Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Put away all your false traditions

This is a favorite quote of mine. We need to open our hearts and minds to allow the works of God to flow through us, unrestrained. We truly get in our own way in progressing and becoming like Christ. Let us put away all our stakes and false traditions and truly come unto Christ.

"I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes for the Almighty, You will come short of the glory of God. To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions.”

“The great thing for us to know is to comprehend what God did institute before the foundation of the world. Who knows it? It is the constitutional disposition of mankind to set up stakes and set bounds to the works and ways of the Almighty. … That which hath been hid from before the foundation of the world is revealed to babes and sucklings in the last days [see D&C 128:18].”

Teachings: Joseph Smith Chapter 22: Gaining Knowledge of Eternal Truths


Monday, February 27, 2017

The Teacher is Always Quiet During the Test

A good friend of mine sent me a text the other day, with this quote:

When you are going through difficulty and wonder where GOD is, remember that the teacher is always quiet during the test.

What a cool quote. Life truly is a test. The Lord taught Abraham the purpose of this life:

Abraham 3:25-26
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/abr/3?lang=eng

We are here to pass this test or rather, keep our second estate and "have glory added upon [our] heads for ever and ever."

Although life is a test, and not an easy one, the Lord, in His great mercy does not leave us alone and comfortless.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/11?lang=eng

Alma and the faithful followers of Christ were in bondage and suffered many things in Christ's name at the hands of a wicked Amulon. They had faith and their prayers were answered and they experienced Christ's easy yoke, first hand.

Mosiah 24:15
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/24?lang=eng

As we are yoked with Christ, we will be amazed at the multitude of His tender mercies in our lives.

1 Nephi 1:20
... But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/1?lang=eng

Let us not forget that our attitude must be right before the Lord for our burdens to be made light as we are yoked with Christ, and then shall He shower us with his tender mercies. Peter is such a powerful example of this kind of attitude.

1 Peter 4:12-19
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/1-pet/4?lang=eng

Another friend posted this on his Facebook wall and I thought it fit in so nicely into this topic I decided to add it. Thanks Tyler.

"Have you ever considered God's faith in us?
I read this in a great article LDS Living did on Michael McLean and thought I'd share it because I felt like it was too good not to. 

“My father suffered from Alzheimer’s, so when he was asked to give a 17-minute talk at an Easter sacrament meeting, I was nervous he would go a little bit off track. In fact, I stood close by so I could come up and rescue him,” McLean recalls. “Every scripture, every reference, was about God the Father’s greatness, wisdom, and intelligence. And I was getting embarrassed because it was Easter Sunday, and he wasn’t talking about Jesus.”

But then, with two minutes left, McLean’s father surprised him by posing a series of profound questions. “My father said, ‘Isn’t it interesting that the Greatest Intelligence in the Universe abandoned His Son at the most pivotal moment in His plan? Could it be that it was at this moment that the Greatest Intelligence of All bore witness to the universe that He had put His faith in Jesus? That He knew Jesus would choose Him no matter what? And could it be that when you think He has abandoned you that He is actually saying, ‘I have faith you will choose me even when I’m not there’?”

We might be in the middle of a test now, but he had faith in us us and with the proper attitude and faith in Him, we can bare all things in Christ's name and can stand boldly in defense of truth to the end. As we do this, we become yoked with Him and there is no burden too heavy, no mountain too high, and no battle we can't win as we walk side by side with our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ. Let us be up to the challenge and begin our daily walk with Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Power to change

There was a great question posed in my family Gospel Study Group and I thought I would say a few words in an effort to shed some light on the answer. 

"So many times in the scripture they say "my spirit is wanting my flesh is weak", that is the ultimate thought to describe wanting change.

So again there's things that I need to work on and that everyone needs to work on so how do we change our deepest thoughts and motivations to do whatever it is that we need to change?"

Boyd K. Packer made a statement that should never be underestimated.

“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.

“The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. ... That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel”
Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (“Little Children,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 17).

Why is this so vitally important? In my opinion it is because the Gospel of Christ speaks to our spirits in a way that nothing else can, regardless of how good it is. It contains within its teachings every principle and truth to exalt man and through their pursuit, man is perfected and purified. 

Now, hold that thought, and let me tell you a quick story. 

My company put on a 3-day live event last September. During an Q&A session, a lady asked the question, "how can we go from version 1.0 of ourselves to version 2.0 of ourselves, how do we cross that line?" All three founders were on stage, Brendon Burchard, Dean Graziosi, and Ethan Willis, and had great responses, but let me share what Ethan said. He said that when he has a project that he is working on, he goes into his theatre room, shuts the door, and starts to visualize the project. He might be there an hour or longer and visualizes the whole project, in as much detail as possible. To the extent that when things happen, it doesn't surprise him, because he has already created it. 

