Built on a Rock

In his Sermon on the Mount Christ gives the analogy of the wise and the foolish men. The wise man builds his house upon a rock and the foolish man builds upon the sand. The sand is a shifting foundation that cannot support the house trough storms. The rock is the firm foundation that can support the house for the man’s lifetime.

We live in a stormy time. Things happen everyday that can shake us to our foundations. But if our foundations are solid we can withstand any storm that hits.

One thing most parents have in common is the desire to make life good for their children. One of the greatest things a parent can do for their children is to help them develop good attitudes. Teaching children to look for the good can be a strong foundation and can support them through most of life’s struggles. When a person can look on difficulties and even deliberate hurt as a growing experience, life becomes a lot less shaky. American talk show host, Oprah Winfrey said:

“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience.’”

Without a good attitude, it is easy to become bitter. When we become bitter we see more and more things to be bitter about. If a person were to say to you, “For the next 10 minutes I want you to think about anything but zebras”, you’re going to be thinking only about zebras. The same principle applies to our attitude. If we start the day off assuming it’s going to be a miserable day, we will see plenty of things that can make the day miserable. On the other hand, if we start the day off assuming it is going to be a wonderful, exciting day, we will see those things that will make it that kind of day.

We can’t control everything around us, but we can control more than we think. A good attitude can change the way people treat us. It can even affect how the universe treats us.. Positive energy attracts positive energy while negativity attracts negativity.

Bad things happen to positive people. Your attitude can determine what long term effect those events have on you. A faith in Christ, and a belief that he sees the big picture can help us turn “bad” things into growing experiences. Difficult times in our lives can be like a goldsmith’s furnace. Fiery struggles can either consume us or they can burn off the dross and reveal the gold.

In the great Christian hymn, “How Firm a Foundation” the author, writing in the voice of the Lord, tells us how a positive attitude and faith in Christ can see us through difficult times.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,

The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,

For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

 

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,

My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.

The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design

Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

 

The soul that on Jesus leans for repose

I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

 

Let’s all stand on the firm foundation of positive attitude. . . . And you can stop thinking about zebras now. 

 

RELATED MATERIAL:

QUOTES ABOUT ATTITUDE

Nature, Beauty, Gratitude:  Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director and producer who captures breathtaking images that celebrate life — revealing connections, universal rhythms, patterns and beauty. (9:47, Source – TED Talks)

Thomas S. Monson, General Conference address: An Attitude of Gratitude (21:02)

Thanksgiving Daily: The more often we see the things around us, the more they become invisible to us. Learn how you can live in thanksgiving daily by noticing the wonders and beauties of this world. (1:48, Source – lds.org)

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Video: How Firm a Foundation (4:11)

Get In Touch with Your Inner Tortoise

UNSTRUNG HEROS

Recently a school in Scotland determined students were being over-worked and over-burdened with homework. It was decided that no student under the age of 13 would receive homework. Highly motivated, over-achieving parents freaked out.

“Our children will fall behind!”

“How will they ever compete if they are not pushed to succeed?”

The Head Master stood by the decision insisting that the children needed more time to play and be children. The parents were promised their children would not fall behind. At the end of the school year, not only had the students not fallen behind, but their test scores had improved by 20% over the previous year.  The students had more balanced lives, and as a result were able to do more in shorter periods of time.

The Prophet Joseph Smith was once chided for playing ball. It was “un-prophet-like.” It was “beneath the dignity of a Prophet.” He took that opportunity to teach a very important life lesson. He told a parable about a prophet and a hunter, clarifying his own philosophy about the relationship of play to work. The story goes as follows:

A certain prophet sat under a tree amusing himself in some way. Along came a hunter and reproved him. The prophet asked the hunter if he always kept his bow strung up. “Oh no,” said the hunter.

“Why not?”

“Because it would lose its elasticity.”

“It is just so with my mind,” stated the prophet. “I do not want it strung up all the time.”

The Scottish Head Master understood this principle and as a result, not only did the students excel, they learned a valuable life lesson.

