, He broke His silence and said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

One of the two who were crucified with Him, said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Jesus answered him, saying,  “Verily, I say unto thee, Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.”

Soon after, the sun was darkened and the earth was covered in darkness and He cried out, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”  His suffering was finally at its end. In three days, He would be resurrected, having fulfilled the will of His Father in heaven.

I often wonder if I am worthy of such a great sacrifice.  Am I showing Him through the way I’m living my life that I’m grateful for His atonement?  Am I emulating the attributes of the Savior in my daily life?  Am I a living testament that He lives and that I have been reborn through His atonement?  Do I live in obedience to His commandments and bend my will to the Father?

Never has there been such complete obedience to a father in all the history of this earth.  He knew that He would have to suffer terrible pain of body, mind and spirit in order to redeem man from the fall.  He knew what He would have to suffer; He didn’t know just how great it would be until He was in the Garden of Gethsemane where He took upon Himself the sins, afflictions and sorrows of all mankind.  Even though He prayed to His Father that the cup might be taken from Him because the suffering was so great, He said, “not my will, but thine be done.”

Why did Jesus willingly suffer for us?  If He had not experienced our sufferings and felt the pains we would feel, how would He know how to succor or help us?  His atonement did not free us from mortal pain and anguish, but it did provide a way for us to receive help and strength from Him to see us through our times of suffering.

In our suffering, we learn  humility and we become strong so that we can help others who may need our help.  It really makes sense; Jesus doesn’t want us to suffer and neither does Heavenly Father but Jesus suffered so He could know how to help us when we do and we need to  experience pain and suffering so we know how to help others going through the same or similar trials.

How many times when we have been going through really hard times have we complained and sometimes blamed G-d for our suffering?  What would have happened if Christ, instead of accepting the will of His Heavenly Father, complained and blamed Him for what He had to endure?  Of course, we know that Christ would never have done that; why do we do it?  We owe Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ a huge debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

There has not lived a purer, more humble and obedient son than Jesus, the Christ.  He was pure in every sense of the word and never claimed greatness for himself; only His Father. If one so pure could sacrifice His life for my sake, how can I not give Him all honor and glory?  How can I not sing praises to His holy name?  How can I not serve Him with all my heart, might, mind and strength?  How can I not do all that I can to be like Him?  How can I not share my love and adoration for Him and all He has done for me?  How can I not testify of His divine and eternal atoning sacrifice and resurrection? How can I not regularly partake of the Sacrament in remembrance of Him?  How can I not give thanks to my Father above for His willingness to sacrifice His only begotten Son for my sake?  How can I not be a willing disciple for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Unfortunately, like many others, I fall short and don’t always do what He expects of me or all that I’ve promised I would do.  Gratefully, because of His atonement, we can try again.  He never gives up on us and we should never give up on Him.  We need to be true disciples of Jesus Christ and that means to honor Him by living His commandments and testifying to the world through our words and actions that He is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.

 

Where Is Your Joy?

The dictionary defines joy as  1. a very glad feeling,  2. happiness,  3. delight.  Have you ever felt joy?  What did it feel like?  What was it that made you feel joy?  Have you ever thought about what joy is or have you ever recognized real joy in your life?  Let’s ponder this little word, joy.

Take a look at the first definition of joy; a very glad feeling.  It’s pretty easy to suppose that most people have experienced a very glad feeling about something.  Maybe you felt really glad when you realized your son or daughter got off to college safely.  Maybe you felt glad that you finally got your bills caught up.  Perhaps you felt glad that your tax return was better than you expected.  Getting good results from tests done by your doctor probably made you feel glad.  There are just so many instances when we can feel glad because of a good outcome.

Now, let’s take a look at definition number two; happiness.  You have probably felt happiness when you finally graduated from high school or college.  You likely felt happy when you got that promotion at work, finally reached your weight goal, got that house that was up for sale, saw your children grow up to be good men and women, or when your children or grandchildren were born.  Most of us have experienced these kinds of happiness and it’s a great feeling.

The third definition is delight.  How many of us have felt delight when we see our children grow and learn new things, when we see them do good things we don’t expect them to do,  when we see our new puppy learn to go potty outside,  when we have playful moments with our children or grandchildren.  Are we not delighted when these things happen?

As I said before, all of these are good definitions of joy but they don’t seem to define it in a way that helps capture what I feel is the real meaning of joy.  Let us take a deeper look into the meaning of joy and the things that can initiate or bring about that feeling.  I think that joy may be under-defined and we’ll talk about that here.

It seems to me that joy takes those definitions to a whole other level.  It’s like all of them combined but evokes something bigger; something even more meaningful.  I don’t know if anyone is following this line of thought.  Probably, you haven’t really thought about it and maybe it makes no sense to you but I see joy as something almost spectacular in its feeling.