Ethan is an active member of the church, and I have great respect for him. As he spoke, the Spirit fell upon me and told me, that what he was saying was a powerful demonstration of faith. 

So, here we are at the first principle of the Gospel, which is faith. The more I learn about faith, the more I realize it's importance. I think that it is the first principle, because it is the most important. When we were born, air was the first thing we took into our bodies, because it is the most important and without it, life would end. Similarly, I am a firm believer that if we don't learn how to have and use faith, we can't and won't progress spiritually at all. But like air, faith is ever present and in use in our very lives, either on the one hand or on the other. 

Joseph Smith taught us in the Lectures on Faith:

9 From this we learn, that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen; and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.

Here we see that faith is the "principle of action in all intelligent beings" in the pursuit of that which we want. Using the words "intelligent beings" shows unto us, that it is only when we are acting rather than being acted upon (2 Nephi 2:13-14) that our action is based on faith. 

This is a very pertinent component to understand as we look at changing our ways. When we act because we are being enticed by the evil one, we are being acted upon, thus faith is not present. Another way to look at it, is when we follow the path of least resistance we become crooked like rivers, and faith is not present or active in us. 

Joseph continues to demonstrate or prove faith as a principle of action: 

10 If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action, in them; that without it, both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.

11 ...Are you not dependent on your faith, or belief, for the acquisition of all knowledge, wisdom and intelligence? Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown if you had not believed that you would reap? Would you have ever planted if you had not believed that you would gather? Would you have ever asked unless you had believed that you would receive? Would you have ever sought unless you had believed that you would have found? Or would you have ever knocked unless you had believed that it would have been opened unto you? In a word, is there any thing that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? Are not all your exertions, of every kind, dependent on your faith?

12 And as faith is the moving cause of all action in temporal concerns, so it is in spiritual...

13 ...But faith is not only the principle of action, but of power, also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven, or on earth.

17 Who cannot see, that if God framed the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power? And that if the principle of power, it must be so in man as well as in the Deity? This is the testimony of all the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have been endeavoring to teach to man.

Amazing, faith is not only the principle of action but also of power, both in man and God. Last piece of the faith puzzle to consider today.

Moroni 7:33
If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. 

So to bring this all together, when we act for ourselves in the pursuit of that which we desire, action is created and taken, and if it is expedient to God, He will give unto us power to accomplish that thing, regardless of what it is. 

Now, how do we use our faith to change our behavior? Joseph Smith continues, “When a man works by faith he works by mental exertion instead of physical force. It is by words, instead of exerting his physical powers, with which every being works when he works by faith.” (Lectures on Faith, pp. 9–10, 61.) To work, by faith, we use our mind and words. Is not this where the battle is fought, in our own minds? We have forces of evil constantly trying to entice us down the wrong path, and if we yeild, we are being acted upon and therefore faith is not active and without faith, the principle of action and power to do that which is expedient to God is gone. Just like going to the gym, muscles not used retrogress in their growth, verses muscles that are used, grow. Our mental/faith muscles are no different; we must use them and use them often. 

Abraham didn't sacrifice Issac in a moment. The mount was a 3 days journey away, let alone the undisclosed time that he had known what he was commanded to do, and needless to say, he had ample time to talk himself out of it many times, but as history shows he stayed true to God. He had learned to use his faith/thoughts to surrender his will over to that of the Lord and then act with and through the power of God. Truly, he overcame this world with his faith and was sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise (D&C 76:53). We too can and must do the same. 

We must be vigilant with our thoughts, and when anything enters our mind that does not serve us, we must use our faith to erase and delete it and then replace it. Not just the thought itself but the feelings that accompany the thought. Fear, for example, is never just a thought by itself, it always brings it's big brother emotion with it. So, erase and delete the thought and the emotion and visualize them both leaving your mind and body, and then replace it with your faith, your love of God, faith in the atonement to wash us clean from the stain of sin, and most importantly, put emotion and feeling into that serving and righteous thought. Let the power of faith work within your own mind and body. The stronger the faith, the stronger the emotions and feelings of trust and love in and for God.

This is the process that Abraham used to cast out all fear and doubt and what was left, was pure faith in God and obedience to His commands. It is true that we will all have to pass through an Abrahamic test one day, but let us practice with the day to day trials with perfect faith as the principle of action and power to accomplish all that is expedient to God. This is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Deny the Spirit -Deny the Blessings

If you choose to deny the spirit by not asking, you choose to deny the blessings that The Lord would otherwise have in store for you.
Boyd K Packer

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

We must be at the forefront of changing hearts and minds on theimportance of children

Quentin L. Cook posted on Facebook today, "we must be at the forefront of changing hearts and minds on the importance of children."

