Tag Archives: Christ

Hazy

Hazy

I can’t tell if I’m hazy because I’m fatigued, or I’m fatigued because my brain is hazy.   I’m counting the days before my next appointment.  It will be nice if the doctor can pinpoint the cause of my symptoms.

Church today went okay, but late in the afternoon, I was standing talking to my wife when I just lost all energy.  It was as though someone unplugged my power source.  I didn’t feel dizzy or faint, just zapped of all energy.

Christ Centered

We had a wonderful Christ centered Sacrament meeting today.  President and Sister Evans were our speakers.  They have amazing testimonies and their talks were amazing.

I shared with them afterwards how bad I felt when I had brought a friend to church.  The first speaker talked about the “atonement” without mentioning Christ.  I felt sad that the speaker didn’t talk about how Heavenly Father provided a Savior who would atone for our sins.  Instead, it was more like the “atonement” was some mystical thing.  It’s not.  It is a plan our Heavenly Father had and it was fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

Priesthood Meeting

Today was my first Sunday teaching Elder’s Quorum on the 4th Sunday.  Our lesson was about ministering and how ministering means serving others and not ourselves.  The men in the class gave some wonderful examples from the scriptures.  I felt very good about how the lesson went.

Over 2000 Years Ago

Over 2000 Years Ago

Trent and Liz Sutton spoke in church today.  Both gave excellent talks.  Sister Sutton’s talk caused me to go back and reflect on what it must have been like on that first Christmas night over 2000 years ago.

I imagined being an observer based on what I know…

That First Christmas

It was the lambing season, and so shepherds were busy on the plains of Judea west of Jerusalem.  Being early spring, the night chill had them clustered together for warmth.

Not far, in a town in the District of the City of David, a young couple settled for lodging in a manger.  She was about to deliver the Son of God.  Her and her espoused husband, Joseph, had been visited by an angel who prophesied the birth of this child.

As she went in to labor, the night grew dark.  Darker than ever.  The shepherds watching the flocks strained their eyes to keep  watch over their flocks.  This heightened their senses and made them anxiously watch for predators among their sheep.

Lighting the World

As Mary bore down and pushed, the baby’s head crowned.  The baby emerged and the darkness veiling the earth broke as a new star appeared in the heavens, exactly over the little grotto wherein the manger sat.  Light not only filled the heavenly sky, but also that dark covering was filled with the Light of the World.

About the time the shepherds saw the star angels appeared before them.  Because they went from this deep dark sky to seeing these bright beings descend from above, their already heightened vigilance caused them to fear what was happening.

“Fear not!” said the angel, “for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

Then, something that has never happened before or since occurred.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The shepherds, all witnessing what just happened discussed among themselves what they should do.  Without haste, the shepherds began their journey towards Bethlehem.  There they found Mary, Joseph and the newborn King.  Because their hearts were filled with joy, finding the Promised Messiah, they went off telling others and inviting them to come and see over 2000 years ago.

copyright 2017 db walton

A Savior is Born

A Type for Us

This is a type for us.  The darkness that night was a lack of light.  That darkness was broken at the birth of the Savior with a light from a new star and heavenly beings.

The world today is full of darkness – a lack of spiritual light.  That darkness will be broken when the Savior returns.

Missionaries

We fed the missionaries tonight.  I made a chicken in blush sauce, spinach and brownies for dessert.

We learned Sister Packard is going home this week.  As a result, she will not be here for our Christmas breakfast.  We’ll miss her.  She’s been a cheerful influence.

Public Affairs

Public Affairs

I have a few callings in the church.  Aside from being Ward Organist, I’m also on the stake Public Affairs Council.  The PAC had its first 2017 meeting today.

I like how President Robinson phrased our emphasis.  He said it should focuse on bringing people to Christ.  Amen to that!

After the Face to Face

We had a few people who were here for the Face to Face, yet I expected more.  Sam Penrod from KSL was there with his boys, but I didn’t see a lot of other Utah people at Sacrament Meeting.  (The church employees moved out quickly!)

