Sunday, April 23, 2017

Christ, The Good Samaritan

Jesus Christ frequently taught in parables.  In addition to a positive superficial meaning, parables had an additional deeper and more profound meaning pointing to His devine mission. The parable of the Good Samaritan is no exception.

[A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho] We are all represented by the "certain man".  The decent from Jerusalem to Jericho represents our premortal existence and leaving Gods presence to come to Earth. There are not very many references to the pre-existence in scripture.  This is an exciting one. 

[and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.]  During mortality, Satan lies in wait to spiritually injure us and steal from us our divinity and righteousness. 

[And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.]  Worldly religion and even The Law of Moses have no interest helping or cannot even if they wanted to. 

[But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,]   Christ is the Good Samaritan who is looking to save us, the Poor Wayfairing Man. 

[And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine,]  Christ has the power to heal spiritual wounds by repentance (wine) and covenant (oil).

[and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.]  Not only will Christ return, but Christ commends us into the care of His Church (inn) and His authorized servants (host) who have been called and empowered to act for Christ. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Hope


Easter is the holday when the Christian world commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why is the life and resurrection of Christ important?  When I try and understand the importance if something I try to imagine life without it.  What would life be like without Christ?

Philosophers and sociologists have tried to define exactly what makes humans different from animals.  In another sense, we could ask, what causes humans to act differently from animals?  Why do some humans act in selfless, self-sacrificing ways to strangers, turn-the-other-check, and forgive? I believe it is because of the light of Christ and our faith in Jesus Christ. 

God, who is the creator of the universe, lives.  However, God's existence wouldn't necessarily impact human behavior if we didn't know about His existence and nature. God, being God, could greatly control our lives regardless of our knowledge of Him.  But that's not how God works.  God has revealed that He is not about controlling our lives.  Instead, God "leaks" information about Himself and His will, so that only those who are seeking Him will find Him.

For those that have found God, our Heavenly Father has revealed to us by His Son Jesus Christ commandments.  It is through these commandments that we learn that "the natural man is an enemy to God"  and it is God's will that man act with restraint. If it wasn't for this revealed knowledge, there would be no reason for humankind to not just be controlled by our fears and appetites.  Without God, it would be "dog-eat-dog". God's commandments make us free by giving us a choice. We can be hungry but choose to fast; offended, but choose to forgive.

If it wasn't for Christ's atonement and resurrection, humankind would have no hope for redemption.  So many decisions we make in life are based on fear and scarcity.  We fear death, and we fear not having enough.  These fears cause us to hoard resources, and take what we can get now instead of sacrifice the good we have now for better later. 

All humankind are imperfect, sinful, and mortal.  But because of Christ, we have a hope that we can repent, improve, and one day be resurrected and become citizens of a perfected society.  Without Easter, the hearts of man would become hopeless and depressed, and resign ourselves to just "eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we die". But because of Jesus Christ's power over sin and death, His disciples can enjoy a perfect brightness of hope.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Why did God [curse] is the ground for [our] sake?

Under the Father and Christ's direction, the human family participated in creation. This includes the nobel and great ones and maybe the not-so-nobel.  However, all things serve a purpose. God did need to create an oasis of the Garden for Adam and Eve amongst a violent world filled with briars, thorns, and predatory animals.  Adam amd Eve were tasked with "keeping" and preserving the garden which served as a protection.

Abraham 3:24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

However, with the fall, Adam and Eve were cast out. The garden was not preserved, and they were then exposed/subjected to the thorns, briars, weeds, random violence and unfeeling cruelty of the universe-- for their good.  The purpose of life is a test to be subjected to adversity/suffering and see if we will still choose to be patient, obedient. loyal, valiant and devoted to God.  
So the creations/works of the nobel and the less-nobel all serve Gods greater purposes and human-kinds greater good.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Covenants and Contracts


My wife Ruth is a realtor and spends every day writing contracts associated with the sale of residential real estate. She made a excellent point about the difference between worldly contracts vs heavenly covenants. Contracts are long and filled with fine print because they based on mistrust and the consequence of what will happen if one or the other side does not meet with their obligations.  Gods covenants on the other hand are clear and concise because they are based on love, our best interest, and God always will do exactly what he has said he will do.  

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Spring LDS General Conference 2017


A few thoughts and quotes from "General Conference":

Elder Erying- gathering all things in one both in heaven and earth = family history

Covenants paramount, obedience exact

Elder Renland- Christ ate with sinners, offers hope.  Will save from sin but not in sin.

Perfect brightness of hope = watching a taped football game already knowing the outcome. In life, we already know the outcome so we don't need to get stressed about a bad penalty call, etc.

Preserve gospel language at home.  Keep language pure, don't mix with outside influences.  The gospel is our true native language.

Pres. Monson- charitable = being kind, be kind. We do not honor priesthood if we are not kind.  Study Book of Mormon daily.

Elder Bednar-  Mission Call = Called to serve,  assigned to labor in a place. Not called to a place but to "the work".  Focus your young men on Priesthood, Temple, and Mission.

Pres. Uchtdorf- chiefest of all is servant of all. People will tell you your great, dont inhale it.

Elder Rasband- respond to first promptings.  Be a first responder.

Pres. Utchdorf- don't dwell on the evils of the world.  Fear not and be of good cheer.  Serve God and our fellow man.

Elder Christiansen-  warning voice is civil and joyful.  Successful must preach what you practice.  Stop feigning neutrality. 

Elder Cook-  Malcolm Gladwell says 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice" are needed to become world-class in any [skilled] field. This applies to gospel learning. Financial success does not = blessed.  Expected to endure adversity well.