I couldn't agree more. Before I share his post, let me just add my two cents real quick. 

The Lord teaches us, "For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation." D&C 82:3

As Later-Day Saints we have been given the fullness of the Gospel of Christ and therefore we MUST do our duty to God and protect His innocent children, born and unborn. Let us never grow complacent or tolerant with the ways and views of the world. I love how Cook pleads for us to be "at the forefront of changing hearts and minds on the importance of children."

Here is his full post:

I had a sobering experience in Jerusalem last October. We visited the Children’s Memorial Museum, which is part of the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. Elder Holland and I, together with two American Jewish leaders, laid a remembrance wreath. As you move through the Children’s Memorial, the first names of the children and their age at death are announced one after another with a background of music that portrays this terrible atrocity. It is believed that over one million Jewish children were killed during the Holocaust.

As I experienced the museum, I was overcome with emotion and completely devastated. Standing outside to regain my composure, I reflected on the horror of the experience and suddenly realized that in the United States alone there are as many abortions every two years as the number of Jewish children killed in the Holocaust during the Second World War.

Now, as a lawyer, I am cognizant that the motives and intent are entirely different. Further, this is a problem that will probably not be solved by personal condemnation or judgmental accusations. With respect to the number and spacing of children, the health of the mother must be considered, and the decision should be made prayerfully by husbands and wives. Such decisions should never be judged by outsiders. Some faithful individuals are not able to have children or have the opportunity to marry. They will receive every blessing in heaven.

Nevertheless, Lucifer has supported abortion and convinced many people in a horrific paradigm shift that children represent lost opportunity and misery, instead of joy and happiness. Bringing children into the world is a sacred part of our Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness.

We are so numbed and intimidated by the immensity of the practice of abortion that many of us have pushed it to the back of our minds and try to keep it out of our consciousness. Clearly the adversary is attacking the value of children on many levels. We must be at the forefront of changing hearts and minds on the importance of children.



Do Not Drift off Course Even a Few Degrees

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a great talk, a few years back, called, "A Matter of a Few Degrees." I really liked this talk. 

He told the story of the 1979 – Antarctic sight-seeing flight that crashed into Mt Erebus, killing all 257 passengers on board. This tragedy was caused because someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees.

What is so interesting to me is how a mere two degrees could be the difference between life and death. On my car, the alignment is pretty bad, and if I don't keep one hand on or very close to the steering wheel, it could be dangerous if not deadly. How similar is our spiritual lives. If we are off by even a few degrees it too could be the difference between life and death. 

"Please do not drift off course, not even a few degrees. Hearken unto the Lord your God, and He will do for you what He promised to do for Saul: He will give you a new heart, make of you a new man, and always be with you."


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reading Where did the Brother of Jared Get the Idea of Shining Stones?in Voice Dream

This is a very interesting article. It introduces some great points about the shining stones. Here are just a few paragraphs to perk your interest. 


Hugh Nibley asked, “But who gave the brother of Jared the idea about stones in the first place? It was not the Lord, who left him entirely on his own; and yet the man went right to work as if he knew exactly what he was doing. Who put him on to it?”[3]

While stones that emit light may seem like an absurdity to some modern readers, legends of their existence and importance were widely spread throughout the ancient world.[4] Drawing upon a substantial body of ancient texts, John A. Tvedtnes has connected the shining stones in Ether to such items as the Urim and Thummim, glowing idols, teraphim, sanctuary stones, and medieval glowing stones.[5] Tvedtnes concluded, “The account of the stones used to provide light in the Jaredite barges fits rather well into a larger corpus of ancient and medieval literature.”[6]

Of particular relevance is the way that shining stones were directly linked to Noah’s ark. In the Bablyonian Talmud, for example, one Jewish commentator reported that the Lord instructed Noah to “Set therein precious stones and jewels, so that they may give thee light, bright as the noon.”[7] Another ancient Jewish rabbi explained, “During the whole twelve months that Noah was in the Ark he did not require the light of the sun by day or the light of the moon by night, but he had a polished gem which he hung up.”[8]


Monday, February 20, 2017

Youth Insights has been open for 1 Week

After 1 week, Youth Insights has 19 posts which is impressive. It got me thinking about the numbers. I was talking to Ashlyn and we did the math, if she simply found or created 1 quote/picture quote a day and two on Sundays, when she went on her mission she would have made 3,016 quotes , but my math was slightly off, it would actually be 3,336. Can you image going on your mission with 3,336 quotes floating around in your mind, it would be amazing. So, I did the math for Alexa and Lacie and the numbers were amazing as well. 

