Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Sunday, March 21, 2021
There are a couple things I’ve learned from this.
First, no matter how upset I get with him (and sometimes I get really upset), the last thing I would ever want is to separate myself from him or sever the lines of communication between us. Some of our best conversations and greatest teaching moments happen in the aftermath of his disobedience. He becomes malleable in his humility.
Second, while I strive to treat him like an adult and peer, my tolerance for his four-year old antics is broad based on how small he is, how little of the world he understands, how limited his knowledge, wisdom, and vocabulary. He has not had the experiences, perspective, social interactions, opportunities, growth or education that I have had, therefore his level of accountability to me is not even close to what I would have, say, for myself. I want him to progress to be like me, I anticipate it, and tutor and discipline him as such, but am patient with his childish ways.
Third, sometimes he is intentionally rebellious, other times he doesn’t know better. His gentle soul is such that when he gets in trouble he is very ashamed and embarrassed, and will literally hide his face. If, after doing something naughty he goes and hides from me, I stop what I am doing and go find him. We cuddle up and talk it over. If the transgression was in ignorance, it's hardly a blip in the day.
My son has distinct physical features in his face he has inherited from me, and other features that come from my wife (which softens my heart for him such is my love for her. In fact, he has her eyes, which really isn't fair when I'm trying to be mad at him), and this child is in our image. Looking at his face reminds me of many things, including where I came from, my accountability for him as his creator (Mos. 26:23), and ultimately, how much I love him and the sacrifices I would make for him without hesitation. Sometimes I have to remove his hands from his face and ask him to look at me so he can see my eyes and what they contain for him. Then he knows everything is all right.
There have been many times in my life that I have sinned and hidden from God. Typically this hiding takes form in lackluster, rote prayers or shallow, short scripture reading, or avoiding the divine altogether. I turn away from God and hide my face from Him. In doing this, I deprive myself of the most important relationship I have with a Savior who is quick to forgive, eager to teach and mold, and so full of love and kindness that to be with Him drives out all desire for sin. A relationship with Him, and the light and truth He brings, is the greatest tool we have to turn from sin. To conquer sin and the world, foster a relationship with Him, and when you stumble, think of Him as the exponentially better, kinder, more patient and loving Father that He is to us, small children. Odds are, if you're reading this blog, you don't sin to openly mock God, it happens because like me you're weak, proud, and foolish, but would really, really like to be better and be with Him. Don't hide, don't hinder your relationship with Him, take your broken heart and contrite spirit from your hiding place and meekly approach. He waits. He has commanded you come to Him (3 Nephi 18:15-25 especially v. 25).
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Reflections in relation to my earlier post "Traveling on the Road" which needs to be read before this one.
My experience occurred while on the road. The Sabbath had just ended, it was very early morning and completely dark outside. The first hour of this new day had commenced, and I was driving my truck and concentrating on the road, my mind completely lucid, for the long trip back to my house. I was certainly not expecting what took place.
The experience of conversing with the Lord was so casual and personal. There was no title/rank being held over me requiring my deference and subjugation. I've been in the military my entire adult life and know that environment very well. Being with Him was the complete opposite experience. It felt more like being with a peer than a superior, which is a remarkable thing to say about being in the presence of God, but nonetheless true. As much love, kindness, and respect as I felt for Him, He returned to me more. Sometimes when it was my turn to speak it took a moment for me to gather the words, and He patiently waited and then listened.
He treated me like one who belonged in His company, and when instructing treated me as a peer. Again, even as I type this, it astounds me. To speak to Him as one speaks to another is more than just using the same language, it is intimate, with familiar vocabulary and expressions. As a result, conversing with Him is natural and easy with no miscommunications, misunderstandings or awkwardness. The conversation flows delightfully and is pleasing.
The Lord has a wonderful sense of humor. I laughed several times. I've debated whether to share this. I hesitate because I don't want it to sound irreverent or paint the wrong picture. His use of humor to create joy and be instructive at the same time displayed to me just how intelligent He is in every facet. It is important to know that He has a personality, as unique and individual to Him, just as you have a personality, with all your -isms that define who you are. He is not an abstraction of perfect attributes drifting about in banality. He is a real person, He is an individual. He has mannerisms and expressions. Now that I have encountered His personality and individuality, my perspective on life itself has changed. I'll write more about that in the future.