 

PENCIL ME OUT

Recently in a Ward Council meeting a Bishop expressed the concerns of a parent in his ward. The parent was frustrated with the number of activities her children were expected to participate in. The youth leaders in the ward, in their sincere efforts to do their jobs, had, in the opinion of this mother, over-booked the youth.  The young mens’ leader, in response to this, said, “Well if we don’t provide things to keep them busy, someone else will.” His meaning was that if the Church doesn’t keep them busy, they could end up getting into trouble. “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.”

The Bishop, with great wisdom, said, “You’re right. If we don’t provide something for them to do, other people will. And those other people will be their parents.”

Many families today are too busy. One sign that your family is TOO busy is the dinner table. Are you having dinner together every night? If not, your family “bow” is in danger of losing its elasticity.  Although it is difficult, maybe it is time to pencil yourselves out of some things. It’s time to slow down.

Of all the things Joseph Smith accomplished for the building up of the Church, translating the Book of Mormon would be ranked right at the top in importance. Yet, as important as that was, the Lord counseled him to, “…not run faster or labor more than [he had] strength…” — Doctrine and Covenants 10:4

We have all heard the saying, “Stop and smell the roses.”  If you find yourself too busy to do that, maybe you can start by slowing down and at least noticing the roses. Then maybe next time you pass by them you can stop and smell them!

 

RELATED MATERIAL:

Ensign Magazine Article: “Don’t be in a Hurry” (Source: LDS.org)

I’m a Mormon: “I’m a Mormon, Texan and Mother of Two Disabled Sons” (Source: LDS.org)

Audio Program: An American Mormon in China – Olivia Meikle lived in China with her husband and three boys. She tells how both the young and old in China take time to play. (Source: The Mormon Channel)

 

Dominion Over the Earth

When the Lord placed Adam on earth, He commanded him to take care of the earth. That is a responsibility we have each inherited. The earth provides everything we need, but it is our job to nurture and protect it.

Environmental issues are a hot political topic in any arena, but no matter what your political leanings, if you believe in God and that he is the creator of heaven and earth, you have to believe that our home is more than simply a planet spinning on its axis. If nothing else, you have to see earth as one of God’s creations, and that should be enough to make you want to do your best to take care of it.

EARTH DAY EVERY DAY

In the winter of 1969-70, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin developed the idea of a day to bring awareness to environmental problems facing the planet. On April 22, 1970, the first “Earth Day” was observed. A surprisingly large number of people – 20 million – participated across the country. Today over a billion people participate each year. Some attend rallies. Some plant trees. Others clean up rivers and lakes. Whatever the participants do, they are taking seriously the charge from the Lord that we take care of the planet.

There are many things we can do. The important thing is that we each do something, and that we do something on more than just April 22.

REASONS TO RECYCLE

  1. Recycling saves trees. In Colonial America, before the expansion West, it was said forests were so thick that a person could walk from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific on the treetops.  Today 95 percent of those forests have been cut down, and 50% of the world’s forests are gone.
  2. Recycling reduces water pollution.  Turning trees into paper uses more water than any other industrial process in America. Paper recycling mills use much less water and don’t pollute nearly as much. Recycling reduces water pollution.
  3. Recycling reduces the need for incinerators and landfills to deal with discarded paper. This helps reduce air pollution.
  4. Recycling creates jobs and promotes economic development. For every job in a landfill, there are 10 jobs in a recycling facility and 25 jobs in recycling-based manufacturing. Every year Americans generate more than 230 million tons of solid waste. If we recycled 30% of our waste every year, Americans would save the energy equivalent of 11.9 billion gallons of gasoline. This would also reduce the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road. We can all be a little more frugal in what we throw away. Brigham Young was known for saying:

 

Use it up.

Wear it out.

Make it do,

Or do without.

WHAT CAN I DO?

Obviously some of us can do more than others, but if we each do a little it adds up to a lot. Below are some links to recycling ideas.