I think about how much I have grown spiritually since I started this blog and post everyday, I can only image how this could bless them. On Saturday, I took the kids to McDonald's to play so that my wife could prepare her talk that she gave yesterday. Ashlyn went to the bathroom and when she came back she told me of this picture she saw on the way to the bathroom, of a cliff and how she was thinking how that would make a really great picture quote. That made me so proud. That is a small glimpse into how posting 1 quote or scripture a day will bless their lives. 

I invite all who would like to join the Crusade on this spiritual journey of growth to post 1 quote or scripture a day and 2 on Sundays and just watch your spirituality grow and take flight.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

The song of the righteous is a prayer unto Me

This is my weeks picture quote for my class that I teach. We learned about the hymn book and how to use them more effectively in our worship. It was a fun class. 

This picture was from the Gilbert, AZ Temple Cultural Celebration. We were ushers for this amazing event and when I thought about the song of the righteous being a prayer, that came to mind. Those kids were so dedicated to sing and dance in that pouring rain. That will forever be such an amazing memory that my wife and I shared with my oldest daughter, Lacie.

Doctrine and Covenants 25:12
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. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/25?lang=eng


My 7 year old daughter's first picture quote

Cessilee, my 7 year old daughter wanted to get into the fun of making picture quotes. I made this with her help and she really likes it.

1 Nephi 3:7
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/3?lang=eng

Saturday, February 18, 2017

There is a place prepared for you

Happy Birthday Bralyn!! 

I made these pictures earlier today, but my mind kept coming back to them all day. I felt to write some of my thoughts here on this post. 

Bralyn is my nephew who has joined my sweet little Lexi on the other side. He was 4 years old at the time, and although his sudden passing was and is hard, the "the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ" (Mosiah 16:8) 

What does that really mean, "swallowed up in Christ?" To understand this, we must look at faith, hope, charity found in Moroni 7.

3 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.

This is a very special audience, they "have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord." This is powerful hope. They know because they have obtained such hope, but he continues, "from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven. Such amazing hope. As we will soon learn, that this hope only comes to or is possessed by those who have like faith because these two grow and diminish in proportion to each other, in equal amounts.

Moroni 7:33
If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. 

So, faith = power, but what kind of power, "to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me." Very important key is taught here, whatever power the Father wants us to have, will be given to those with faith. If it was expedient we could part the Red Sea, be caught up into a high mountain, or remain on earth without a loved one and without the sting and hurt of their absence. I will simply refer to this definition of power as Power with a capital 'P' going forward.

King Benjamin's people understood the Power given by the Father because of their faith.

Mosiah 5:3-4
3 And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite goodness of God, and the manifestations of his Spirit, have great views of that which is to come; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things.
4 And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceedingly great joy. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/5?lang=eng

With the understanding that faith = Power, we can begin to understand how to lay hold upon or obtain great hope. 

40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?
41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.
42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.

This is so simple and yet deep at the same time. We hope that Christ atoned for our sins, overcame death through the resurrection, and that eternal life will be ours because of and according to the promise, and we know that God can not lie. With our faith which is Power, we know that if these things are expedient for us, them we shall have them, if we comply with the conditions of the promise. But, important to note, that we now have no shadow of doubt, because of our faith which = Power that God will fulfill our hope. 

With such faith and unshaken hope, by and through our faith, we can lay hold upon charity. 

43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.
44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.

Remember Peter when he said, Thou art the Christ...

Matthew 16:15-17
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/16?lang=eng

The only way that Peter knew this, is because the Father revealed it unto him. Thus, it is for us. In order for us to "confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ," were must have had this revealed unto us by the Father. Only the meek and lowly in heart will qualify for us a revelation once they have faith that = Power and sufficient hope. Then and only then will we obtain charity. 

48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Once endowed with charity, we "become the sons of God." There is something significant with this status, we would be given power (because of our faith, hope, and charity) to become like Christ in very word and deed, and become purified as He is pure. 

Now, to bring this full circle to my original question, what does that really mean, "swallowed up in Christ?"

It all starts with faith and hope, faith that = Power that God will exalt us through the process outlined above. But, there is no shadow of doubt that He can and will do this. With such faith and hope, death has no sting, because it has no victory and our hope fulfilled by our faith which equals Power, we would endure all things like Job, because we will stand victorious. 

I hope this post was clear enough. But ultimately let us build up our faith to KNOW that God will give us power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in Him. We will overcome this world by our faith because of the Power He will give us. With this faith, let us elevate our hope, and seek after charity and the revelation the Jesus is the Christ, that we can become His sons and be like unto Him. Then He will say unto us as he has already said unto Bralyn:

Enos 1:27
Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/enos/1?lang=eng

I say these things in the name of my Savior, even Jesus Christ, Amen.


