Glorious is what it is going to be! We talked in church about how it will be during the millenium, 1000 years of peace, everyone just gets along, works to make sure everyone is good and Jesus Christ will reign as king. Sounds like paradise. Sadly it’s not going to happen soon enough. until then I am just going to need to dream.
Archives for April 2013
Wandering through life I have often observed people in search of what I believed was happiness. My view has changed, ever so slightly. This week I was reading a talk given during General Conference by Elder Quentin L. Cook Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness. People are in search of happiness, however, I think more fundamentally they are in search of peace. As Elder Cook stated, “I have been impressed with the difference between universal or world peace and personal peace.” Elder Cook gave some examples of specific where events in the United States distress people because it disturbs people view of their own peace. He gave the example of September 11th and the Sandy Hook elementary shootings. He may have included the Boston Marathon bombings in that list also. With these events many can not find, nor do they know where to find peace. He then began talking about agency. Because he wanted to show that personal peace can be obtained by correct choices. It is interesting to note, in a book I read a couple of weeks ago called Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, he is a neuro-surgeon that had a near death experience that turned him from an atheist into a believer in God. He states in his book the overwhelming feeling of love he felt as he was involved with his heavenly experience. He made the statement that in that place the influence of God would not allow evil to be present, and only on earth could evil exist. It was interesting that Dr. Alexander made the observation that agency required there be evil present so we could make choices. Dr. Alexander, not really knowing what to do with his experience, doesn’t yet realize that making choices that bring us closer to Jesus Christ and ultimately our Father in heaven is where we can find that overwhelming sense of love and peace he felt during his near death experience. However, it is surprising his new zeal to try an convince others of the realness of his new beliefs.
Making the correct choices and doing what is right and good is not easy and will probably never be popular. People like to say, write and show that there are easy ways to find happiness and peace. Sadly, the lasting peace and happiness that all of us seeks will not come in this life. At best we are only going to catch glimpses of these things here on earth in this life. The religious, where I count myself, believe that what we do here in life will affect how our existence will be after this life. I also believe living the best life we can will bring us more happiness here.
Another fascinating thing I listened to this week was on NPR TED hour called, What is Beauty, This program patched together TED talks about beauty. They hypothesized that beauty is something we need to survive and to happiness. Nancy Etcoff believes that beauty is what we see ,that subconsciously, we interpret will help us survive. I want push a bit farther and say that beauty in this world is a bit of the glory from heaven that is shining through to our world to help us remember what is was and it will be like to be with God.
I believe we are all attracted to beauty because it helps us feel that peace we are all looking for. When we make good choices we get closer to that peace.
The only thing I ask is that people continue to find those things that bring peace into their lives.
It seems that the talks in conference didn’t reach me until the priesthood session. My favorite quote from the priesthood session was from Elder Tad Callister, “Can you imagine a problem God cannot solve. I cannot!” I had never really thought about problems that way before. I thought to myself, “I need to approach my problems in life with that thought in mind.” The scriptures are filled with stories of impossible situations where people and prophets have put there trust in the lord and he was able to move the mountain.
Elder Beck spoke about ministering and shared a story about a special needs girl who was being bullied, her mother reached out to an Aaronic priesthood holder that was on the football team. The boys on the football team started escorting her to classes and the bulling, of course, stopped. What a wonderful way to minister to the one. The story garnered national media attention.
Elder Uchtdorf spoke about titles. The concept that touched me is the statement “Satan would have us define ourselves by our sins and not our divine potential. I am going to need to go back and re-read the talk after it gets posted online to get the exact quote. He then gave an analogy about a toddler: When they are learning to walk and they stumble, parents do not scold them, but encourage them to get up and try again. Our Father in heaven is like this to us. As long as we a trying he is encouraging us to keep trying and is happy with our progress.
With many in the world forsaking any belief in religion or deity. Easter is another season that brings back into focus the life of Jesus Christ. While Christmas is something that brings joy to the world, Easter is where the real power comes in. I am thankful for the hope I get from the belief that Jesus Christ over came sin and death so that we can live in peace forever. I know many Christians have different beliefs about the atonement and resurrection. I however, am fond of my belief of these events, which brings me hope for the future and hope for eternity.
In Church today we had a speaker that spoke about “Train wrecks, lost Sheep and the atonement.” I think his name was Steve Harris; I know his first name was Steve for sure. Anyway he volunteered for three years at the Salt Lake County Correctional facility. He said the time there changed his life. He said he truly felt the saviors love for these men and women that had made poor choices in their lives. He explained, in the maximum security section of the facility the prisoners were not behind bars, but behind a plexi-glass sort of plastic. On Sundays, they would move from cell to cell asking in the prisoners wanted “Church?.” He mentioned, some would wave him on, but many would ask for a message. Steve told that he became well acquainted with some of the men. One of the stories he shared with us was about a week in his life that had been exceedingly difficult. His family was going through some extraordinarily difficult economic times. That particular week he has run out of hope and was feeling despair. Steve had been praying for peace and hope to come back into his life. As he approached his assignment at the county facility, he still did not feel peace. Towards the end of his rounds through Maximum security he came to the cell of two men, Moses and Americ. He explained that Moses had a smile that could brighten the darkest room, and a voice that was melodic. He indicated he could listen to him all day. On this particular day, he felt like a southern baptist preacher and said “You need to come to the altar of God.” Moses and Meric answered with a hearty “Amen brother Steve.” After he had delivered his message, he asked if he could leave them with prayer. Moses replied, “Can I pray for you brother Steve?” Steve said, he almost broke down. In his heart, he said, “I need a you to pray for me.” He answered audibly, “Yes.” Moses began the prayer. “Father God” and then began a beautiful prayer that covered things that were truly personal to him, things that he has only conveyed to his wife and parents. He felt the despair being lifted as Moses prayed, and that despair being replaced by peace and hope. He felt it ironic that he had to go to prison to have a prisoner answer his prayer. After the prayer ended. Moses said, “That was a gift from God.” Steve knew that to be true. This and many other experiences at the prison testified to him that the savior loves everyone and wants everyone to return to him.
He then continued his talk with a discussion about train wrecks, he explained how looking up train wrecks on the internet revealed pictures of mangled metal and twisted tracks. He said he liked to use the term train wreck, he said he often described peoples lives as train wrecks. He also talked about people he saw making poor choices and would explain their situation as a train wreck waiting to happen. He then related the scripture from Isaiah 53:6 “All of us like sheep have gone astray,” Steve then explained we are all train wrecks or train wrecks waiting to happen. And there is no way back except through the atonement of Jesus Christ. He continued, our savior wants us to come back. He is looking for us, when he finds us, he will gladly pick us up, and rejoicing, carry us back to the fold. What a glorious thought! Our savior wants us to repent and find our way back to him