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RELATED MATERIAL

I’m a Mormon Profile: I’m Martin. I’m addicted to saving energy and recycling trash. (Source:  Mormon.org)

New Era Article: “This is Ace” (Source: LDS.org)

Ensign Article: Using Earth’s Resources Well (Source: LDS.org)

Television Commercial: “Keep America Beautiful” (Source: YouTube)

Topic Page: Being Earth Friendly (Source: Mormon Media Network.com)

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RECYCLING IDEAS

Webpage: 1,000,000 Recycling Ideas (Source: Facebook.com)

Webpage: Recycling Ideas (Source: Pinterest.com)

Webpage: Recycling Ideas (Source: Scoop.it)

Webpage: 37 Ways to Make Something New out of Something Old (Source: Countryliving.com)

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The Joy of Giving

The Joy of Giving

LAYING IT ON THE ALTAR

There is a common story in situation comedies. Susan finds out her friend Janet has run into tough times financially. Janet is not going to be able to pay all of the bills that are coming due. It is clearly a very stressful thing for her. Susan, because she cares about Janet and doesn’t like seeing her in such a tough situation, offers to give, or loan, Janet some money to get her out of the situation. The scene usually plays out something like this.

SUSAN: Janet, can I ask you something?

JANET: Sure.

SUSAN: Is everything OK?

JANET: What do you mean?

SUSAN: I couldn’t help but notice you’re being extra frugal lately.

JANET: (Feeling a little uncomfortable) Umm, …what are you saying?

SUSAN: I’m just wondering if you are having money problems.

JANET: (A little defensive) I’m fine.

SUSAN: Really?

JANET: I’m fine. Why would you even say that?

SUSAN: Well, I didn’t want to bring this up, but I saw you squeezing ketchup packets into hot water and calling it soup.

JANET: So?

SUSAN: So, I’m just saying if you need anything I’m here for you.

JANET: Thanks, but I’m fine.

SUSAN: OK. I’m just saying…

JANET (Interrupting) I’m broke! OK. There, I said it. I’m broke.

Then Susan offers to give Janet money to tide her over. Janet refuses, but eventually agrees to accept it if they can call it a loan. The next day a mutual friend informs Susan that she saw Janet coming out of a very expensive spa.

SUSAN: Hmmm, that’s interesting.

FRIEND: Why is that interesting?

SUSAN: Because this morning I saw her with shopping bags from Bloomingdale’s.

Susan decides, against the advice of the mutual friend, that she will have a talk with Janet.

 

ACT II – Hilarity ensues.

What makes this situation work in any sitcom is the fact that Susan feels that because she has loaned, or perhaps given Janet money, she has the right to decide what Janet should do with that money.

MAKING AN OFFERING

When we lay a sacrifice on the alter, we must then walk away. Once that sacrifice has left our hands, we have no say in what will be done with that offering. If we attach strings to any offering, it is not a true sacrifice.  If you tithe to your church, you do so because you want to do something good, not because you want to control what that church does with your offering. You make a good faith offering and then walk away.

How many times have you heard, or even said yourself, that you should not give money to people on the street? Common statements are;

“He’ll probably just buy booze with it.” Or,

“He probably makes more money per year than you do.” Or,

“He won’t be grateful for it.”

Maybe he will buy booze.  Maybe he won’t be grateful. What if we each had only those things we are grateful for? We would each be in a pretty bad way.

There is a joy that comes from sacrifice. Whether that sacrifice be a financial donation, or an offering of your time, it can give one a sense of peace. When we question our donation, or second-guess those who are receiving it, we rob ourselves of that joy.

Next time you feel like giving money to someone on the street, do it without questioning his intent.  Say to yourself, “Whatever he does with that money, I hope it makes him happy. And if it makes him happy, then I’m happy for him.”

 

RELATED MATERIALS:

“The Coat” (Source: The Mormon Channel)

The Power of Music

Mormon-Media-Network---First-LDS-Hymnbook

First LDS Hymnbook

Three months after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized the Lord commanded Emma Smith to make a selection of sacred hymns for the Church. The Lord said, “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” (Doctrine and Covenants 25:12)

Music is an important part of life.  It touches our hearts like few other things can. As the Lord says in the above scripture, it can be a blessing. It can comfort us in times of trial. It can pull us out of depression.

Music can be a time machine that hurls us back to grade school or junior prom, or a first kiss.