I got a lot of comments to the effect, “Saw you on the broadcast.”

Missionary Dinner

Being the first time since going back to buying groceries that we’ve fed the missionaries, I made taco salad.  Yes, after living off food storage for 3 months you start to miss salads.

Other things we’ve missed:  fresh tomatoes, avocados, sweet onions, fresh fruit.

I forgot to make dessert.  Fortunately for me we had some left-over cake.  It was just enough to feed the four of us.

Our new sister, Sister Braunberger, was here with Sister Barrett.  Much of our dinner conversation centered on the Face to Face event.

 

Accommodations

Accommodations

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of accommodations.  Not of accommodating sins, but the sinner.  Not one of accommodating changes to the teaching of Christ, but accommodating the changes an individual makes when they strive to live Christ’s teachings.

I thought about this after going to the temple to night.  Our shift coordinator made changes to the schedule to accommodate my needs.  I was made to feel comfortable and needed.

The world would have the Gospel conform to their standards.  That’s not accommodation – that’s subjugating.  Likewise, the Gospel doesn’t subjugate, but preaches patience, love, kindness, and most of all moral agency.

I had an interesting discussion with one of the temple missionaries. It turns out they went to the movies yesterday too and saw the same previews.  His comment was along the lines of mine… it was all about what is wrong with this world.

It is too bad people don’t understand the ultimate outcome.  I like what Elder Holland said…

“The FUTURE of this world has long been DECLARED; the final outcome between GOOD and evil is already KNOWN. There is absolutely no question as to who WINS because the VICTORY has already been posted on the SCOREBOARD. The only really strange thing is all of this is that we are still down here on the FIELD trying to decide which TEAM’S JERSEY we want to wear!”

Speaking of the temple, the 2016 schedule features one of my photographs…

copyright 2015 db walton

Featured Photo on 2016 Palmyra Temple Schedule

Leftovers

We’re still dealing with leftovers.  I think I need to learn how to scale my cooking quantity down so we don’t end up with so many leftovers.  I think that will start by dividing the meats before we freeze them.  One pound of ground beef is going to have to become two half-pound packages.  However, that’s hard to do with canned or bottled items.

Jesus Wasn’t a Socialist

Socialist:  Jesus Wasn’t One

Folks, Jesus wasn’t a socialist, and anyone who implies he was doesn’t know what socialism is, or doesn’t understand the teachings of Jesus.  I saw a meme today that implied that he was.  How rediculous.  And, before someone gets their knickers in a bunch, it is quite easy to explain why.

Let’s start with the definition of socialism (from Wikipedia):

Socialism is a political ideology and movement that seeks to improve society and social conditions. As a social and economic system, is characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system.

A socialist is someone who practices socialism.

Here’s where that meme falls apart…

  1. Jesus wasn’t part of a political ideology or movement.  He was God’s son, sent to do the will of the Father.  He was probably the least political person to walk the face of the earth.  When someone attempted to trick him, his reply was straightforward, “Render therefore unto Caesar.”
  2. While be sought to improve society and conditions, he did so through the needs of the individual.
  3. Jesus did not encourage social ownership.  In fact, he instructed some to “sell everything” and to “come follow me”.

Socialist would have you believe that government (or big business) is the best caregiver.  We see socialistic implementation in our own society.  Military and police being the obvious implementations and actually needed to maintain security and protection.  Neither one being anything Jesus got involved with.

However, when it comes to caring for the sick, afflicted, the fatherless or the widow, Jesus didn’t demand others do it.  He did it himself.  He set the example of service.

Yesterday in the High Priest Group, I led a discussion about the Savior and having a Christ centered life.   At no point did I ever feel that Jesus Christ was a radical socialist.  It just didn’t fit the teachings of Christ.

Socialism requires a level of authoritarianism, and if that doesn’t work, it requires totalitarianism.  (Case in point – Cuba.)  In order for socialism to work, there have to be sanctions or penalties if people don’t conform.  Nowhere do I read in the scriptures that Jesus Christ’s behavior was that of an authoritarian or totalitarian.  In fact, his example was just the opposite.