“The Great Imitator” - James E. Faust

I just read this talk and it is really good. We need to combat Evil in our lives with our faith in Jesus Christ and listen and obey the promptings of the Holy Ghost. 

Here are my highlights of the talk. Enjoy!
  • I consider him to be the great imitator.
  • No good can come from getting close to evil. Like playing with fire, it is too easy to get burned:
  • Brigham Young said that it is important to “study … evil, and its consequences” (Discourses of Brigham Young, comp. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941, pp. 256–57)
  • Who has not heard and felt the enticings of the devil? His voice often sounds so reasonable and his message so easy to justify. It is an enticing, intriguing voice with dulcet tones. It is neither hard nor discordant.
  • Shakespeare wrote, “The prince of darkness is a gentleman” (King Lear, act 3, sc. 4, line 143), and “the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose” (The Merchant of Venice, act 1, sc. 3, line 95)
  • Lucifer has marvelous powers of deception
  • We all have an inner braking system that will stop us before we follow Satan too far down the wrong road. It is the still, small voice which is within us. But once we have succumbed, the braking system begins to leak brake fluid and our stopping mechanism becomes weak and ineffective.
  • “And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.“And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance” (2 Ne. 28:21–22).
  • The First Presidency described Satan: “He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. There is no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break, no life he would not take, no soul he would not destroy. He comes as a thief in the night; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 6:179).
  • The devil is not smart because he is the devil; he is smart because he is old.
  • Free agency, given us through the plan of our Father, is the great alternative to Satan’s plan of force. With this sublime gift, we can grow, improve, progress, and seek perfection. Without agency, none of us could grow and develop by learning from our mistakes and errors and those of others.
  • Satan does, however, perform an important negative function. In the book of 2 Nephi we are told, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Ne. 2:11). However, Peter warns, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
  • Your criticism may be worse than the conduct you are trying to correct.”
  • A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. … You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down” (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1960, p. 124).
  • The Prophet Joseph Smith related from his own experience, “The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes” (in Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1967, p. 132).
  • The Apostle James counseled: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7)
  • The power to resist Satan may be stronger than we realize. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 181).
  • There is, however, an ample shield against the power of Lucifer and his hosts. This protection lies in the spirit of discernment through the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift comes undeviatingly by personal revelation to those who strive to obey the commandments of the Lord and to follow the counsel of the living prophets.
  • This personal revelation will surely come to all whose eyes are single to the glory of God, for it is promised that their bodies will be “filled with light, and there shall be no darkness” in them (D&C 88:67).
  • Original: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1987/10/the-great-imitator?lang=eng


Friday, February 17, 2017

Refugees: Our Response Defines Us

"Being a refugee may be a defining moment in the lives of those who are refugees, but being a refugee does not define them. Like countless thousands before them, this will be a period—we hope a short period—in their lives. Some of them will go on to be Nobel laureates, public servants, physicians, scientists, musicians, artists, religious leaders, and contributors in other fields. Indeed, many of them were these things before they lost everything. This moment does not define them, but our response will help define us."

Refuge from the Storm
By Elder Patrick Kearon


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Learn to Dance in the Rain

My daughter, Alexa's favorite quote is: Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain. The above picture quote is the first one that I made with my girls. It turned out so nice that I made a bigger version of it as well.

This is what she said about this quote, "I just love this quote! It is explaining how life is not just waiting for our trials to close over. Its about learning how to get through hard times and pushing through to the end." http://youthinsights.blogspot.com/2017/02/alexa-dancing-on-rain.html

As I pondered this quote, the song, Count Your Blessings, came to mind. When we count our blessings and see the good in every situation, we begin to enjoy life or as the quote says, dance in the rain.

1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
Count your many blessings; money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

4. So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done.

I looked up the scriptures that inspired the song, and read this:

Doctrine and Covenants 78:17-19
17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;
18 And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.
19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/78?lang=eng

Wow, if we learn to receive all things with thankfulness, we shall be made glorious. I can't think of anything I would rather have, so let's get working on being more thankful and ultimately, "dancing in the rain."


Don't forget to Ponderize

Moroni 7:33
33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Unveiling the New and Improved Spiritual Crusade

Today is an exciting day!! I have worked hard at bringing together all my different blogs to give the look and feel of one inclusive website that flows. I feel that I have accomplished this fairly well. You will now notice a menu or navigation bar below the header image. 

This will allow you to go to each page/blog of my new Spiritual Crusade blog. Check out each of the pages and I hope you enjoy the new look and feel.

A few exciting things to announce. 

Picture Quotes

I have added a page on the menu bar called "Picture Quotes," that will pull up all the picture quotes that I have made. It is not a dedicated page, but it takes you to my quotes page and applies a label filter for "Picture Quotes." I think this is a nice new feature.