In the Bible there are numerous mentions of the word joy.  For instance, in Psalms 16:11 it says, “in thy presence is fullness of joy.”  This is speaking of exaltation and being in the presence of G-d.  How does that make you feel?  It makes me feel excited and grateful to know that the opportunity to be in G-d’s presence again is there for me.  I can only pray that my life will be such that I will be exalted to live with Him again.  One of the definitions of exalt is to fill with joy.  To me, such joy surpasses all happiness.

In Isaiah 12:3, he says, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”  Salvation comes from the redemptive power of Christ’s atonement.  When I think about drawing water (living water) out of the wells of salvation, my heart hungers and yearns for that joy.

In Isaiah 29:19, he says, “The meek (humble) also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”  In Biblical times when people felt joy, they sometimes shouted to the heavens to express what they were feeling.  That’s kind of what I feel when I feel joy.  I do not shout but I do praise my G-d for His mercy and blessings that He has bestowed upon me.  I praise Him with prayers and songs of joy for His goodness and for His enduring love.

In John 15, Jesus says, “I am the true vine , and my Father is the husbandman.”  We are the branches that G-d takes care of.  Those who obey His laws and bring forth good fruit or good works, he purifies by testing and trying us to prove our fitness for the true vine; Jesus Christ.  In verse 11, He says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”  For our joy to be full, to me, means that it will be to overflowing if we abide in Christ and endure to the end.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense to those of you who may read it, but I’m attempting and maybe poorly to express my feelings about joy, how it feels and what it is, at least, to me.

Maybe this will explain my joy.  In church today, we sang the hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”  Every time I sing that hymn, I barely get half way through it when the tears start flowing like a waterfall.  I can’t help it, it just happens.  This hymn brings me such great joy because it truly testifies to me of the greatness of my G-d and the love He has for His children; being willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son in the flesh to suffer for my sins.  It testifies of Christ’s divine atonement for me.  It testifies of the wonders of creation.  Somehow the words of this hymn touch my heart so deeply that it brings tears of joy as I feel His sweet spirit and His abiding love cover me.

I don’t know if I have accomplished what I set out to do which was to define joy as I see it and feel it.  I don’t know if anyone will agree with me or understand where I’m coming from, but I hope, at least, you enjoyed reading it.

Will You Follow His Plan?

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if there were nothing but peace, order, tranquility, harmony, complete freedom to enjoy living with no complications, a simply blissful existence?  With all the chaos and ugliness in the world today, it’s probably passed through millions of minds wishing for just one day like that.

If we look at that as a place we would like to be; what we are really looking at is what it was like in the Garden of Eden with our first parents, Adam and Eve.  That’s exactly what it was like for them as they tended the garden and took care of the animals.  They hadn’t a care in the world.  There was no reason because everything was perfect and they were perfectly innocent. Their world had nothing that would create conflict or disorder.  Sound like a place you want to be?

Something happened in that perfect world that would change them and the world they knew and because of what happened they would no longer live in a perfect world without problems and sorrow.  Now, we all know what changed their perfect world but for those who don’t believe or have never learned about Adam and Eve, there was one person in their perfect world that they did not remember who had lived with them in the spirit world.  His name was Lucifer and he convinced Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  G-d had forbidden them to eat of that fruit saying that if they did, they would surely die.

Little did he know that by getting them to eat the fruit, they were fulfilling part of Heavenly Father’s plan so that they could be fruitful and multiply in the earth.  Had they not partaken of the fruit, they would have stayed in a state of innocence forever, never knowing good from evil because in their state, they knew no evil.  Once they ate that fruit they became mortal and would know pain, suffering and death. It was then that they were removed from the Garden of Eden and thrust into the cold hard world where they would have to fend for themselves.  They would have to fulfill their own needs and their faith would be tested.

Lucifer was the one who led a third of the hosts of heaven to rebel against G-d in heaven.  He wanted to change Heavenly Father’s plan to suit his plan for mankind.  What was his plan?  He wanted to go to earth and insure that every man, woman and child would be saved regardless of what they did in their earth life.  This would take away man’s right to choose for him or herself whether to follow G-d’s commandments or do that which was not right in His sight.  You didn’t have to choose whether to be good or bad because Lucifer’s plan would guarantee redemption no matter what they did.

However this was not G-d’s plan.  He wanted his children to have free agency to decide if they would follow His plan of salvation and obey His commandments or not follow and obey and suffer the consequences of their disobedience, especially if they did not repent and change their ways.  This was not part of Lucifer’s plan.  There would be no consequences for wrong choices, there would be no punishment and no repentance would be necessary.

You see, he wanted complete control over mankind.  Let them do what they wished and they would be willing to do his biding.  Is any of this sounding just a little familiar given the state of affairs in our society today?  Just thought I’d throw that in.

On the other hand, G-d’s plan required obedience to His commandments and living a righteous life that included studying the scriptures, praying, worshiping Him and doing good for others.  Do you see the important components to G-d’s plan versus Lucifer’s plan?

