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.

Friday, September 9, 2011

"A Little Heaven on Earth" -- Elder Robert D. Hales

I thought this talk was absolutely fabulous. It comes from the September 2011 edition of the Ensign. Here Elder Hales discusses so many things about marriage, and I want to write about all of them! So here we go!

First, he writes what we can get from marriage, which is "happiness in this life and exaltation in the next." That sure does sound like the goal of every human being!

Everyone chooses their own path, with their goal always to find happiness. The prophets of God have relayed this message from Heaven that abstinence before marriage, eternal marriage, and fidelity after marriage is the way to find it! That is a promise we can trust in.

Next, he talks about choosing the right spouse. He says to "measure the spiritual level of your potential future companions" because if you marry outside the church, you will be "placing yourself in a position where you will find someday that you may have to choose between that individual and the church."

On my mission, I was shocked to discover that my mission president was paring up companionships with two strong Elders and then two weak Elders. Me, in all my wisdom, thought it would be much wiser to put a strong Elder with a weak Elder to help him out. But, President Morgan said that a weak Elder is much more likely to pull down a strong Elder than a strong Elder to pull up and weak Elder. Whereas, in a companionship of two weak Elders, one must step up to be a leader.

This translates perfectly into marriage. A strong spouse cannot marry a weak spouse in hopes to bring them up. It does work sometimes, yes, but the fail rate of both is much higher than the success rate of both.

Having the same goals is essential. Elder Hales says:

"When you are choosing your companion, make sure both of you have a desire for a celestial marriage relationship, a desire to have a companion for eternity, a desire to have a family for eternity, and a desire to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father."

As I have talked about before, desire is not merely a "wish", it is a word that denotes wanting something so much that all our actions lead to gaining it. So just saying or thinking that you wish for these things is not the same as working towards them.

Temple marriage is essential for a couple who desires to be together throughout eternity. In Doctrine and Covenants 132:15 it says:

"Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world."

Many people who are married outside the temple still believe their marriage will exist in the afterlife. But this does not make sense. A marriage is a legal union that is given with legal documentation. Another legal document is a loan you receive. Does anyone argue that a person will have to pay back a monetary debt to a bank after they have died? Of course not! All legal documents become null and void to a dead person.

However, an Elder Hales says: "there is no one between the Lord and the sealer when he performs the sealing ordinance."

A temple marriage is not an earthly ceremony, it is an eternal ceremony.

An eternity is so so much longer than this tiny mortal existence. We need to make the right decisions in this life so we can be eternally happy in the life to come.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mark 11:23-24

The twelve apostles just witnessed that Jesus said unto a fig tree, "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever," and then the tree withered away and died. This of course greatly astonished them because what Jesus said to an inanimate object actually came to pass! So Jesus taught:

"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

Danny was telling me a story yesterday about an investigator he met in Armenia. He and his companion were stopped on the street by a young woman who had been taught by previous missionaries and desired to be taught again. She said she wanted to meet later and described the shop and the street where they could meet.

However, when they went to meet here, there were TWO shops on that street that met her description. The two shops were too far apart for the missionaries to divide and conquer. They would have to chose one shop and hope it was the right one.

Danny's companion prayed and said they needed a miracle to know which shop to pick. Right then, an ice cream truck pulled into the other shop, and the company name on the truck was "It's a Miracle!" Both missionaries took it as a sign and went to the other shop.

The girl had chosen that shop, and was later baptized.

Although these missionaries did not move any mountains, their faith caused a miracle to occur right before their eyes. Their desires were righteough, and were thus granted.