Youth Insights

I am super excited to announce my all new Youth Insights section. 

Again, you can find this on the top menu bar. I read the news article about President Eyring's son becoming the new President of BYU and I commented to my wife, how that shows great parenting. It got me thinking how I could involve my children more. Most of my posts are possibly on a deeper level and harder for them to understand. Originally, I thought about weekly just writing a post directed at them, but my wife didn't think they would be all that excited for that. Then the thought came to me, to create a whole section of my blog dedicated to the youth. When I told my girls about this, they got super excited. They have been having fun making their own picture quotes in anticipation for this new section.

It is now live, and open to old and young in an effort to center the minds of our youth on and around Christ. Get your children excited about finding/making picture quotes and then posting them on this new youth section, and of course commenting on the ones posted by others. I hope this can be more of a fun section of the blog.


Lastly, I would like to announce the new Ponderize section.

If you are like me and have fallen off the ponderizing bandwagon, it's time to jump back on. I have opened my Ponderize section, found at the top on the menu bar.

Remember to come back each week for the new scripture to Ponderize.

Now just have fun and enjoy the blog

Well, I think that about wraps up the new changes and announcements. Above all enjoy the new look and feel of the blog, and as always share my blog with your friends and family and go over and follow and like us on Facebook. https://m.facebook.com/spiritualcrusade/


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I Will Heal Them

Are we not all in need of healing? Let us accept the invitation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and come unto Him, that He can heal us.

3 Nephi 17:7
Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/17?lang=eng


Monday, February 13, 2017

5:30 am Spiritual Study with Daughter

I woke up to music blaring in my ear. Standing next to me holding a device to my ear was my daughter, Ashlyn. Grumpily, I told her I will wake up when my alarm goes off, thinking it was just her alarm even though she doesn't have a device, and she said, that is your alarm. She is an early riser and she told me that she would wake up at 5, and she did. We had planned on waking up together at 5:30 am today and continue working on picture quotes. 

I shared with my girls that I was going to add a page to my blog for the youth. I am considering calling it, "Youth Power." Not sure the exact process yet, but my thought is that the youth will email quotes or thoughts to spiritualcrusade@gmail.com and then I would publish them on my blog. My girls got really excited about this idea, and last night we spent several hours creating their first picture quotes. It was really fun. 

The first one is Ashlyn's first quote and then the second one is the one we made this morning. 

Ashlyn's First Quote: If ye lack wisdom, ask of God

James 1:5-6
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/james/1?lang=eng

Ashlyn: Families are Forever

Family Can Be the Source of Our Greatest Joy

"An understanding of God's great plan of happiness . . . fortifies
our faith in the future. His plan provides answers to ageless questions:
Are all our sympathies and love for each other only temporary--to
be lost in death? No! Can family life endure beyond this period of mortal
probation? Yes! God has revealed the eternal nature of celestial marriage
and the family as the source of our greatest joy.

"Brethren and
sisters, material possessions and honors of the world do not endure. But
your union as wife, husband, and family can. The only duration of family
life that satisfies the loftiest longings of the human soul is forever. No
sacrifice is too great to have the blessings of an eternal marriage. To
qualify, one needs only to deny oneself of ungodliness and honor the
ordinances of the temple. By making and keeping sacred temple covenants, we
evidence our love for God, for our companion, and our real regard for our
posterity--even those yet unborn. Our family is the focus of our
greatest work and joy in this life; so will it be throughout all eternity,
when we can 'inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, . . . powers,
dominions, . . . exaltation and glory' (D&C
132:19)." ( Russell M. Nelson, "Set in Order Thy House," Ensign, Nov. 2001, 71) http://ldsquotes.blogspot.com/2006/10/gems-family-family-can-be-source-of-our.html

Alexa wants to write something to go along with her first quote, so you will have to wait to see her first one, but she also woke up early and made one on her Kindle Fire on her own. Here it is:

Alexa: Be Strong, the Lord Will Not Fail Thee 

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/deut/31?lang=eng


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Instructed more perfectly

This is my picture quote for my class for the week. This is a mobile phone size. 

Doctrine and Covenants 88:77-80
77 And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.
78 Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
79 Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms--
80 That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/88?lang=eng


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Perfect knowledge of Christ, a ressurection, and the world to come.

6 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.

Jacob uses “we” signifying that there are many who because of their righteousness have many revelations.

 8 …And no man knoweth of his ways  save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.

We are commanded to know Him and we can only do that through revelation.

 12  And now, beloved, marvel not that I tell you these things; for why not speak of the atonement of Christ, and attain to a perfect knowledge of him, as to attain to the knowledge of a resurrection and the world to come?

