Monday, June 28, 2010

Deny not the power of Christ?

Kelsey and I read an interesting verse from the Book of Mormon today.

It's in Moroni, last chapter, almost last verse. Chapter 10, verse 33. I'm only going to talk about the first line.

33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye asanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the bblood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your csins, that ye become dholy, without spot.

Is perfect in Christ different from being  perfect in your own right?  The real interesting part is "and deny not his power". Not only is grace necessary but also not denying Gods power. Why on earth would anyone deny the power of Christ? Mornoi here tells us a pre req of being sanctified is to not deny Gods power. Wonder why he said that unless he knew the audience would be guilty of it?

So what does it mean to deny Gods power? And why would anyone ever do such a thing?

I think to deny something means to reject or refuse it. To not accept. To replace it with something else. In our pride to think we don't need it. Confining it to a warm fuzzy. Foolishly thinking it doesn't apply to your case. Believing you are too lost, or already plenty righteous or "self" righteous as the case may be. Stubbornly thinking it's obtainable only via striving, or being good enough for long enough. That denies Gods power. Why does this happen? Often it's our pride. Perhaps we are so caught up in worldly power that Gods power isn't even on the radar screen because it's never been experienced. Ignorance I think is a form of denying Gods power. There are many others. You could ignore it, fail to recognize it. You could assume God has given his power to men and therefore that's all you need. (2 Ne. 28: 5, 31) Yeah...don't do that.

The opposite of denying Gods power would be believing in it, trusting it, exercising faith in, and receiving it fully. Takes humility but well worth any price. It will bring Gods power according to Moroni. Man is nothing next to Gods power. I think Moroni knows what he is talking about. Maybe repentance in this verse = stop denying Gods power and start believing. Why apologize to God for mistakes or wrongdoing, all the while denying his power? Hum.... thoughts like that may lead somewhere.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lamps and Oil

Today Kelsey and I had an interesting conversation.

It started out talking about the Second Coming of Christ. We both agreed it will likely not look like a suit and tie from a church pulpit (D&C 34: 7). His messengers may speak that way now, but we wondered what kinds of changes would need to happen for a church or people to begin to follow His leadership when He comes again. Then we got talking about the parable of the 10 virgins. One phrase from the parable caught me. It's what the 5 foolish virgins are told when they discover the time has come, and they are without oil. The others say to them "go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves".
We know the oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. We also know from Acts that the Holy Ghost SPECIFICALLY cannot be purchased with money(Acts 8: 18-20). So why then are they told to go and buy it from those that sell? Could it be they were foolish because they thought they could purchase it, last minute, from one who sells it? Scriptures tell us how to obtain it, it's not hard to find the verses. Can you buy the Holy Spirit? Perhaps that was part of their foolishness. They apparently found some oil and showed up to the marriage but did not gain entrance. Wonder why? Aside from being tardy, the Master did not know them.

The conversation then lead to the different groups of people in the parable. The 2 groups of virgins, the marriage feast, the bridegroom, and the guests. There were already people at the feast, the virgins aren't the only people attending. Well now that's interesting. The conversation concluded with thoughts like these: Not only is oil in the lamp symbolic of the Holy Spirit but it is part of the Gospel to have the Holy Spirit dwell within you (1 Cor. 3: 16). You then have a well of water within, springing up unto eternal life (John 4: 14-15). How uplifting, the source of the oil, the member of the Godhead can dwell inside you. Not only that but we are promised in the Gospel of John as well as Revelations (John 14: 23) that God and Christ will take up their abode with us if we abide the conditions.

These are no small promises. It seems God wants us to be more holy. Such groups of people probably were in a different group altogether from any of the virgins, perhaps they received a "friend" or "family" invite to the wedding feast. Perhaps at one point they were among the virgins, but chose to continue onward and upward.

Repentance (the kind you see in The Book of Mormon involving a change of heart and perspective) may in fact change the entire picture.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tests your not aware of

So I normally don't like watching TV, occasionally I'll watch for a few minutes. However today Kelsey pointed out a show that seriously caught my attention.

It was called "True Beauty". Contestants were told they are competing to be the "Face of Vegas" They go through various tests like public speaking, looks, smarts, interview skills, education etc. They get evaluated by peer groups as well as by the judges. However there is another test being simultaneously administered. It's one of inner beauty. The contestants do not know about this test. This test is done with things like cameras when the contestants don't think they are being watched.  It's done with actors pretending to be drunk as the contestants walk outside the hotel to go to their evaluation, (a test to see if they choose to stop the drunk from driving).  There are also hidden people watching to see how the contestants respond to criticism and other off camera behavior. Specific tests to "not peek at contents of envelopes" and then an unseen camera to see if they peak when the door is closed and they don't think anyone is watching.  These tests are based upon things related to character, how they really act.

Some contestants were disqualified for breaking pre-agreed upon rules. They said when told they were disqualified that they "gave into a little temptation", "a moment of weakness", they apologized and pleaded, but it wasn't going to work, the test was over.

I hope people realize life is a test. We've been told it is. After all is said and done the test is not "face of Earth" celebrity, or forms of pride and selfishness. All eternity is watching. Who knows how many "behind the scenes" actors are staged and at work each and every day. (Heb. 13: 2.) Our character is being tested. People are watching! We are the TV show the ABC network is imitating. Are we really good people? Only good on Sunday, only good when personally convenient or everyone plays nice with us? The test is not about who appears most religious, or who is popular, best looking, or amasses the most wealth. It's not if you can justify whatever is amiss in your life. What if the test is completely different? What if the test is how we treat people? What if the test is far more subtle and happening every minute?