When confronted by a rich man regarding what rich man needed to do to be saved, Christ told him, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”

There was no penalty or sanction involved.  Jesus left he decision to the man.

Joseph Smith was in Nauvoo and visited by a reporter.  Impressed with the industry of the saints, Joseph Smith was asked how he did it.  His reply was simple, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.”

Smith’s summary of how the Savior taught says it all.  Socialism is a do-it-or-else situation, where true christianity is do-what-is-right-let-the-consequence-follow.

It is best said in the hymn’s chorus:

Do what is right; let the consequence follow.
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right!
Nope, Jesus wasn’t a socialist.  He definitely wasn’t a communist, nor were his actions totalitarian or authoritarian in nature.  He was a servant to all who needed him.

Instead

Instead of thinking socialism is a cure-all for societies ills, imagine what the world would be like if every person were to (on their own accord) pick out 4 households (non-relatives) and visit them and see that they are cared for?

Imagine what a difference that would make in the world.  Nope, that wouldn’t be socialism, but I bet it would make a bigger impact than a government-ran program ever could.

Forgot To Mention

Forgot To Mention

There is one thing I forgot to mention yesterday.  It is this, when someone feels shaken by a Church announcement, they should do what we’re told to do.  It is what we tell people who are studying with the missionaries to do.  Pray about it.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. — Moroni 10:4

One friend seems to have forgotten this step to the point where he has abandoned his upbringing. Instead, he has chosen to argue and try to convince other members that the church’s new policy is wrong.  Ironically, the other friend he is arguing with has simply said that if he’s in doubt, he should pray about it.

While the advice to pray about it is going to go unheeded by him, she’s right.  He should pray about it if he really wants to know God’s will.

—–

Elizabethe went to the Stake Relief Society Conference and I went grocery shopping.   I feel like a squirrel stocking up for the winter.  With today’s weather taking a change, it is again starting to feel like winter.  (Yesterday, it felt more like early fall, and the day before like summer.)

My next task was to go take a drive.  In spite of it looking like rain, I just felt the need to get some fresh air.

 

copyright 2015 db walton

Sunflowers

I almost missed this field of sunflowers.  The sky was growing dark and it was starting to rain, but there it was to the right of me.

copyright 2015 db walton

Swamp Grass

The pompoms of this swamp grass looks quite pretty when the light hits it just right.  It’s funny that here it is a weed, but people in California grow this stuff in their yards.

copyright 2015 db walton

New Bishop’s Store House

This is a beautiful sight to see.  This building will serve thousands of people in need.  Right now, it looks like a small movie theater.  In actuality it is a Bishop’s Storehouse.

copyright 2015 db walton

Smith Farm

The light was hitting the old section of Stafford Road just right for this shot.  This one (and the sunflowers) will be available on my www.FineArtbyDB.com web site.

Day After Christmas

Day After Christmas

It’s the Day After Christmas and I realize more than ever that people are so quick to equate love and happiness to things and gratification.  Yes, it is an exciting holiday, but have we already forgot?

One man said it right on his Facebook post.  He said, “You can’t have ‘He is risen’ without ‘A child is born.'”

While others are so very excited to share their windfall of gifts.  Pictures of children with toys.  Adults with their toys.  Yet others are more excited to share pictures of rich foods.  Everyone is excited about what they ‘got’ for Christmas.

One post was of a sign that read, “Until further notice, celebrate everything.”  It deserves a slight smile, but there are many things that are not worthy of celebration.  For a few months, many retailers are relieved they don’t have to worry about offending someone by saying, “Merry Christmas”, or offending others by saying, “Happy Holidays.”  Whatever the cause for celebration, I hope we haven’t already forgot.

While I lay waiting to go to sleep last night, I thought… when did the world change so drastically?

I know some argue it has been over time.  When I look at things today compared to the 1960s, the 1960s were a time of innocence compared to now.  Yet, last night I watched a TV show made in 1999 and it was so innocent compared to 2014.

What happened?