Jacob is using very simple language for those that hear may hear. It is our right, all men, not just the prophets, to attain to a “perfect knowledge of Him,” and in the same breath a knowledge of a resurrection and the world to come. Joseph Smith says that a calling and election made sure is a knowledge from God through revelation that you are saved and have a place with Him, is not this a knowledge of a resurrection? If we can only gain a knowledge of Him through revelation then the only way we are to obtain a knowledge of a resurrection, is by revelation. And if we have a knowledge of a resurrection, then, like the Brother of Jared we cannot be contained within the vail and we are to attain a knowledge of the world to come.

 13  Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls…

From these scriptures, we begin to be taught that it is our duty to struggle more in the spirit until we attain a knowledge of these great things. I think that this is poetic, once we gain a perfect knowledge of Christ and his atonement and resurrection, we are to continue until we gain ourselves a resurrection, and from there naturally and because we have grown out of our shell of mortaily, are taught of the world to come and learn great wisdom.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Hyrum Smith: To stand at the head of this dispensation with his brotherJoseph

The question is, does a most magnificent tree need to be recognized by others to be magnificent, or does it's magnificence transcend it's need to be recognized? 

Hyrum Smith might have been in the shadows most of the time, while Joseph got the recognition and spot light, but Hyrum was not searching for worldly recognition, he was searching to be seen by God. As you will soon see, God did see him and gave him the greatest recognition that one could receive in time or in eternity. 

Before we talk about Joseph and Hyrum, let me show unto you a type or second witness. The Lord has said, "in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established" (Matthew 18:16). This type is found in the Book of Mormon in the book of Helaman. In chapter 3, we are introduced to one of Helaman's sons by the name of Nephi and he is appointed to fill the judgment seat. Two chapters later he steps down as Chief Judge "to preach the word of God all the remainder of his days" (verse 5). In this same verse we are introduced to Nephi's brother, Lehi, who likewise "took it upon him to preach the word of God... all the remainder of his days." In the things of the Spirit or their mission they were not separated. Their success was miraculous and worthy off our time to go back and read in more detail. Let's get a glimpse into how great this Nephi was:

Helaman 10:4-5
4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.
5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/hel/10?lang=eng

Pretty amazing, the Lord gave Nephi the sealing power! Ok, now we come to the scripture of most importance, which shows us how righteous Lehi is.

Helaman 11:19
And behold, Lehi, his brother, was not a whit behind him as to things pertaining to righteousness. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/hel/11?lang=eng

So, what does that mean, well if we take the scriptures at face value, this was in chapter 11 whereas the sealing power was given to Nephi in chapter 10, which would suggest that Lehi too received the sealing power and was on equal footing with Nephi, even though Nephi got all the recognition. Interesting!

So, there you have it, a type or witness of Joseph and Hyrum. 

“The Prophet Joseph Smith conferred upon Hyrum Smith all the keys, authority and gifts of the priesthood which he, the Prophet, held, and which were formerly held by Oliver Cowdery. The Lord also revealed to Hyrum Smith all that was necessary to make him completely and to the full degree, a witness with his brother Joseph, as a prophet, seer, revelator and president of the Church, and to stand through all time and eternity at the head of this dispensation with his brother Joseph, a witness for Jesus Christ . . . Thus, we see, Hyrum Smith became a president of the Church with Joseph Smith”
Joseph Fielding Smith (Doctrines of Salvation,1:218–19)

That sounds very much like, Hyrum, "his brother, was not a whit behind him as to things pertaining to righteousness."

“The sealing of the testimony through the shedding of blood would not have been complete in the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith alone; it required the death of Hyrum Smith who jointly held the keys of this dispensation.”
Joseph Fielding Smith (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:218–19)
see also D&C 136:39; Hebrews 9:16–17).

Let me just leave my testimony to the fact that the Spirit has born witness to me as to the magnificence of this great man. I know that he was true to Joseph and gave Joseph the support that he needed to fulfill his mission; thus Hyrum fulfilled his mission. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Read this great article for some more neat facts about Hyrum. 

5 Things You Did Not Know About Hyrum Smith The Patriarch. - MyLifeByGogoGoff http://mylifebygogogoff.com/2017/02/5-things-you-did-not-know-about-hyrum-smith-the-patriarch.html


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Whole legion of devils has nothing to do but look after the ‘Mormons’

On November 1, 1857, Elder George A. Smith delivered a memorable discourse, which included this old Chinese fable:
“A man travelling through the country came to a large city, very rich and splendid; he looked at it and said to his guide, ‘This must be a very righteous people, for I can only see but one little devil in this great city.’
“The guide replied, ‘You do not understand, sir. This city is so perfectly given up to wickedness … that it requires but one devil to keep them all in subjection.’
“Travelling on a little farther, he came to a rugged path and saw an old man trying to get up the hill side, surrounded by seven great, big, coarse-looking devils.
“‘Why,’ says the traveller, ‘this must be a tremendously wicked old man! See how many devils there are around him!’
“‘This,’ replied the guide, ‘is the only righteous man in the country; and there are seven of the biggest devils trying to turn him out of his path, and they all cannot do it.’” (Journal of Discourses, 5:363–64.)