LIGHT AND DARKNESS

There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of debate about how much influence music can have on a person.  One side of the debate says that music has an almost irresistible influence on a person. The other side believes it has no influence. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Most parents have seen music influence the behavior of their children in one direction or another. One teenager, when confronted by his parents about the effect his choice of music was having on him, said, “It doesn’t affect me. It just makes me feel good.” His less than logical teenage mind didn’t see the contradiction in what he had just said. If music can make one feel good, then it stands to reason it can make one feel bad, or happy, or sad, or mad, or angry.

Music can have such a profound influence on us that it really could be listed in the Word of Wisdom. Just as we should not take anything into our bodies that can adversely affect our health, we should avoid any music that can disrupt emotionally.

Mormon-Media-Network---Musical-Notes-by-morguefile---ILUSTRAnaturaGOOD MUSIC

At the University of Utah in Logan, Utah, one can earn a degree in Music Therapy. The description of this program reads in part:

“A degree in music therapy prepares students for an established healthcare profession that uses music to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapists can improve the quality of life for people who are healthy as well as children and adults with illnesses or disabilities. They help others manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication, and improve health through music therapy practices.”

Sacred music is good, but not all good music is sacred music. What person with a pulse can listed to James Brown’s “I Feel Good” and not AT LEAST tap a foot? Good music comes in many genres. The important thing is to find something that makes you feel good and listen to it often. The song of the righteous “delighteh” the soul of the Lord. What type of music delights your soul?

Copyright © 2013 by Energy Media Works LLC

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A FEW THINGS TO DELIGHT YOUR SOUL

Music video with Alex Boye and Carmen Rasmusen:  “Have I done any Good in the World Today?” (source: The Mormon Channel)

Sandy Patty Sings, “Was it a Morning Like This?” A powerful song about that first Easter morning. (source: Youtube)

The King’s Singers perform “Danny Boy” in the Mormon tabernacle in Salt Lake City. (source: Youtube)

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RELATED MATERIAL

Dr. Daniel Henderson, from Harvard University, talks about the history of the LDS Hymnbook (source: The Mormon Channel)

BYU’s Dr. Michael Hicks discusses music in the early years of the church.

Image Credits:

First LDS Hymnbook — Deseret News

Musical Notes – morguefile.com, ILUSTRAnatura

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Hardships

Grammy Award winning vocalist Sandy Patty recorded a song by composer Gary Driskell called, “Face to Faith.”  The first verse and chorus says:

David was small but no giant could take him

And Daniel was doomed but there was not a wound

When they raised him from the lion’s den

Simon Peter, in chains, brought an angel to the rescue

Paul and Silas, in jail, were guarded to no avail

For their shackles were loose and the doors just flew open

“Now, what is the catch?” I asked one day I was readin’

It must be an age-old mystery

Then, takin’ a second look

I discovered a strikingly clear consistency

 

It’s meetin’ disaster face to faith

Puttin’ God’s promises into place

Tendin’ to trouble with a little taste

Of what God will do when His people start callin’ His name

He anxiously awaits

To give the word to release the power that prayer creates

So we gotta learn to meet every problem that we face

Face to faith

 

The Bible is full of stories of people who faced unbelievable hardships yet

through their faith and determination came out stronger for it.

 

ONE MAN’S CEILING

The phrase, one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor, can be applied to hardships. What might be a terrible struggle for one person is nothing for another. One person may scoff at the “weakness” of a drug addict, while they themselves are addicted to gossip and drama. We each have our demons. But we should never forget that we each also have our strengths. Often those strength are the result of having battled through a hardship and over come a weakness.

 

WE SHOULD THANK THE LORD FOR WEAKNESS

In the Book of Ether in The Book of Mormon, the Lord talks about this strength through struggle.

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”  — The Book of Mormon, Ether 12:27

What a great promise that is. Not only can we overcome weaknesses, but those weaknesses can become strengths.

This verse from Ether lays outs an underlying principle of the 12 step program used in addiction recovery.

STEP 1: We admitted we are powerless over our addiction. (Becoming humble)

STEP 2: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (My grace is sufficient for all men…)

The secret to overcoming a weakness is coming face to face with it and

then dealing with it in faith. As Gary Driskell wrote,

“We gotta learn to meet every problem that we face

Face to faith.”