Now, it’s important to note that not only did Lucifer’s plan clash with Heavenly Father’s plan but it caused a war in heaven between those who chose to follow Heavenly Father’s plan and those who chose to follow Lucifer.  As a result of that war in heaven, Lucifer and a third of the hosts of heaven who chose his way, were cast out of heaven.

You have to understand that when we lived in heaven with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we were asked to make a choice as to whose plan we would follow.  We who have come to the earth as babies born to our parents, are said to have kept our first estate.  This means that we chose to follow G-d and not Lucifer and this allowed us to come to earth to obtain a body by being born of mortal parents.

What happened to Lucifer?  He came to earth as a spirit with his legions following him  They could not be born into the world and receive bodies because they hadn’t kept their first estate.  However, they are still around and they cause chaos, wars, contentions, idolatry, theft, murders and all manner of corruption. Everything he and his followers do results in negative influences and negative outcomes.  He and his minions are alive and well and if you’ll pardon me, still raising hell in the world.  Here he is known as Satan, the father of lies.  It was Satan who put it into Cain’s mind to kill his brother, Abel.  That was the beginning of his reign on earth.

The problem is that he has gotten control of so many minds and hearts that he is using every tool at his disposal to wreak chaos and corruption in our world.  What are his tools, you ask?  Here are a few:  anger, hatred, selfishness, jealousy, covetousness, greed, power, and negativity.  Those are just a few.  You see he is so crafty and so good at making lies look like the truth and making bad things look good, that he has captured the hearts and taken the souls of many, even those who were good people at one time.  That’s how good he is at his lies and deceits.  His armies have been growing bigger and stronger.

But, you know what?  There is good news.  No matter how big his armies or how strong they may seem, there is a source of power and goodness that is stronger than any army or any nation; it is G-d’s army.  Satan may think he is winning with everything that is going on today.  Well, he may as well enjoy that feeling while it lasts because when Jesus comes again, he will find out where the strength and power lies.  It is not with him.

When that day comes, every knee shall bow and confess that Christ is the Son of God, the creator of all righteousness.  Just as Heavenly Father has been preparing mansions in heaven for his beloved children who follow Him and His Son Jesus Christ, He has also prepared a place for Satan and his followers.  They will know torment throughout eternity; worse than any they ever caused here on earth.  The torment they caused here has had an end but their torment will never have an end.

So why would we agree to come to earth to go through all the things that we do?  Because we wanted to show Heavenly Father that we could and would obey His commandments even if we didn’t live in heaven with Him.

However, when we are born here on earth to learn and grow, we no longer remember our life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  So this world becomes a testing ground to see if we will still follow His commandments even if we can’t remember what it was like being with Him and being willing to obey His commandments in heaven.

G-d knew that we would have challenges that might weaken our spirits and cause us to do things that were not pleasing to Him but part of His plan was to send a Savior to the earth to atone for our sins so that through repentance we could be forgiven of our sins and be made clean and whole again spiritually.  Not only could we be forgiven because of His infinite atonement, but because of His resurrection, we will all be resurrected one day to stand before the bar of G-d to be judged according to what we have done, how we have lived during our life here on earth.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer Heavenly Father’s plan over Satan’s any day.  None of us are perfect; we all make mistakes and wrong choices at some time in our lives, but Christ’s atoning sacrifice for us, gives us a chance to be forgiven of our sins because He paid the price for them with His life so that we wouldn’t have to.  His resurrection makes it possible that one day we can return and be with Him and Heavenly Father.

“For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  I love this scripture because it tells me how much Heavenly Father loves me and how He was willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son in the flesh for my sake.  What a wonderful promise He gives those who repent, follow Him and live His commandments; eternal life with Him.  We can look forward to living a life in heaven where love, peace and honor abide.

Are you willing to follow His plan and receive eternal life?

 

The Power of Prayer

There has always been the question among people in the world, why me?   Why do I have to go through so much pain and anguish when I’m trying to live the best life I can and do good for others?   It’s a question many have asked themselves in the throes of trials and adversity.

For some: perhaps many people, when adversity strikes at them, their first reaction is to blame G-d.  Why would He let this bad thing happen to someone who is living a good life, trying to do good to others and serve Him?  Some might say that He, G-d, caused it to happen.  It’s understandable that sometimes when we are hit by some tragedy, serious illness, the death of a loved one, or injury that causes the loss of a limb, sight or hearing or any other loss that we feel we need to lash out at someone.  Many times it is our Heavenly Father that we blame.  Why did G-d let this happen?  Why didn’t He protect my loved one?  Why has my life been turned upside down?  So many questions and so much anger.

Should you be angry at our Heavenly Father for what happened?  Did He cause this bad thing to happen to you?  Doesn’t He care what happens to you?   Doesn’t He love you anymore?  When you are in the moment, these questions seem logical and you can’t seem to find an answer to them.  Suddenly you don’t know who G-d is; He doesn’t seem like the one you turned to when there was a problem and He helped you.

