Friday, October 21, 2011

Mark 14:38

Jesus has just administered the sacrament to the 12 and is now headed into the Garden of Gethsemane with His best friends -- Peter, James, and John.  He says He has to go into the Garden alone, but asks them to wait up for Him nearby.

Jesus knelt by an olive tree and humbly checked with The Father if this is what really needs to happen.  Heavenly Father's answer was yes, and the process of transferring all the sins and pain of the world to Christ began.

After an hour of torture, Jesus goes to check on His friends and finds them all asleep.  He tells them:

"Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.  The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak."

I love that He says "the spirit truly is ready" and it is only us that is a changing variable.  Every time we are ready also, to clean up our lives and follow the Savior, the Spirit is there waiting.

Have you ever seen the movie Serendipity?  I swear it is the most frustrating movie on the planet.  Two people who are in love are searching for one another, and literally come within feet of each other several times, but don't seem to meet up face to face until the end.

This is probably how Heavenly Father is frustrated (except much much worse) that the Spirit is always within feet of us, but we continually pass it and continue on with our lives in confusion and sadness.

So now we know for sure WHAT we are looking for and also WHERE it is!  The next step is meeting up with the Spirit and changing our lives.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mark 14:18-19

Jesus and His disciples have just sat down to enjoy their passover feast, when Jesus annouces:

"Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me."

And this is how the disciples respond:

"they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him, one by one, Is it I?  and another said, Is it I?"

You will notice that their question was not, "how can I help you?" and their sorrow was because they might be betrayers -- not that Christ was being betrayed.  Their response is totally self-centered.

Often in our everyday conversations, we become "me monsters."  This is the need to "one-up" whoever you are talking to by telling a story yourself that is greater than their story.  Now don't get me wrong, conversations have to go back and forth.  It is appropriate to relate to people's experiences by sharing your own.  However, there is a line.

Are we truly listening to our friend, or do we already have another story in mind and are just waiting for them to shut their mouth so we can tell it?

Here is an exercise to try.  When someone is telling a story or an experience, instead of responding with your own story, respond to their story first with questions that keep the attention back on them.  See how long you can keep the spotlight on your friend.  You'll be surprised that they will do the same for you next time you have an experience to share.

Jesus' disciples were so focused on themselves here, that they could not even hear and process that their dearest friend was about to get betrayed.  They turned the conversation to themselves instead of reaching out to Jesus at this extremely difficult time.

We need to be less selfish and more fixed on making others feel happy and appreciated

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mark 14:11

Judas has just been sitting with the Savior and decided he had had enough and wanted to make a profit by turning Jesus into the authorities.

"And when [the chief priests] heard it they were glad, and promised to give [Judas] money.  And [Judas} sought how me might conveniently betray [Jesus]"

Wow.  When I read that sentence it sounded disgusting.  Judas didn't just want to come out and yell where Jesus was, or fess up to Jesus and say he was selling Him out.  No, he wanted to be a coward and to be sneaky.

Although this sentence sounds preposterous, is it really so far from our own experience?  How many of us seek to conveniently betray Jesus?

Isn't it interesting how we try to cover up our sins from others around us?  "Timmy!  Did you break this vase??"  "No mom!  of course not!  I was in my room all along!"  Even though Timmy's mom may be fooled, God is NEVER fooled, He sees all.

How can we be more aware of God's presence and stop attempting to conveniently betray Jesus?  Have you ever heard the saying, that goes something like "The integrity of a man is based upon what he does when no one else is watching"? This is a perfect idea, because we should be doing good things because we want to and are genuinely good people, not because we have an audience.

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ see all and know all.  Don't start thinking that in an instance where you did bad and did not get caught that is did not matter.  It does matter.  We should fear God much more than any police, friends, or mothers.

Let us decide today and do our best everyday to not conveniently betray Jesus

Friday, October 7, 2011

"Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father" -- Elder Neal A. Maxwell

This talk is all about refining ourselves in order to make our wills the same as the will of our Father in Heaven.  Elder Maxwell warns:

"Many of us thus have sufficient faith to avoid the major sins of commission, but not enough faith to sacrifice our distracting obsessions or to focus on our omissions."

It is a great thing to not be doing the bad things of the world.  But it is a greater thing to also be doing good things.  It is difficult, sometimes, to serve others; maybe even difficult to identify someone to serve, for as Elder Maxwell says:

"The hands which hang down and most need to be lifted up belong to those too discouraged even to reach out anymore."

So how DO we find them?  Here is another question: who is omnipotent and know everyone's needs?  Heavenly Father of course.  And how does Heavenly Father communicate with us here on the earth?  Through the Spirit.  I believe this "resource" of ours is too infrequently tapped, which is odd because it is the best "resource" we have by far.

Just like when you are looking into busying a red Jeep , you see red Jeeps everywhere -- when you pray for service opportunities, you see those in need everywhere.  But the other part, the IMPORTANT part, is not just seeing others needs, but meeting them.