 

Copyright © 2013 by Energy Media Works LLC

Broken heart photo by: wikimedia commons, Frank Vincentz 

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RELATED MATERIAL:

Sandy Patty sings, “Face to Faith.” (Source: YouTube)

12 Steps to Recovery (source: LDS.org)

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QUOTES ABOUT HARDSHIP AND FAITH

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis

“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience’.” – Oprah Winfrey

“There are some things you learn best in calm, and others in storm.” – Willa Cather

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Church Bullies

LIFE’S FOUR CATEGORIES

Everything can be put into one of the following four categories: Fact, Truth, Opinion, and Fantasy.

The color purple is the most beautiful of all colors. – OPINION

If I want it enough, but never practice I can become a professional basketball player. – FANTASY

Snow is cold. – FACT

Jesus Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem. – TRUTH

OPINIONS are just that, opinions. They don’t need to have a basis in fact. They don’t need not be true, but they are not necessarily false.

FANTASIES can be confused with opinions, but the difference is, while opinions CAN be true, fantasies are not. Fantasies are often not based in rational thought or logic.

FACTS are truths that can be verified with tangible evidence such as data, visual confirmation, etc.

TRUTHS differ from facts in that they cannot be confirmed with tangible evidence.

THE WORLD IS A TOUGH PLACE

One of the plagues of any society is the bully. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. They sometimes grow out of it, but more often than not they don’t. There are bullies on playgrounds. There are bullies in schools. There are bullies in boardrooms, in churches, and, sadly, in homes.

Helping children deal with bullies can be a difficult and often heart-breaking struggle. Understanding these four categories can make it easier for children (and adults) in dealing with bullies. When your daughter comes home in tears because, “Billy said my shirt is ugly.”  It can ease the pain a bit if she can understand the difference between fact and opinion.  If she can understand that Billy’s favorite color might be blue and so he thinks anything that is not blue is ugly, then she can learn to understand not only the difference between fact and opinion, but she has learned a valuable lesson in tact and how we should care about the feelings of others.

Mormon-Media-Network---dieter-f-uchtdorf-large

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf – lds.org

CHURCH BULLIES

Some of the worst and most hurtful bullies are church bullies. Church is a place that should feel safe. It’s a place where we should each feel comfortable being ourselves. Church bullies sometimes set themselves up as the morals and values police. Because they have appointed themselves to a lofty position of authority, as they suppose, they start exercising unrighteous dominion. (Doctrine and Covenants 121:39) They decide it is their right and duty to keep others in line and to point out the shortcomings of those around them. These self-appointed officers of order place insignificant rules, traditions, and social norms above the feelings and welfare of people. Bullies tend to see every single one of their own opinions as facts or truths.

In a recent General Conference address, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints quoted a bumper sticker he had seen. “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.” When we judge others we are announcing that we are sinless. Our lives are in such perfect order that we are in desperate need of a hobby, and the hobby we have chosen is bullying. All judging is a form of bullying. In fact, judging is the bully’s favorite weapon. It may not be one of the 10 Moses brought down from Mount Sinai, but not judging is still a commandment. We should each be kind whenever possible, and remember, it’s always possible.

Mormon-Media-Network---Bully-free-ZoneSELF-TEST

In the same Conference address, President Uchtdorf suggested the following questions as a self-test:

  • Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?
  • Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?
  • Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?
  • Do you secretly envy another?
  • Do you wish to cause harm to someone?

FACT – When we judge we hurt people, ourselves included.

TRUTH – Christ was kind and cared about the feelings of others.

OPINION – My criticizing you in front of others just helps you build character.

FANTASY – If I don’t approve of you, I’m obligated to let you know.

 

Copyright © 2013 by Energy Media Works LLC

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QUOTES ABOUT KINDNESS

“If you were my earthly friend, you would win my heart by being kind to my children. God loves his children more than any earthly parent, so think what your kindness to his children means to him.” – Henry B. Eyring

“Kindness, love, patience, understanding, and unity will increase as we serve, while intolerance, jealousy, envy, greed, and selfishness decrease or disappear. The more we give of ourselves, the more our capacity to serve, understand, and love will grow.” – Carlos H. Amando

“We love him, because he first loved us.” – The Holy Bible, 1 John 4:19

RELATED MATERIALS:

Video – “The Merciful Obtain Mercy” – General Conference Address, April, 2012, Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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Nephi’s Bow

There is a story in the Book of Mormon of a broken bow, but it turns out to be a story about much more than that.

