Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lying in a manger

From Luke chapter 2,

"10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you agood tidings of great bjoy, which shall be to all people.
 11 For unto you is aborn this day in the city of David a bSaviour, which is Christ the cLord.
 12 And this shall be a asign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 14 aGlory to God in the highest, and on earth bpeace, good will toward men."

Friday, December 23, 2011


For this post, I am going to take you back to a lesson I had in church this year.  For those of you in the LDS Church, it was from an Elder's Quorum lesson that we had.  The person teaching was discussing Mosiah chapter 4 for our lesson.  The lesson became very vocal with a lot of participation when we began talking about the people who panhandle downtown and especially at Temple Square.  Of course, this can apply to anywhere.  Before this lesson, I would always walk on by tell them no, even if I had money on me.  Now, I know this can and will cause differing feelings amongst many, but I am going to share my experience on how I received this lesson and have applied it.  I will tell you that I have changed what I now do because of it.  The words from these passages of scripture have had a great impact on my life and how I look at these beggars.  I now give whenever I can, whether it is a $1, $5 or $10.  I have found that it is not my position to determine if they are in need or not, I feel that I am blessed for giving and it is up to them on how they use the money as they will be held accountable for their own actions.  Please read the following from Mosiah chapter 4 and see if it will not change the way you look at this issue.  Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the photo I took the other night at Temple Square.  From Mosiah chapter 4, King Benjamin preaches and it has made me take notice,

14 And ye will not suffer your achildren that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye bsuffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and cquarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the devil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
15 But ye will ateach them to bwalk in the ways of truth and csoberness; ye will teach them to dlove one another, and to serve one another.
16 And also, ye yourselves will asuccor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the bbeggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt asay: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all abeggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a aremission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his bSpirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with cjoy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to aimpart of the substance that ye have one to another.
22 And if ye ajudge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your bcondemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life cbelongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are arich as pertaining to the things of this world.
24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I agive not because I bhave not, but if I had I would cgive.
25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are acondemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.
26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may awalk guiltless before God—I would that ye should bimpart of your substance to the cpoor, every man according to that which he hath, such as dfeeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.
27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
28 And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you aborroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.
29 And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.
30 But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not awatch yourselves, and your bthoughts, and your cwords, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and dcontinue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Spirit of Christ

Here is a great quote from President Thomas S Monson.  It comes from the December 1986 New Era magazine.  He said,

"If we change but one word in our Christmas question, the outcome is vastly different. “What did you give for Christmas?” prompts stimulating thought, causes tender feelings to well up and memory’s fires to glow ever brighter.
Someone has appropriately said, “We make a living by what we get, but we build a life by what we give.”
Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than things. To catch the real meaning of the spirit of Christmas, we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the spirit of Christ."

This is the photo I took of the Salt Lake Temple a couple of nights ago while viewing the lights with my family.  I hope you enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What is it that counts here?

This quote is a little long but well worth the read.  It is a quote from President Thomas S Monson in the 2011 Christmas devotional when he in turn quoted from the book The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke.  This book is a great book that will help to bring the Christmas spirit into your life.  Here is the quote and a photo I took last night while at Temple Square.

"One evening John sat in his library in a comfortable chair contemplating his wealth. Before him were spread descriptions and pictures of the Weightman wing of the hospital and the Weightman Chair of Political Jurisprudence, as well as an account of the opening of the Weightman Grammar School. John Weightman felt satisfied. He had built a large fortune, and when he gave, he wanted to be recognized. His philosophy toward giving could be summed up in his own statement: “No pennies in beggars’ hats! … Try to put your gifts where they can be identified.”
He picked up the family Bible which lay on the table, turned to a passage, and read to himself the words:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19–20).
The book seemed to float away from him. He leaned forward upon the table, his head resting on his folded hands. He slipped into a deep sleep.
As he dreamed, John Weightman was transported to the heavenly city. A guide met him and others whom he had known in life and advised that he would conduct them to their heavenly homes.
A devoted husband of an invalid wife was shown a lovely mansion, as was a mother, early widowed, who reared an outstanding family. A paralyzed young woman who had lain for 30 years upon her bed—“helpless but not hopeless”—received a lovely mansion. She had succeeded “by a miracle of courage in her single aim, never to complain, but always to impart a bit of her joy and peace to everyone who came near her.”
Pausing before a beautiful mansion, the guide said, “This is [the home] for you, [Dr. McLean.] Go in; there is no more [sickness] here, no more death, nor sorrow, nor [pain]; for your old enemies are all conquered. But all the good that you have done for others, all the help that you have given, all the comfort that you have brought, all the strength and love that you bestowed upon the suffering, are here; for we have built them all into this mansion for you.”
One after another the travelers were led to their own mansions and went in gladly; and from within, through the open doorways, came sweet voices of welcome.
By this time, John Weightman was impatient to see what mansion awaited him. As he and the guide walked on, the homes became smaller. At last they reached an open field, bare and lonely looking. In the center of the field was a tiny hut. Said the guide, “This is your mansion, John Weightman.”
Shocked, John Weightman told the guide that he must have confused him with some other John Weightman. With resentment in his voice, he cried, “Is this a suitable mansion for one so well known and devoted? Why is it so pitifully small and mean? Why have you not built it large and fair, like the others?”
Replied the guide, “That is all the material you sent us.”
John Weightman was mortified. “Have you not heard that I have built a school-house; the wing of a hospital; … three … churches.”
“Wait,” the guide cautioned. “… They were not ill done. But they were all marked and used as foundations for the name and mansion of John Weightman in the world. … Verily, you have had your reward for them. Would you be paid twice?”
A sadder but wiser John Weightman posed a sincere question: “What is it that counts here?”
Came the reply: “Only that which is truly given. … Only that good which is done for the love of doing it. Only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thought. Only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the reward. Only those gifts in which the giver forgets himself.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

You Matter

A quote from President Uchtdorf during the October 2011 General Conference,

"My dear brothers and sisters, it may be true that man is nothing in comparison to the greatness of the universe. At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him!"

This photo I took a couple of years ago from the Joseph Smith Memorial Building around Christmas time.  A fresh light snow was dusting the spires of the temple.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Love their Mother

As a father of 4 beautiful children, I found this quote from Elaine Dalton's talk in the October 2011 General Conference that applies to all parents.  I really like this quote from her because we as parents always want what is best for our children and as a father it has been so clearly laid out to us.  The best thing we can do for our kids is not get them the latest fashions or video games.  The greatest thing we can do for them above all else is love their mother.  Here is her quote and a photo I took of the St George Temple.

"Love her mother so much that your marriage is celestial. A temple marriage for time and all eternity is worthy of your greatest efforts and highest priority. It was only after Nephi had completed the temple in the wilderness that he stated, “And … we lived after the manner of happiness.”2 The “manner of happiness” is found in the temple. It is covenant keeping. Don’t let any influence come into your life or your home that would cause you to compromise your covenants or your commitment to your wife and family."

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winds of Change

     Having just returned from St George, my family and I were able to take a quick trip to Zion National Park for me to be able to take some pictures and to do some hiking.  You cannot help but recognize the hand of God wherever you go there.  The landscape is truly one of His masterpieces and how blessed I am to be able to share that with my family and to be able to capture it with my camera.  I am simply in awe at how God has carved the landscape into something so amazing and beautiful.  It quite literally will take your breath away.
     I love this quote by President Thomas S Monson in the October 2011 general conference when he said,

"As the winds of change swirl around us and the moral fiber of society continues to disintegrate before our very eyes, may we remember the Lord’s precious promise to those who trust in Him: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”9