Right after 9/11/2001 there was a short period of time when it seemed much of the world was turning to God and prayer.  Then, almost over night, it seemed like that all stopped.  Much like how people quickly forget God after Christmas day, it seemed that a nation slipped in to darkness after a short period of gratitude and prayer that followed the tragedies of that day.

I think the only way peace can come back to the world can be compared with what happens at Christmas time.  For a short time, people think of Christ, they try to be nice to each other, and then the day after, it is back to old habits.  We always hear at Christmas time things like, “Try to make every day like Christmas day.”

I’m all for that.  Let’s try to make every day like Christmas Day.  No, I’m not talking about presents and commercialism, I’m taking about being kind and caring and remembering what is important.

Someone once said to make a marriage successful you need to put your spouse first.  I disagree, and I would go so far as to say, to make your marriage successful, to make your friendships successful, to make the world a better place, put God first.

Let’s roll back the clocks a few hours to a time in the last few days when you each of us thought about that special event over 2000 years ago when a small child was born.  His teachings changed the world.  His gift to mankind changed the world too.  Let’s try to remember all of the time, every day, throughout the entire year and years to come.

Brazen Serpents

I used to read in Numbers about the Children of Israel getting bit by the fiery serpents and dying.  This came when they were all upset with Moses because they had no food; they had no water.  They complained and the serpents came and when they were bit, they would die.

This humbled the people and they came to Moses pleading for help.  God instructed Moses to make a snake out of brass that looked like the fiery snakes and fasten it to a pole.  He then instructed Moses to have the people look at the brass snake, and if they did, they would live.

As many that would look at the brass snake lived, yet there were those who refused to look and died.

I’m sure in today’s vernacular they said, “That’s so lame.  Like that’s going to help.  I don’t believe it,” and thus refused to look… and then died.  I’m sure if I were there and saw a friend or family member, who had been bit, I would have been trying to turn them around saying, “Will you PLEASE JUST LOOK?  Look at me.  I was bit, I looked, and I’m still alive.  Will you LOOK?”  I feel that same frustration when I read the account in the scriptures.

We live in a world where millions of people refuse to “look and live”.  It’s sad.  Very sad.

I think we all do to one degree or another.  Many of us know better, yet we still cling to our false ideas or bad habits.  For example, look at how many people smoke.  There’s a prime example of knowing something will kill you and yet you still do it.  Others are not so blatant.   Others may be as simple as forgetting to ask for God’s help, or refusing to ask for his help in times of need.

The Children of Israel needed physical, tangible, symbols and examples.  God gave them brazen serpents, manna from heaven and wild locust in the desert.  Although we don’t have a brazen serpent to look at, the concept is the same.  We need to look to God and live.   The brazen serpent upon the pole was symbolic of Christ, that if we look to Christ we will live.

Perhaps I’m understanding more as I see people who just simply choose not to believe their life will be better if they make better choices.  Like those who refused to look at the brass serpent, they refuse to accept that there is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven from before the foundations of this earth.  It is simply – every blessing we receive is by direct obedience to that law upon which that blessing is predicated.

Want to be healthy and fit?  Stop smoking.  Stop drinking.  Exercise more.  Etc.

Want the windows of heaven open and blessings poured out?  Pay your tithes and offerings.

I could go on.

They are all brass serpents.  You “look” and you reap the blessing.  Refuse to “look”, the blessing is withheld.

—-

I think I understand a bit more after hearing the speakers at church today.  It was a good example of someone who could have so easily turned away and said, “I won’t look”, but instead, in spite of all adversity, but Brother Johnson chose to remain faithful.

So, it got me thinking…

Why do some people refuse to “look and live”?

It is because they lack faith.
They lack faith because they don’t believe.
They don’t believe because they have no hope.

If no you have no hope, you can’t be truly happy.

To turn it around, those who “live” and live happily have a brighter hope for a future.  They believe in God and Christ.  The have faith in Christ which motivates them to keep looking and living.

That’s why they took the first step to look.

It’s Christmas Eve

The other day in WalMart, the lady at the cash register said, “Happy Holidays”. 

I returned with a, “And you too.”