You are feeling so many things, anger, frustration, disappointment, hopelessness, and maybe even betrayal.  It’s normal.  It may last for a while but as long as you don’t close yourself off to the world and more importantly to G-d and His Son, Jesus Christ, things will get better.  You may not feel you can talk to Him for a while but then you may feel that you need to talk to Him more than ever.  Our human mind and feelings are unpredictable sometimes, but with help from those around us we get them under control and move on.

Like most of you, I have had to deal with some very difficult things in my life.  I didn’t always handle them the best way I could have, but I have found over the years, that  whether my battles are physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, I don’t have to fight them on my own.  I don’t have to wonder, what am I going to do now?  I don’t have to look for someone to blame even if someone is.  I have found that prayer gives me the answers; not necessarily right away and not always how I think or would like them to be answered but they are answered.  Sometimes, at first, its hard to formulate a real prayer in your mind when so many things are pressing at you, but you can have someone pray with you or for you.  Prayers work, no matter who says them.

I’m reminded of a young man who had something happen to him that caused him to be fighting for his life,  His body was shutting down and he was on life support.   A Facebook friend of mine who knew the family, posted the story with a photo of him.  He was lying in a hospital bed with tubes and machines attached to him to keep him alive.  He wasn’t aware of anything, at least not visibly.  He looked so weak and pale.  His mom made a plea for him that he could get a lot of prayers.

Well, there must have been a lot of people praying for this young man for what I think was several months.  I was one of the prayer givers.  His mom posted photos of him regularly and I followed this young man’s remarkable recovery from being able to do absolutely nothing for himself to just recently, being able to return home and eat real food again.  He was really enjoying the food.  He still has a breathing tube to help him breathe but he’s doing so much better and his life is getting better every day.  The smile on his face attests to that.

That was the power of prayer working for that young man.  Prayer has a power like nothing else.  The power of one prayer is great but the power that comes from many people praying for the same thing is awesome.  Beyond awesome!

When people are afflicted in any way in their lives, the one thing that can see them through the tough times ahead is prayer.  One thing about prayer, though, is you need to be patient.  Heavenly Father doesn’t always give us answers right away; everything is done in His own due time so we don’t have to think He doesn’t care if we don’t receive an answer right away.  We just need to be patient and know that in His wisdom He will give us the answer when the time is right.

He has a plan for us and maybe the answer to our prayers is part of that plan but His plans are made in order.   There is order in everything He does so maybe that answer has to wait to come in the proper order of things He has planned for us.

I have learned over the years that I don’t have to worry if my answers don’t come right away because I know that what the Lord has in store for me, outweighs anything that I might even imagine.  Prayers bring about good things but sometimes, we have to endure bad things to really appreciate the good things that come.  Heavenly Father doesn’t cause bad things to happen to us, but He doesn’t always intervene.  He wants to see how we will handle things on our own and whether we will turn to Him when we can’t do anymore.

One thing I have learned, as well, is that I am never alone; He is always with me and He lifts my heart and strengthens me so I can handle the tough things.  Heavenly Father never leaves us alone and He stays with us as long as we don’t turn our backs on Him.  If we do, I mean really turn away from Him, He will leave us on our own.  He won’t come back unless we plead for forgiveness and accept Him back into our lives.

Heavenly Father loves each of us with a love that is constant and pure.  He loves us even when we turn our heart away from him and when we plead for forgiveness with a broken heart and contrite spirit, He will forgive and comfort us.

I have a testimony of the power of prayer.  If you have not tried prayer, may I suggest that you test it with faith as big as a tiny mustard seed and if your prayer is sincere and you nurture it with the word of G-d, that seed of faith will grow in your heart and you will know the power of prayer can work for you.

May G-d bless you to overflowing with His love and remember this:  He is never more than a prayer away.

 

 

 

 

 

Are We Becoming The Divided States of America?

I can remember a time during my life time that America was what looked to me to be a real UNITED States of America.  Of course, we didn’t agree on everything and some states did some things differently than others but being different is part of what makes America great.

When I look at America today, I see a very different nation from what I grew up in.  It has practically become a sin to be different, to think differently, to believe differently or live differently; at least in the eyes of those who would like to complete the fundamental transformation of our country that began when Obama took office and continued for eight years under his administration.

In the America I grew up in, we were a UNITED States of America.  We agreed that the Constitution was our rule of law and that all who live here and govern here should abide by it.  Yes, there were anti-Americans then but America as a whole respected the Constitution and our flag.  As a nation, we revered our men and women in uniform, whether they were in uniform here at home serving our communities or whether they were fighting wars in other countries to keep us safe from the problems that plagued those countries.

I remember an America where people in neighborhoods actually interacted together as neighbors and were there for each other.  Kids grew up respecting our country’s flag, those in the military, police officers, and others who served in the community.  They learned about our history and even if they didn’t like or believe what our forefathers did or what happened in our country because of wars and division among some parts of the country, they respected them because they were a part of our history.  Our history really meant something to them but just because they didn’t agree with what they did or didn’t do, they still acknowledged the importance they played in our country’s history.  Our history was a part of us that we revered.

