Sunday, February 17, 2019

Do You Know Who I AM?

In 1995, near the close of Denver’s old Stapleton airport, during the Christmas rush several flights were cancelled or delayed due to bad weather. At one United counter a single agent was helping passengers rebook on other flights and the line was very long. One man that was not used to having to wait got out of the line and came up to the counter and slapped his ticket on the counter and said:

“I have to be on this flight, and it needs to be first class”. The rest of the conversation went like this:

“The agent replied, "I'm sorry sir. I'll be happy to try to help you, but I've got to help these folks first, and I'm sure we'll be able to work something out."

“The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, "Do you have any idea who I am?"

“Without hesitating, the gate agent smiled and grabbed her public address microphone.

"May I have your attention please?" she began, her voice bellowing throughout the terminal. "We have a passenger here at the gate WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to gate 17."

Harry Argos Cross Country

If someone asked you who you are how would you respond? There are many ways we identify ourselves; today I would respond I’m the real Harry Potter, I’m a Hoosier (from Indiana), when I was in high school I was an Argos Dragon, in college I was a BYU Cougar and a BYU Folk Dancer, I’m a referee, and an Ironman.

BYU Folk Dance Reunion

The most important identity is I am a child of God. The Family: A Proclamation to the World says:

“ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.

One of Satan’s temptations is to convince us that we are not important or special. Moses learned this when Satan came to him. He had just been in the presence of God and was told several times that he was a Son of God. Then when Satan came to him, he said:

Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?

Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve. (Moses 1:12-15)

Satan even tried it with Jesus Christ when he tempted him after fasting for 40 days. Satan said: “If thou be the Son of God” and then told Christ to change the stones to bread and to cast himself off the pinnacle of the temple. Those temptations did not work because Jesus knew who he was, not only was he The Son of God, he was the creator of all things. Later Jesus, when his time did come, he would turn water into wine and provide bread to thousands when there was no bread around. He did not need to prove who he was to Satan because he understood his true identity – The Son of God.

We should not be fooled when Satan or others tempt us to forsake our identity and give into foolish sins. Like Moses, we are sons and daughters of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten. We have a divine heritage and destined for great things. If you ever wonder “do you know who I am?” just fall down on your knees and ask your Father with real intent and as He told Moses, he will tell you “I am the Lord God, thou art my son”.

We Are Sons and Daughters of God

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Zone of Spiritual Totality

This week I listened to a BYU-Idaho Education Week talk by Rob Barton titled "The Zone of Spiritual Totality". He compared the 2017 total eclipse of the sun where the path of totality went through Rexburg, Idaho to our spiritual path and progression in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Many people traveled from all over the world to be in the path of totality during the eclipse, I was there with one of my sons and his family. It was a once-in-a-life-time opportunity and am grateful that my son convinced me to go. I was among those that did not believe it was any big deal to be in the path of totality. I was convinced that being in Logan, Utah where I could see 75% of the total eclipse was good enough.

Brother Barton did not understand what the big deal either was until he experienced it. His brother also lived in Logan and was one of those who did not think it was worth going to Rexburg to see it. Later when he learned what he had missed he asked his brother that if he had known it was going to be that important, why did he not invite him to come to see it.

The thousands that made the effort to be in the path of totality were blessed to witness an amazing sight while those that chose not to be there will never understand what they missed out on. So it is with our spiritual progression. We may think that we are doing ok, as long as we are obedient to God’s commandments most of the time. Being obedient most of the time is like experiencing the solar eclipse outside the zone of totality. We don’t know what we are missing if we have never been in the zone of spiritual totality.

The Total Eclipse

Brother Barton explained:

“The total eclipse came when there was total alignment between the sun, the moon, and the earth. Spiritual totality is when we are fully aligned with God, when we completely submit our will with his. In Preach My Gospel is says: ‘Bringing our lives in line with God’s will through repentance and faith on Jesus Christ is a central purpose of our lives.’

“The way we achieve unanimity with God is not finding a middle ground and persuading him to meet us there, the way we find unity with God it is to find out where he is, and we move there with all our hearts.”

Aligning Ourselves with God

“As we come to know God’s will and are baptized by those authorized to provide that ordinance, we perfectly aligned with God and are in the zone of spiritual totality.” (The Zone of Spiritual Totality)

President Eyring said:

“Once I have decided I want eternal life more than business success (you add your own desires here), I will have crossed the great gulf between wanting to know what God would permit and trying to do what he would prefer.” (Henry B. Eyring)

President Eyring also said:

at some moment in the world to come, everyone you will ever meet will know what you know now. They will know that the only way to live forever in association with our families and in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, was to choose to enter into the gate by baptism at the hands of those with authority from God. They will know that the only way families can be together forever is to accept and keep sacred covenants offered in the temples of God on this earth. And they will know that you knew. And they will remember whether you offered them what someone had offered you.(A Voice of Warning)

As missionaries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we know that families can only be together if they accept and receive the ordinances that will bind them together through baptism and the temple. Just like those who did not understand the importance of being in the path of totality for the eclipse, there are many who do not understand the importance of the message we have. We must be willing to invite everyone we meet to experience the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s work and glory it to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39) and as we are tasked with the blessing of helping his children come to Christ and his kingdom here on earth.

Knowing these truths does not make us better than other people, but it does make us responsible. We are in unique circumstances to invite others to come to the come and follow their Savior into the waters of baptism. If we do this our joy will be full along with those who we have helped to come unto Christ and receive the covenants of the temple. We receive a fullness of joy in this life and in the life to come as we do all we can to be in the zone of spiritual totality and bring all of God’s children that will respond to our invitation to join with us.

Your comments and questions are welcome.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Don't Mow Your Lawn

What would you do if you were told that the Savior Jesus Christ was going to come visit you in your home later today? Would you run home and clean the house and mow the lawn? Ross Baron speaking at a BYU-Idaho Education week posed that question. He was talking about the experience in the scriptures with Mary and Martha when the Savior came to their home:

 “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

Martha and Mary
Which one would you be – Martha or Mary? Brother Baron asked the question to the audience:

“If the First Presidency called and said they would be at your home in an hour what would you do? Would you go home and clean the house and vacuum, or would you just push the Cheetos off the sofa and say ‘come on in and sit down’”? (The Savior’s Interaction with Women in the New Testament)

In the old testament time, women were the ones that were responsible for taking care of the guests when they visit. Martha took that responsibility seriously, but Mary chose to go against that tradition and sat at the Lord’s feet to hear him teach. The Savior did not condemn the activities of Martha, but Martha’s judgement of Mary’s activity. Jesus would have honored Martha’s choice to serve and provide a meal if she had not complained about Mary’s choice. The moment that Martha judges Mary’s choice was when the Savior got involved. There is a time and a place for all things. There is a time for service and there is a time for worship. We don’t go to church for our Sunday worship services and in the middle of that service we have someone come in to vacuum the chapel.

In a world of constant choices, we must have balance and make sure we are not out mowing the lawn, that we choose the “good part” to worship at the Savior’s feet when we are given the opportunity.

Your comments and questions are welcome.