600  B.C.

Lehi has left Jerusalem and taken his family into the wilderness. In order to survive, they must hunt. His son Nephi tells us:

“And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.

And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.” – 1 Nephi 16:18, 19

When his brothers find out that his bow has been broken they complain because that’s what they were best at. They complained about everything.. But for the first time Nephi’s father Lehi complains. Lehi, a pillar of faith and strength, complains.

DO SOMETHING

There are two lessons in verse 23. The first is simple and somewhat obvious.

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones.” – 1 Nephi 16:23

The lesson is this: Do something. Rather than sit around complaining about your situation, get up and do something about it.  You may not always know what to do right then, but you can do SOMETHING. Even to stop complaining is SOMETHING. When you stop complaining your head will be cleared and you will have an idea of what to do next.

Saint Francis of Assisi said,

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

YOU BUILD ME UP

The second extremely important lesson comes in the last line of verse 23 after Nephi has made a bow and an arrow.

“I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?” 1 Nephi 16:23

Nephi was a smart young man. He was obviously a self-starter. He had had great spiritual experiences and had talked with an angel of the Lord. Why did he go to his father to to know where to go to obtain food?  He went to his father because, even at that young age, Nephi knew what the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Geothe taught.

“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”

For the first and only time in the Book of Mormon, Nephi’s father is complaining about their situation. Instead of going off alone to find food, Nephi treats his father like the leader he ought to be and could be. As a result, Lehi goes to the Lord in prayer, repents of his murmuring, and asks for guidance. The Lord tells them where to find food and the family is saved from suffering.

PLEASE BUILD ME UP

If an employee treats a difficult supervisor like the good boss she ought to be and could be, she will become the boss she could be.

If a parent treats a stubborn child like the child he ought to be and could be, he will become that kind of adult.

After all, isn’t that why we put a child’s drawing on the fridge? We don’t put it there because it is a great work of art. We put it there to tell them what an important member of the family they are.

Copyright © 2013 by Energy Media Works LLC

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Related Information:

The story of Nephi’s bow – The Book of Mormon (source: lds.org)

VIDEO

Touching the Hearts of our Youth (source: lds.org)

More about St. Francis of Assisi (source: Wikipedia)

More about Johann Wolfgang von Geothe (source Wikipedia)

 

 

 

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The Word of Wisdom

A PRINCIPLE WITH A PROMISE…

PREVENTATIVE MAINTAINANCE

It’s against the law to run out of gas on the autobahn in Germany. When people hear that, the most common response is something like, “That’s crazy.” At first, people will argue that there’s nothing you can do about running out of gas, but when they think about it further, it’s clear that of all the things that can happen on the Autobahn, running out of gas is the one thing you CAN prevent. You may not be able to avoid a flat tire, or a broken fuel line, but running out of gas is always the result of poor planning. You simply never get on the Autobahn unless you are sure you have the fuel necessary to get where you are going.

If we look at ours lives as journeys on the Autobahn, we can hardly be surprised when we get to be 60 or 70 years old and our bodies sputter to a stop because of a lack of proper fuel. What we do or do not put in our bodies is extremely important for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

THE WORD OF WISDOM

Most people who know very little about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do know that Mormons live by some type of health code. A while ago a major American television network produced an hour-long program about Mormons. The reporters involved covered a surprising number of subjects and did a very good job. When the Mormon health code, the Word of Wisdom, was discussed. The discussions centered around the restrictions on tobacco, drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea.. The Mormon woman being interviewed expressed the opinion that caffeinated drinks such as cola were also prohibited. This caused quite a stir among members of the church in America. At one place of business the next morning a group of Mormons were sitting around the conference table discussing the Word of Wisdom and if it prohibited caffeinated sodas. In attendance at that meeting were 10 people, 4 large mugs of diet cola, a dozen donuts and a gallon of chocolate milk. Only the caffeine in the soda was even considered to be a health risk, and therefore, against the Word of Wisdom.