Today, I see such a great division among states and the people concerning our history.  Many of the monuments and statues that were erected as a reminder of some of that history, is being looked at as something offensive and unnecessary.  Many of them have been torn down because someone or a group of people have decided that they no longer represent our history.  Now, instead of teaching that history and remembering those who lived it and wrote it, people are pushing it aside and trying to rewrite it in an effort to stifle any remembrance of what took place in our country that actually helped to form the country we were to become and did.

When there were elections, candidates ran on a platform and delivered that platform to the people and then they decided whose platform they were going to support.  It didn’t always turn out that way most of us wanted it to.  Of course, there was some corruption at play; politics has never really been a clean sport, so to speak, but whatever the outcome, we accepted it even if we didn’t agree with it.  That didn’t mean that we didn’t try to make things better or that we didn’t protest when it was necessary.  The big difference then was that when we protested, we protested loudly but for the most part we protested peacefully.  Yes, there were some confrontations that got out of control but it wasn’t an acceptable way of dealing with things like it is now.  You didn’t see protesters rioting, destroying property and making streets looked like a war zone.

Another thing you didn’t see, was people who disagreed with what an administration was doing, going public with threats of violence, ugly name-calling and false accusations against a sitting president and his family.  You didn’t see atrocious acts of violence with people stomping on the flag, setting it on fire and spewing ugly hateful words.

It’s amazing the differences that have come about since I was growing up in America and what it is now.  Comedians may have joked about something the sitting president did, but they didn’t go on live TV and say all kinds of ugly things that made a mockery of the sitting president to make him look like the village idiot when they, themselves acted like the real idiots.

You may have seen signs protesting something but they didn’t say crude things that were offensive to the eyes. You didn’t hear protesters shouting obscenities over the voices of someone who was voicing their opinions or trying to speak to a crowd.

We can’t even agree on moral issues like abortions.  I know that when I was growing up, there were abortions, but they never became a way of life and they certainly weren’t looked at as a right.  As time went on, there were women who made demands that they be allowed to do what they wanted to do and if they were carrying a child they didn’t want, they felt their body belonged to them and they could decide to have an abortion if they wanted it.   Not a lot of doctors, at first were willing to do the abortions but as time went on, I guess the money made the difference so more doctors were doing it and then there was Planned Parenthood.  When I first heard about them, I thought it was to help young couples make plans for making a family and helping them adjust to being parents.  For a long time, I thought it was a good organization and maybe it was in the beginning but it took on an ugly side.  Then I started hearing about the number of abortions growing and soon heard that they were actually harvesting parts from aborted fetus and babies aborted late in pregnancy to sell to the highest bidder.   The abortions were bad enough but selling baby parts?

It was hard to believe until I saw some actual footage of people who did the abortions talking to someone about how they do the abortions and use parts to sell.   I couldn’t believe this was taking place in my country but it’s been going on for a long time now and still Planned Parenthood has not been shut down.

We can’t even agree to allow people of faith to pray where they want to or when they want to.  Why is this such a big problem?  It never was before.  Freedom of religion is a G-d-given right.  People could pray or even preach on the street corners but now, you might get arrested for even mentioning G-d or Jesus Christ or maybe thrown out of a restaurant for praying before you eat.   Bibles and prayers are no longer allowed in schools, but transgender males or a male who identifies as a female can go into girls locker rooms and bathrooms.  They can even participate in what used to be women’s sports; making it tougher for women to compete and win in games meant only for them.  It’s not that women are weaker; it’s that women are built differently from men and even a transgender still has the strength and stamina of a man.  We are told in some places that men who identify as women or women who identify as men can no longer be referred to as their biological gender.  They now have a neutral gender and genders to fit just about anything they identify with.  Gay marriage was one thing but now this?

People of faith usually don’t have any problem interacting or associating with homosexuals, transgenders or anyone in the gay community.  However, we do have a problem when we are being forced to render service to them in a way that is promoting or accepting of their way of life.  In the case of shared bathrooms, I feel that if they want to live as members of the gay community, let them have their own bathrooms that they can share between themselves and quit forcing people of faith to give up their privacy.   We have principles we try to live by and there are some things that we feel deeply about because of our beliefs.  If the government is so bent on them have their way, let them figure out a way to pay for bathrooms to accommodate the gay community.

We, as Americans can’t seem to agree on a whole lot of things especially when it comes to religion and morals.  Why is it that those of us who live by religious morals have to give in to those who don’t?  If we stand up for our morals, we are called bigots, racists, and any number of other cruel names.  In some places you can be fined or arrested just for expressing your religious beliefs or standing by your religious principles.

There is also a division when it comes to obeying our immigration laws.  Even though we do have immigration laws that have worked in the past, there is the issue with it that has been going on much too long; illegal immigrants.  I always felt proud that my country took in immigrants from other countries to give them a chance for a better life.  I was okay with it because they were coming here legally through our immigration system which seemed to be working pretty well.