This desire to serve others, and to be like Christ in every way, is called consecration.  Elder Maxwell says:

"consecration is not resignation or a mindless caving in.  Rather, it is a deliberate expanding outward, making us more honest when we sing, 'More used would I be.'  Consecration, likewise, is not shoulder-shrugging acceptance, but, instead, shoulder-squaring to better bear the yoke."

To be consecrated should be the goal of us all.  To perfectly align our wills to God's would result in pure joy and happiness.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mark 14:3-9

Jesus and His disciples are having dinner at Simon's house, when a young lady comes in with an alabaster box filled with spikenard (a kind of precious oil) and pours the spikenard over the Savior's head.

When the disciples saw this, they were verbally upset, saying that the oil could have been sold and that money used to help the poor.  Jesus, however, did not take that stance.  He loved her for having done this great service unto Him.  He told them that she was dressing His body in preparation for burial.  That made me think about all the uses for and the significance of oil.

The Bible Dictionary talks about anointing.  it says:

"Anciently anointing was done for reasons both secular and sacred.  It is a sign of hospitality...and of routine personal grooming...The maimed or sick were anointed with wine, oil, and/or ointment as medicine.  The sick were also anointed with oil as part of the sacred procedure in healing of the sick by faith and the laying on of hands."

For those of you who may not know, healing is still invoked by the anointing of oil and the laying on of hands.  I have seen this healing occur many times. One such instance I will never forget.

Several years ago, my cousin's wedding reception was held on a Saturday night.  My parents had come in town for the occasion.  Everything was going swell until *WHAM*, at 2am Monday morning, Mom, Dad, Kelly, and Ryan all began to vomit violently at the same time.  This throwing-up and diarrhea went on and on through the night and into the morning without slowing down.  We had no idea where this sickness came from and why it only infected half of us.

Early in the afternoon, Brett came to the hotel with some crackers and Gatoraide.  Dad asked if Brett would give them all blessings.  So, he used holy anointing oil, consecrated for the healing of the sick and afflicted, and blessed them all to be healed.  It was so humbling to see son bless father when Dad could not do it himself.

Immediately afterwards, the throwing-up stopped.  No one threw up at all after they were blessed.  And their strength started to return.

Later, we got a phone call from many family members who were at the wedding who all got the same sickness at the same time.  Turns out it was the Wedding Cake  that was food poisoned!  Everyone who took even one bite of the cake became violently ill for hours.

I know that this young lady at Simon's house did not hold the priesthood and was not "healing" Jesus.  But this kind act did heal His spirit, in feeling loved and appreciated before taking the long hard road to Calvary.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mark 13:35-37

This is one of my favorite verses of scripture, mostly because it is so powerfully stated.  It says:

"Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when then master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.

"Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

"And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch."

I believe that when the Second Coming hits, that many people are going to be stunned, and yell and scream at God for not warning them well enough.  However, I completely disagree.  These verses alone give us such wonderful instruction on how to be protected in that great and also dreadful day.

See, God and Jesus Christ have been instructing us all along.  They have given us the scriptures as a guidebook in order to survive this life and make it back to them.

I am reading a novel right now about a video game creator that died and had left an incredible fortune ($250,000,000,000).  However, since he didn't have anyone specific to give it to, he hid clues within his video games on how to find where all his money was.  He also published his journals, which were thousands of pages with information that could help one find the fortune.  A craze struck and everyone across the world began to read his journals incessantly and studied every aspect of his life in hopes of shedding some light as to where his fortune could be found.

I relate this to these verses because Heavenly Father has a GREAT fortune waiting for us that is much greater than two hundred and fifty billion dollars.  And he has left us with detailed instructions, in the scriptures, about how to get it.  So why are we not pouring over these words??

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mark 13:10-11

Jesus is sitting on the mount of Olives with His disciples when Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him about when His second coming would occur.  Jesus began to tell them some of the signs.  One of which is:

"The gospel must first be published among all nations.

"But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost."

I have often pondered about how the gospel will be spread to the WHOLE earth before the Savior comes.  Sometimes I imagine fireworks and a loud speaker from heaven.  Or maybe a huge movie screen.  But, ya know what?  I don't think it will be like that.  I think if may be what we are doing already -- sending out missionaries

One of "my" converts was Annica.  She has such a beautiful testimony and knowledge of the truth.  One day while we were at a picnic, me and my companion Sister Dietrich gave Annica little cards we had written on to stick in her first copy of the Book of Mormon.  I said "your grandchildren will look at that look and read these cards and say 'wow!  This was grandma's first Book of Mormon!'" Then Annica said "Wow!  My grandkids are going to be Mormons!  That is fantastic!"

Now that I am reading these verses in Mark, I imagine that this rapid spreading can mostly occur generationally.  From Annica down to her grandchildren, hordes of people will know the gospel.  Each convert and member is like a pebble thrown into a lake.  We may think the pebble is small, but the ripples off the pebble continue outward far beyond its original size.