THE PRINCIPLE

The principle behind the Word of Wisdom is simple. Your body is a temple; take care of it.

It is generally considered by Mormons that if you avoid tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea you are living the Word of Wisdom.

In 2013 The United Health Foundation did and extensive study of the health of American citizens over age 65. The 50 states were then ranked according to how healthy their senior citizens were. When one considers that the majority of the people in Utah are Mormons, and if we believe that Mormons live by the Word of Wisdom, then it should be a foregone conclusion that Utah will rank number 1 . In reality, Utah ranked 9th.

The states were evaluated in 4 other categories as well:

  1. Obesity – The percentage of people over 65 who were obese.
  2. Smoking – The percentage of people over 65 who smoked.
  3. Diabetes – The percentage of people over 65 being treated for diabetes.
  4. Physical activity – The number of people over 65 who participate in no physical activity other than regular day to day activities.

 

In Utah, a state that “lives the Word of Wisdom:”

4.7% smoke

25.5% participate in no physical activity

24.6% are obese

74.9% are being treated for diabetes

This study alone makes it clear that the Word of Wisdom is much more than avoiding tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea.

THE PROMISE

Do we believe the Lord?  Do we believe his promise in the Word of Wisdom?  The closing verses give each of us the following promise.

And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow in their bones; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

We believe IN Christ. Do we BELIEVE Christ?

Copyright © 2013 by Energy Media Works LLC

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Related Information:

Scripture: The Word of Wisdom, Doctrine and Covenants, section 89 (Source – lds.org)

TED Talk: Teach Children about Food 

NY Times Report: The Health Benefits of Fasting

Mormon Channel Audio Program: The Physical and Spiritual Benefits of Yoga

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The Purpose of Life

The Purpose of Life

WHY HAS GOD PUT US HERE?

In an episode of the American television program, “Everybody Loves Raymond”, Ray and Debra Barone’s daughter Ally, about 8 or 9 years old, wants to know how we got here. Ray, realizes it’s time for the how babies are made talk. After some stress-fill preparation, Ray sits down with his daughter to discuss a very delicate subject. After laying out his books, magazines, paper and, notes he starts to explain the facts of life. However, he doesn’t get many details out before she interrupts with,

“Why are we born? Why has God put us here?”

Completely caught off guard, Ray asks, “What?”

“If we all go to heaven when we die, then why does God want us here first?”

The best Ray can come up with is, it’s very crowded in heaven so God sends us down to earth for a little while to ease the heavenly congestion.

Ally’s question is a natural one for us. Why are we here? What is the purpose of life?

THE PURPOSE OF LIFE

The Dalai Lama has said, “The very purpose of our lives is happiness and joyfulness. That is very clear.”

This fits perfectly with Father Lehi’s teaching in the Book of Mormon. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”

JOY

To answer Ally’s question, God put us here to experience joy. When an angel appeared to the shepherds near Bethlehem, the message was one of joy. “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”

While a graduate student at John’s Hopkins University School of Medicine, Candace Pert discovered the brain’s opiate receptor – the cell site where the body’s “bliss-makers”, the endorphins – bond with cells to create joy. Dr. Pert says human beings are “Hard-wired for bliss”.

How then do we obtain joy? If, as Dr. Pert says, we are hard-wired for it, why do so many of us have so little of it?

One thing we can do is EXPECT to have joy. Dr, Pert’s studies have revealed that because of the way our brains are wired, we only see what we believe is possible. When Columbus arrived in the West Indies the natives literally did not see the ships for several days. They did not see them because their brains didn’t see what they didn’t know was possible. So if we believe our day is going to be joyless, we will literally not see those things that could bring us joy.

Another thing we can do is to sincerely work to bring joy to others. We have seen the joy on the face of a child on Christmas morning when she opens a gift. But that joy pales in comparison to the look of joy she has when she gives a gift.

May your days be filled with joy, and may you bring joy to others everyday.

Copyright © 2013 by Energy Media Works LLC

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Related Information:

Who was Lehi?

“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”  The Book of Mormon, Second Nephi 2:25

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The Holy Bible, St. Luke 2:10

For more information about the Dalai Lama

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings “Now let Us Rejoice

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