Then, illegal immigrants started coming into our country, but like most Americans, I thought it was being taken care of and they were being sent back to their country for breaking our immigration laws.   I found out later on that this wasn’t what was happening.  Some were being sent back but not all and some were sneaking into our country unnoticed.  Because politicians and the mainstream media were working together to keep it from us, we weren’t aware what was happening until more and more were coming here illegally.  The more I read about it, the more I realized that there was something going on that I wasn’t happy about.  It actually began decades ago but it became an unbearable problem for us with the Obama administration that pretended to want our borders secure but in reality, wanted open borders for people from other countries to enter here illegally.  The worst part of it was that they were being given citizenship without going through the proper channels like many legal immigrants have done in the past and continue to do today.

Not only were they given a free pass to citizenship but they were given free housing, food, clothing, medical assistance, money they didn’t work for, free schooling, free everything.  Meanwhile, many of our people, including veterans have been living in the streets; some homeless for years, scavenging for food, sleeping in the cold with little to cover themselves.

How did we go from a real UNITED States of America to a country that is, now, torn with all the liberal chaos and lies that they use to try to win the support of the American citizens or at the least, their cronies?   I say it’s torn because there no longer seems to be a common thread throughout the country that ties us together as a nation united in purpose. Now, I’m sure there are still a lot of great conservative patriots who believe in our Constitution and our God-given rights to speak, think, live and believe as we choose.  However, with all the senseless lies being put forth by the liberals and the left-leaning media along with their Hollywood minions who gladly follow in their footsteps, our rights are now on the verge of being crushed.  They will be if we, as patriotic Americans don’t do our part in trying to save those things that we have embraced since our forefathers founded this country and set up a free government to benefit all people.

I think we can, as President Trump has said from the time of his candidacy, Make America Great Again.  However, we cannot make it happen if we, as patriots, do not do whatever we can to help him push the truth by sharing the truth that we have and making our voices heard loudly, yet peacefully.  We don’t have to go on any rampages to get the truth out but we do have to put it out there.  We have to stand for truth in every facet of our lives.  We must show the world that we know the truth and that we are not afraid of the ugly voices that say the truth is a lie.

We are the United States of America but we will become the Divided States of America if we do not unite in power and might with the truth and share it far and wide so that those who are confused or think that the lies and deceit they’ve been fed are the answer, will hear our call of truth and maybe realize that they have been fooled.  That is why I belong to a group called Americans United Against Tyranny.  A man named, Michael Hutton has been working on building a Patriot Union to fight against these very things and turn our country around as a nation united in one purpose; to be free from tyranny and bring morality and greatness back to our country.  The symbol of the Patriot Union is at the top of this article and if we unite together as part of this Patriot Union, we can Make America Great Again.

Now, while it is important that we stand up for and share what we know is true, it is also important that we realize where that truth comes from.  It comes from G-d for He is the source of all truth and if we turn our hearts to Him with faith, believing that He will be with us and help us spread the truth, He will do it.  He is not happy with how things are going in our country; it breaks His heart to see what is happening to His children.  We can turn that around and let Him see that we are giving Him back our lives, our hearts and our country by truly repenting so that He will bless us with strength from above to overcome the corruption and the evil that exists.

We know that evil and corruption will not fully disappear until the day that the earth is cleansed from all evil at the last day, but we can keep it from overcoming us and our country.  We have the power and ability to take our country back from the elitist liberals who think they can dictate to us what we can and cannot do.  We can do it, but only with the grace of G-d and power from on high.

Patriots, don’t take everything you read and hear to be the truth.  Research, check the sources, make sure you are getting the truth.  I can give you the links of four Facebook friends who deal only with the truth and you can check them out for yourself.   There are others but if you don’t know where to start looking for the truth, you can start from here and then you will recognize when you receive the truth from others.

Here’s where I find the truth in news:   DML  dennismichaellynch. —— Rick Trader  ccrshow.com —— Barry Secrest   conservativerefocus.com —— Joe Newby    conservativefiringline.com

I hope that whoever reads this will share it.  It may change someone’s thinking about what truth is and where it can be found.  The first step is to turn to God for His help and rely on His wisdom and then look to where you will find the truth about what is really going on in the world and right here in our country.  When you find that truth, share, share, share with everyone you can so we have a real chance to Make America Great Again.  I would ask one more thing; check out The Patriot Union at http://www.AUAT.org.  The clock is ticking away; we must do something now before it’s too late.  I plead with  you, my fellow patriots, stand up for the truth.  Don’t let corruption take over our society; our country.  It’s worth fighting for and it’s up to you and me to fight the evil with truth.

Written by: Patricia Traeger

 

 

Happiness or Joy?

At church today, I listened to a talk in which joy was compared to happiness and I thought that would be a good subject for my blog.