After relating the fable, Elder Smith added that “the devil has the world so perfectly at his disposal that it requires few devils to keep it in subjection” and that “the whole legion of devils has nothing to do but look after the ‘Mormons’ and stir up the hearts of the children of men to destroy them--to put them out of existence.” (Journal of Discourses, 5:364.)

Source: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1981/10/opposition-to-the-work-of-god?lang=eng


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Learning by Faith

Today, I started something new for my Sunday School class that I teach. I will create a picture quote from the lesson and text it out to them each week. I think it is a fun idea and they seemed to be excited about it too. They will all be in iPhone format/size, so that they can save them as wallpaper or lock screen picture if they want.  

This week we talked about using our agency to learn the Gospel. David A. Bednar gave a talk in 2006 titled, Seek Learning by Faith. It is such an amazing talk and one that everyone should go back and read it again. https://www.lds.org/liahona/2007/09/seek-learning-by-faith?lang=eng

Here are just a few highlights from the talk:

When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth [the message] unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1).

Learning by faith opens the pathway into the heart.

The Apostle Paul defined faith as “the substance of things hoped for [and] the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Alma declared that faith is not a perfect knowledge; rather, if we have faith, we “hope for things which are not seen [but] are true” (Alma 32:21). Additionally, we learn in the Lectures on Faith that faith is “the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness” and that it is also “the principle of action in all intelligent beings.”

Assurance, action, and evidence influence each other in an ongoing process. This helix is like a coil, and as it spirals upward it expands and widens. These three elements of faith—assurance, action, and evidence—are not separate and discrete; rather, they are interrelated and continuous and cycle upward. And the faith that fuels this ongoing process develops, evolves, and changes. As we again turn and face forward toward an uncertain future, assurance leads to action and produces evidence, which further increases assurance. Our confidence waxes stronger, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.

In the grand division of all of God’s creations, there are things to act and things to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:13–14). As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have been blessed with the gift of agency—the capacity and power of independent action. Endowed with agency, we are agents, and we primarily are to act and not only to be acted upon—especially as we seek to obtain and apply spiritual knowledge.

Recall how Nephi desired to know about the things his father, Lehi, had seen in the vision of the tree of life. Interestingly, the Spirit of the Lord begins the tutorial with Nephi by asking the following question: “Behold, what desirest thou?” (1 Nephi 11:2). Clearly the Spirit knew what Nephi desired. So why ask the question? The Holy Ghost was helping Nephi to act in the learning process and not simply be acted upon. Notice in 1 Nephi 11–14 how the Spirit both asked questions and encouraged Nephi to “look” as active elements in the learning process.

From these examples we recognize that as learners, you and I are to act and be doers of the word and not simply hearers who are only acted upon. 

A learner exercising agency by acting in accordance with correct principles opens his or her heart to the Holy Ghost and invites His teaching, testifying power, and confirming witness. Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception. It is in the sincerity and consistency of our faith-inspired action that we indicate to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, our willingness to learn and receive instruction from the Holy Ghost. Thus, learning by faith involves the exercise of moral agency to act upon the assurance of things hoped for and invites the evidence of things not seen from the only true teacher, the Spirit of the Lord.

The learning I am describing reaches far beyond mere cognitive comprehension and the retaining and recalling of information. The type of learning to which I am referring causes us to put off the natural man (see Mosiah 3:19), to change our hearts (see Mosiah 5:2), to be converted unto the Lord, and to never fall away (see Alma 23:6). Learning by faith requires both “the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:34). Learning by faith is the result of the Holy Ghost carrying the power of the word of God both unto and into the heart. Learning by faith cannot be transferred from an instructor to a student through a lecture, a demonstration, or an experiential exercise; rather, a student must exercise faith and act in order to obtain the knowledge for himself or herself.

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right … and which I should join” (Joseph Smith—History 1:10, 18).

Notice that Joseph’s questions focused not just on what he needed to know but also on what he needed to do. And his very first question centered on action and what was to be done! His prayer was not simply which church is right. His question was which church should he join. Joseph went to the grove to learn by faith. He was determined to act.

In response to a request by the Twelve Apostles for instruction, Joseph taught, “The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.”

the Prophet Joseph explained that “reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God.”