The lady who was bagging my purchase then looked at me with a pleasant smile and said, “Merry Christmas.”

Her smile and Christmas wish caused a warmth to come over me, and I returned to her and said with all sincerity, “And a Merry Christmas to you too.”

I was watching a special on the History Channel about the birth of Jesus Christ.  It was interesting that through the study of the planets and stars, they came up with a date of  April 17th, AD 6 (if memory serves me right) as to when Jesus Christ was really born.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have believed since April 6th, 1830, that the birth of Christ took place on April 6th.  It seems scientific and historical research is leaning more towards our belief as the years go by.

Jesus, the Greek form of the Latin name, Iesus.  Most likely, Jesus would have been called Yahshua in Hebrew (or more commonly Joshua in English.)  Christ wasn’t his family name, but a title meaning Messiah.  Hence, Jesus the Christ seems a little more fitting in our language.  

No matter the name – whether it be the Messiah, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Yahshua, I AM, Alpha and Omega, the Light of the World, Saviour, Redeemer – he is the promised Savior.  And, as I have stated in the past, I reverence this period when we traditionally celebrate his birth even though I belive we’re off by a few months. 

Although I find the end of his life more significant to us than his birth, his birth was a fulfilment of prophecy by many  prophets.  He had to be born of a virgin.  He had to be born in humble circumstances.  His birth, by no means insignificant, was announced by angels and “heavenly hosts” who sang to shepherds.  Nowhere in recorded history to we have widely accepted texts that talk about angles and heavenly hosts coming to announce the birth of anyone else.

Tonight, as you gather your family around, read the account in Luke, chapter 2.  Imagine what it must have been like to be a Jewish shepherd tending your flocks.  Imagine the fear as men dressed in illuminating white descended from heaven and told you to “fear not”, and that they brought “good tidings of great joy”.  Imagine what it would have been like to be told the long-awaited Messiah (Christ) is born – someone your people had waited for centuries to come.  Imagine running to the place the angels told you about, and finding a mother holding an infant boy and thinking to yourself, “This is Him.  This is the Promised Messiah”.  Imagine hearing, and seeing heavenly hosts who came with the angels to announce his birth.

He was born.  He did live.  He lived, and was crucified in a most cruel manner, but before he died, he suffered for the sins of the world.  Thinking they might put an end to the movement he created, they took him, scourged him, spat upon him, mocked him by renting his clothing and placing a crown of thorns upon his head, and then they took him to Golgotha where they nailed him to a cross and lifted it up for him to further suffer and die.

Removing his body from the cross as the Hebrew sabbath approached, they placed him in a borrowed tomb, placed guards in fear that his body would be stolen, and rolled a large stone in front of the door.

The sabbath came and went.  It was the day we know as Sunday, and Mary came to visit the tomb.  She found the stone had been rolled away from the door of the tomb.  She entered in and found the tomb empty and the clothes he had been buried in folded and laid where Jesus’ body laid only a couple of days before.

Fearing his body had been taken by the Romans, she left the tomb, saddened and weeping.  A man, she think he was the gardener, asked, “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?”

As he called her by name, she recognized him as her resurrected Lord and said, “Rabboni” (master).

Others witnessed angels rolling the stone away men in “shining raiment”, angles.  Others witnessed the angels announcing the Savior’s resurrection from the dead.  Many hundreds, if not thousands witnessed him before his ascension in to heaven.

It is Jesus’ the Christ gift to all of us that we will be resurrected after we die.  It is his gift to all those who accept him and keep his Father’s commandments that will be able to return to live in his presence.  And, it is those gifts to us that make his birth, his life, his suffering, his death and resurrection so important to each of us.

 Over the years, my own personal hardships and trials have led me to know my Savior lives.  His life is not a fantasy to me, nor is it a passing belief.  It is much more.  I’ve come to know the importance of his birth, as well as his teachings, his suffering, his death and resurrection.

So, at this Christmas season, when we celebrate his birth, I wish you a very, Merry Christmas.  (And, comes April, don’t be surprised if I wish you a Merry Christmas again.)