Saturday, March 13, 2021
I had an opportunity the weekend I lost my voice to reflect on ways in which I use my words. The Spirit guided these reflections and exhorted change in some instances. I have a big ego and can be boastful. Having a big ego and being a fighter pilot is recipe for disaster. Here are a couple of jokes, which I find funny because they are true. How do you know a fighter pilot is in the room? ... He will tell you. How do you know your date with a fighter pilot is half over? ... When he says, "enough about me, let's talk about my jet."
When boasting, you use pretentious words to create a false image upon which you (and others) may put their trust. It is false because it cannot save at the last day and the strength will ultimately fail. When I boast, I distract attention from God to me. I let "What-I-Do" become "Who-I-Am," fashioning an idol in my own image, for me and others to worship. Idols can be more than just the work of men's hands (Psalm 135), they can be fashioned using men's words as well.
When a man puts himself in between you and the Lord, he becomes (in Hebrew) al pana, or "before me" or "before my face/in my presence", the definition of idolatry. An idolater cannot behold the face of God, for their view is blocked by idols. The idol cannot behold God for they are facing the wrong way. The idol stands directly between you and the Lord, facing the man with his back to God as he boasts to the man of his powers and priesthoods.
Boasting in strengths and achievements, whatever they may be, puts trust in the false image of man's strength, which is fickle indeed (LDS 2 Nephi 4:34). Read the post "Defending Zion" if in doubt of that (2 Kings 18:20-21 for thoughts on trusting in a superpower).
"Who-I-Am" is your true identity. To the Egyptians, this was Ka, as represented by two upraised arms, showing the duality of your Being (soul), a physical body and a spiritual body intertwined together. The physical body was Khat, an essential part of your soul (which is incomplete without it). When people see you they recognize your physical features and call you by your given name (or nickname if you have one). Ka is your spiritual body and it too has a name, a new name, and this name represents who you really are. The Egyptians believed that knowing this true name gave power over the person (see also Judges 13:18 and Gen 32:39. Another reading of this states: "Why do you ask my name? It is too wonderful"). The new name was an understanding of who the person really is, their role in the cosmos, and so much more. It reveals the wonders they can or do perform (Isa 9:6).
With our words we can create false images (idols) or we can use our words to call attention to the Lord. By calling attention to idols, we may lead people to depend on mortal strengths based on our worldly achievements or the titles we hold.
When we speak of the Lord, we can encourage each other to turn and face Him.
Too often, and too recently, I have used words to be mean, low, condescending, boastful, and used my words to create false images and idols. I was grateful to the Spirit which recalled specific memories, words, and instances to view these shortcomings and ponder change.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Blogs like mine should be the amuse-bouche to your feast in the scriptures.
Everyone has a unique voice. The shape and size of a person's vocal cords, as well as numerous other uniquely shaped body parts including mouth, lungs, throat, nose (to name a few), create a distinct sound. Even before caller ID, a person familiar to you could call and never need introduce themselves because you'd recognize their voice.
Not only does a voice help you recognize the person, you can use their voice to authenticate them. This is more than just a sound; it is speech patterns, words, and values. Someone may be able to imitate a voice very well, and at a shallow level imitate the personality, but how they speak will give away the fraud.
In order to recognize a voice and authenticate it, you have to spend time listening to the voice and getting to know the person. The more you do this, the more readily identifiable they become.
The more time we spend listening to His voice, the easier it is to discern Him when He speaks.
How do we listen to His voice?
His voice is contained in the scriptures.
The scriptures are not only His voice, but His patterns, words, and values.
The scriptures are how you hear His voice.
The more time spent in the scriptures, the easier it will be to discern Him when He speaks.
His voice is distinct from all others.
Monday, March 1, 2021
A true servant will always point you to Christ. In order to accurately point to Him, the scriptures will be used. Servants in these last days who desire Zion will labor to get everyone closer to the Savior. They know that to draw closer to God is to draw closer with each other. Becoming one with Christ inevitably leads to becoming one with each other. The word of Christ will point a straight course to eternal bliss. Zion is that promised land. As Alma taught his son Helaman, "the words of Christ, if we follow their course, [will] carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise" (LDS Alma 37:45).
I've seen a triangle used to illustrate this point.
Sunday, February 28, 2021
After I was done beating myself up (see Lost Voice - Part II ) and paying attention to the Spirit again, I was tutored further. This time, i...
I had an opportunity the weekend I lost my voice to reflect on ways in which I use my words. The Spirit guided these reflections and exhorte...
I recently, for the first time in my life, lost my voice. I was only able to whisper or speak quietly for a brief period. Economy of words b...
A true servant will always point you to Christ. In order to accurately point to Him, the scriptures will be used. Servants in these last day...