We know how to pass the test. The scriptures are full of how God suggests we act.

But alas the test continues. It will reveal the truth. It will reveal you. Some will recognize the test, seek God in their life, clean up and pass, others may not. I pray anyone who reads this does.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Culturally induced blindness

Two Indians were sitting on a fence. We'll call them Indian 1 and Indian 2.

Indian 2 is the son of Indian 1. But Indian 1 is not the father. So what then is the relationship between the Indians?

Here is where you think for a while. If you can't get the answer look in the comment to this post

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A very humble thank you I'll never forget.

When I worked in California in the Emergency Department of a large Hospital there was a day when something happened that has stayed with me. A man and his wife were brought to the ER following a car accident having spent the night trapped inside their car in a large trench off to the side of the road far away from the city. Both had insulin related health problems which made things all the worse. The paramedics brought them in via the ambulance, they were covered in mud, blood and who knows what else.  For whatever reason and personal physical limitations they hadn't been able to get out of their car, or get help. A passerby the next day called for the ambulance.  So the couple had spent a very cold, lonely, and uncomfortable night in a faraway ditch, unsure if or when they would be found. Or if medication could be received in time. There was a feeling of respect in the room as the situation was prepared for by those getting details over the radio.

There they were in the emergency room, nurses and doctors, all attending to this exhausted couple.  I was an EMT at the time.  At one point I sat there washing off the husbands mud covered face with a warm washrag, he looked up at the group in tears and said thank you. No one was mad at him, no one discounted the experience they had gone through. No one chastised him for poor health choices which become clear as medical assessments continued, no one criticized his mistakes, and perhaps lack of judgment in driving the night before. No one cared whether or not he or she could pay for the services. We all felt love and compassion and were glad to serve. It brought out the best in everyone.

Here was a humble man, with little dignity left, clothes torn and soiled, physically limited and emotionally worn out. He could do little for himself other than talk.  His thank you was unforgettable. After a few minutes he and his wife who was in a nearby bed were able to laugh at their situation.  The nurses and doctors all respectfully let them find comfort in a little humor and they occasionally joined in where it was appropriate.  

Not all of us are ever going to be in such a circumstance. But how good it is when given the opportunity to serve, to do so regardless of what brought a person to their current situation of need. To serve without judgment, evaluation of merit, or criticism produces joy and peace.  

I believe that is how Christ approaches service, and how he asks us to serve and love.
It is not always easy, but Love never fails.  It's not required to evaluate someone's merit in order to offer service or love them.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Telephone poles!!

Today on the way home from school there was a bad car accident. Car versus pole. The pole won. It was one of those large diameter steel poles the stop light is connected.  This one was positioned up off to the side of the road corner. To get there the person had to veer off the lane quite a bit, go up the curb and aim at the pole. To both sides of the pole was nothing, maybe some small bushes.

Anyone else noticed how common this is? People often hit a tree, light post, street light post, telephone pole head on even when there is nothing else around.  They hit it dead on when there is empty space all round it.

A psychiatrist friend of mine, Dr. Paul relates an awesome study that was done. It was a study in a Midwestern state in the US during winter. Along a particular stretch of highway there are telephone poles spaced hundreds of feet apart. In the winter when it snows the majority of the cars that slide off the road hit one of the poles. It got a lot of attention and some studies were done.

The conclusion revealed that the drivers went where they looked, not where they wanted to go. These drivers all stated they were just trying to regain control of their car and didn't want to hit the pole but ended up going right towards it. You go where you look. If you focus on something, you will hit it. When drivers are anxious or scared they focus on the object they want to avoid, which of course leads right to it.

I have this feeling that this concept covers MUCH more than just cars hitting things. If we go where we look we should be careful what we are focusing on, in life and in the car chances are with focus, we'll head right for it.

Good idea to stop worrying. And start looking at better things. Today I'm going to focus on the good.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Ever since watching Prince of Persia, great movie by the way, my mind has been on sand.

Maybe because I like sand, and it reminds me of the beach and surfing, but there is something interesting about it.
These questions came to mind. Why is sand connected to time? Like the "sands of time" or sand in an hour glass. In Prince of Persia it definitely carries on this theme of sand and time.

Here is what I've learned in a little study and talking with friends.

A lot of sand is silica based. Furthermore silica sand is what window glass is made from! Sand is sedimentary particles between 0.0625 (1/16) mm and 2mm in diameter. Most sediments, including sand, are made up of the fragments that result when rock is broken down by wind and rain. So basically it's made up of itty bitty rocks or fragments.

But then I ask my self where did the rock come from? Now we have to go clear back to the formation of the earth and astronomy.
I friend told me this: "To produce sand you literally have to begin with creation of a star, burnout of the star, an explosion producing the heavy silica elements which would not otherwise exist, and then a reforming of a planet from the stellar remnants. It takes billions, perhaps trillions of years and a whole round of creation and annihilation to produce a grain of sand. When you hold one in your hand, you are looking at something so ancient and so distant in its origin, that you are holding a bit of eternity in your hand. Indeed, you are holding a bit of a star."

Neat stuff if you ask me.

By the way, this is what sand looks like under a microscope.