What is happiness?  The dictionary gives a whole list of synonyms to describe happiness.  Some of them are:  merrymaking, laughter, delight good spirits, hilarity, playfulness, exuberance and lightheartedness.  Those are just a few, so what does it take to make us happy?

Let me see; the birth of a child makes us happy, getting a raise or promotion at work makes us happy, finally getting that much needed vacation makes us happy, seeing our loved ones after a long absence makes us happy.  There are many things that make us happy and that’s good.  We all want to be happy and there’s nothing wrong with that.

When we are happy, can we also feel joy?  What is joy?  Joy is much like happiness but looking at it from a spiritual point of view, it is much more.  In the scriptures, joy is mentioned a multitude of times.

Joy encompasses the heart when we are in constant communication with God.  He opens the door to eternal joy for those who repent sincerely of their sins, are baptized by those in authority and forsake the things of the world to follow the Savior.  The expanse of our joy is according to the effort we put forth in obeying the commandments of the Lord and in doing good to those around us.

Happiness can be fleeting but joy can be as lasting as our willingness to follow in the footsteps of our Savior.  When we live the gospel of Jesus Christ and follow Him, our joy is full.  That does not mean that we have a free pass in this life and all will be well throughout.  However, it does mean that no matter what trials may come to us, if we continue to look to Him and love Him with all our might, mind and strength, we can still have joy in the knowledge that He loves us and is there for us.  He is our strength and our hope; He is always there with His arms outstretched and ready to wrap us in His love.

God, our Father, sent His Son, Jesus Christ into the world to free us from our sins through repentance and belief in Him.  Without Him there is no joy, no love, no peace, and no hope.  What He offers us is eternal joy with Him.

Yes, I will enjoy my happy times while I’m here on earth, but my joy in Him will be with me forever.

I am grateful for that talk this morning because it gave me something to ponder and it inspired me to write this to voice my feelings and thoughts in relation to the talk.

I know my Father lives and also my Savior, Jesus Christ.  They are my rock and my strength to fortify me against the things of the world.  With them, I can overcome many things; alone I can overcome nothing.  Of this, I testify in the name of Jesus Christ.

Are we becoming a nation of no respect?

There is not a day that I don’t go to my email or to Facebook that I don’t see some headlines that someone who is trying to do good is being ridiculed or bullied because of it.  It’s everywhere, especially when it comes to conservatives who support and defend our president, vice president and his allies in his cabinet.

President Trump should have the support of all his cabinet in leading this country in the right direction as he is trying very hard to do.  However, this is not the case.  There are some even within who show little or no respect for him.

There was a time when no matter if you liked a president or not, people respected the office and extended respect to the sitting president.   There were not people being so disrespectful to a president, his family, or his cabinet members like they are today.  Yes, there were disagreements with words written and said against certain policies or actions, but they weren’t the ugly things that are so prevalent today.

There was also a time when Hollywood pretty much stayed out of politics.  It would be nice if it were like that today.  There were no elites making political attacks on a president and vice president using vicious, ugly remarks and mocking them for their religious beliefs.  Now this is being done very publicly and even touching their families.  This is not the kind of examples our children and young adults need to be subject to.

Our country seems to be going in a direction that not only goes against everything our country was founded on, but it is ignoring every freedom guaranteed in our Constitution.

No matter where you turn, there are people being told they cannot voice their opinions or beliefs because it might offend someone.  Businesses, careers and lives are destroyed when Christian owners or public figures make any mention of or assert their belief in Jesus Christ.  Instead of His name becoming a part of any conversation, particularly if it is made known to the public, it has become something never to be mentioned.

We have politicians and others in the public eye, including many Hollywood elites who think that their way is the only way and anyone who disagrees with them is threatened with vulgar, sick and unthinkable violent acts.  It’s not even them expressing a belief; it’s become a sick political leftist ideology.  What’s worse, is that the threats are also made to young children who don’t even know or understand why they are hated so much.

It’s no wonder so many of our young people are turning to violence.  They hear it and see it everywhere.  Unless there is a strong family unit where God is present, young people begin to think that violence is the answer to everything.  The scary thing is that it only takes a few to break down the honor and morality of a generation.  This is especially true when there is media that relishes bringing out the worst in people and putting down anything that is good and decent.  Add to that social media that promotes this same kind of disrespect and ugliness and you have what is going on today in our society.

What kind of examples are we setting for the next generations?  Even in our schools we can see negative examples being set by teachers and other school personnel.  They ban anything religious and show zero tolerance for those who stand up for their beliefs and those who don’t believe mock those who do.  In the workplace, there can be  someone who will try to stir up discontent and make it very difficult to keep things running smoothly between employees or with the employer; particularly when anything religious arises in conversations.  Of course this is not always the case, but the way things are going in our society, it can happen anywhere and everywhere.

This is not what God or our founders meant for this country.  They set our standards high which is why we became a great country that others looked up to.  Our president has made great strides in making America great again, but so many of his great efforts are being hindered by dishonorable men and women in our government and those who support their efforts.

Respect is not something you see much, especially in our government today.  There are so many who are deeply grounded in corruption, lies and greed.  Thankfully, we have a president who is trying to change all that by cleaning out the swamp.  He deserves a lot of credit for what he has accomplished.

When I read the scriptures, there are countless stories of believers being mocked, often silenced and violence erupting because of a difference in their beliefs or opinions or how they live.  There is no respect for others; only demands that people don’t practice their beliefs and follow another way contrary to theirs, yet those mocking expect or even demand respect.

Now we have people who support our president being asked to leave business establishments simply because they support our president.

Will we ever have a society that will show respect to those who may have differing beliefs or opinions?  Will we ever just accept others as they are even if our views don’t agree with theirs?   Will we ever have a society again where people can be themselves and not be concerned about threats of violence because someone doesn’t like how they live?

It is my belief that we are in the latter days according to the scriptures.  The signs are everywhere.  The huge increase in severe storms, flooding, earthquakes, fires, erupting volcanoes, accelerated violence, killing, torture, human trafficking, disease, lying, deceiving, treachery, corruption on all levels.  Satan has gotten hold of many hearts of those in the public eye and is working hard on the hearts of family members in families everywhere.

The Lord is warning us that we need to turn to Him or suffer the consequences.  As for me, I will go the Lord’s way;  I don’t even want to think about what might happen if we don’t turn to Him before it’s too late.  Just read the book of Revelations and it’s very clear what we can expect.

What it all comes down to is our choices.  God has given us free agency to choose for ourselves.  How we use that agency will determine our fate as individuals and as a people.  If we choose the right and do good, we will have our reward and if we choose wrong or evil, we will also have our reward but it won’t be anything pleasant.  As the saying goes, we reap what we sow.

Respect begins with ourselves and what we learn at home.  If we are taught respect as young children, we learn to show respect to others.  We must respect ourselves, our God and our Savior.  When we do, we have no problem respecting others.  This is why it is so important to have a real relationship with them.

There are probably some; maybe many who, when they read this, may disagree with what is said here.  That’s okay; free speech is still alive but just barely.

We must plant the seeds of love, respect and honor in our homes and let it blossom from there.

 

How the Lord became my light again.

There is a hymn that we sing in church called, “The Lord Is My Light” that became a catalyst for me to come back to Christ.

A long time ago, I was going through some difficult times with depression which caused me to be hospitalized for 4 weeks and be under psychiatric care for about a year and a half.   During that time, I was also talking to my bishop who gave me some sound advice concerning the kinds of things I allowed to go into my mind and how they affect my actions.  I remember he advised me to read something called “Worthy Music, Worthy Thoughts.  It made quite an impression on me and I started to be more aware of what I was putting into my mind.  I started going to my hymn book and reading the words of the hymns out loud and then singing them.

The words of the hymns began to touch my heart but it was this hymn that seemed to always put things into perspective for me.  They pierced my heart and quickened my soul.

The very first verse grabbed my attention:  “The Lord is my light; then why should I fear? By day and by night his presence is near.  He is my salvation from sorrow and sin;  This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.”   The chorus is:  “The Lord is my light; He is my joy and my song.  By day and by night he leads, he leads me along.

When I sang those words, my heart filled with joy.  Why should I ever be afraid of what may come my way when the Lord is always there to help and guide me.  He would not leave me alone; ever.  I needed to trust Him again with all my heart and the words to that hymn helped me to do that.

The words to the rest of the hymn had just as much of a profound effect on me as the first verse.  This is one hymn that I felt was written just for me; of course it wasn’t, but that”s how it made me feel and it gave me courage to face the future and whatever it brings.

Even now, many years later, I still get that feeling when I sing or read the words.  For quite a while now, I haven’t been able to sing the words but I can still read them and they continue to hold the same meanings for me.  They bring me peace in this world of chaos, strife and hatred.

I wanted to share this with you because music can often have a profound effect in a person’s life; particularly when it has a message that can touch ones heart and soul in a way that may transform their life for the better.

Here are the complete lyrics; perhaps they will touch your heart as they do mine.

Lyrics:

  1.  The Lord is my light; then why should I fear?
    By day and by night his presence is near.
    He is my salvation from sorrow and sin;
    This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.
    (Chorus)
    The Lord is my light;
    He is my joy and my song.
    By day and by night he leads,
    He leads me along.
  2. The Lord is my light; tho clouds may arise,
    Faith, stronger than sight, looks up thru the skies
    Where Jesus forever in glory doth reign.
    Then how can I ever in darkness remain?
  3. The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength.
    I know in his might I’ll conquer at length.
    My weakness in mercy he covers with pow’r,
    And, walking by faith, I am blest ev’ry hour.
  4. The Lord is my light, my all and in all.
    There is in his sight no darkness at all.
    He is my Redeemer, my Savior, and King.
    With Saints and with angels his praises I’ll sing.
  5. Text: James Nicholson, 1828-1876
    Music: John R. Sweney, 1837-1899