Sunday, May 22, 2011


Having grown up as a member of a church which relies mainly on lay membership leadership, I have heard many interesting remarks about the Sabbath Day being a day of REST. Sometimes the remarks were said with the intent to be funny, sometimes spoken sarcastically, sometimes longingly sighed and sometimes even uttered with a degree of disbelief.

There were always those who would give counter statements such as: a change is as good as a rest, or I obey this command by always taking a nap during the afternoon of the Sabbath, or there is no rest for the wicked, none of which gave me an understanding of what was meant by this day being a day of REST.

After 3744 designated days of rest I thought it might be about time to come to a better understanding about this thing the Lord called REST and thereby coming to know what He really expected of me on this set apart day.

Along with the usual definition which comes immediately to mind about REST, Webster’s exhaustive also wants us to consider such ideas as: freeing oneself from that which wearies them, to become founded, to remain confident, fixed or supported, to become vested, to be settled in your views, greeting another as in ‘God give you rest,’ coming under the providence of another as in ‘rest with,’ amount still due, along with many other alternatives to the usual thought of someone becoming motionless.

As I looked at the uses of the word ‘REST’ found in the dictionary, most of the alternate uses implied or demonstrated either mental or physical activity which indicated the possibility of effort or labor on one’s part.

Leaving man’s definitions and going to the scriptures I found that inactivity was one of the least intended meanings of the word REST, but moreover it involved some kind of active interaction between man and his Maker.

I found that more often the understanding of the word REST in scriptural references could better be understood if another word was substituted which helped to enlighten us to what the writer was trying to convey. I will try to demonstrate what I am trying to say with the following scriptures:

Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest (comfort - happiness); yea, he shall give DELIGHT unto thy soul.

Isaiah 14:3 And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest (freed from) from thy SORROW, and from thy FEAR, and from the HARD BONDAGE wherein thou wast made to serve.

Deuteronomy 25:19 Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest (victory - protection - blessing) FROM all thine ENEMIES round about, in the land which the Lord thy God GIVETH thee for an INHERITANCE to possess it…

Psalms 38:3 There is no SOUNDNESS (rest) in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest (peace - comfort) in my bones because of my sin.

Alma 12:34 Therefore, whosoever REPENTETH, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on MERCY through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a REMISSION of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest. (forgiveness - salvation - mercy)

Alma 13:16 16 Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might LOOK FORWARD on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order, and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest (understanding – knowledge - faith) of the Lord.

3 Nephi 27:19 And no unclean thing can enter into HIS KINGDOM; therefore nothing entereth into his rest (place where God dwells) save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their

2 Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are TROUBLED (rejoice - be no longer troubled) with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.

1 Chronicles 23:25 For David said, The God of Israel hath given (promise - blessing) unto his people, that they may DWELL IN JERUSALEM FOREVER.

1 Kings 5:4 But now the Lord my God hath given me rest (delivered from temptation) on every side, so that there is neither ADVERSARY NOR EVIL occurrent.

Exodus 20:11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested (blessed - hallowed) the seventh day: wherefore the Lord BLESSED the Sabbath day, and HALLOWED it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


When I was a child and thought of what was to be, visions of being a tall star athlete ran in and out of my mind…

When I was in my teens and thought of what was to be, visions of being a star of stage and screen danced in and out of my mind…

When I was a single young adult and thought of what was to be, visions of visits to foreign lands walked in and out of my mind…

When I was newly married and thought of what was to be, visions of perfect children tiptoed in and out of my mind…

When I was entrenched in my career and thought of what was to be, visions of model trains steamed in and out of my mind…

When I was retired and thought of what was to be, visions of days when I could run, dance, walk, tiptoe and wobbled in and out of my mind…

Neal A. Maxwell made the following statement, “I believe with all my heart that because God loves us there are some particularized challenges that he will deliver to each of us. He will customize the curriculum for each of us in order to teach us the things we most need to know. He will set before us in life what we need; not always what we like.” (Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book - page 196)

When I was in the degree seeking period of my life, my study time was somewhat limited due to other demands on my time, I had to make sure I was always zeroed into the current activity whenever I was studying or listening to a lecture or writing a paper. I found that whenever I allowed my mind to wander the effectiveness of my learning was drastically lowered.

Likewise, I suspect that the time we spend thinking about what is to be rather than doing the current task our Heavenly Father has assigned us for any given day will have a negative effect upon our maximizing the development intended from the heaven designed curriculum.

Neal A. Maxwell also stated, “Life in the world is too compromising, too corrosive for most; marching to a celestial cadence requires the meekness of Moses and the simple trust in God that David had when he went forth ‘in the name of the Lord of hosts’ with a sling and five smooth stones.” (Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book - page 198)

Too often in life’s journey we might find ourselves truant, dreaming of what tomorrow might bring, or watching the clock on days when significant heaven sent assignments should have been diligently attended too.

And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead. (Alma 12:24)

As the countdown for the final bell of mortality ticks on for each of us, it might be beneficial if we could to be more passionate about conquering today’s lesson so that that part of our final exam will be a little more cemented in the character of that eternal being we were sent to become.

When my hair had turned to silver and I thought of what was to be…

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Long ago when Kathleen and I were still under the responsibility of guiding the teens and preteens who fell under our parental stewardship, through the crazy maze of adolescence, we had many chances for meaningful eternal learning moments. On one of those infrequent special evenings when our entire family happened to be at home, Kathleen was suddenly struck with an overwhelming desire to record the moment for future reference on Polaroid.

Cevin, our eldest son, was entrusted with and dispatched on the errand to retrieve the magical camera from our bedroom. After a short period of time he returned juggling the camera in three parts; front, back and film. My mechanically gifted wife soon reassembled the camera into its original form and then desired to test the reliability of her handiwork.

Our third son, Troy, never known to be camera shy, volunteered to be her model. I have often wondered what might have been going through his mind. Perhaps it was something like, ‘the best chance the camera would have of resurrecting its functions would happen if the lens was concentrated on the best object available.’ After focusing, snapping and waiting the mandatory 60 seconds, Kathleen showed Troy the print which after going through its developing process remained a solid sheet of white. He looked up at his mother with a disgusted frown and with a whine of protest said, “You missed!”

During my life I have always enjoyed reading biographies and autobiographies about people whose lives seemed worthy of being accounted for because of the famous and infamous events of their mortal passage. These readings have included people who governed and those who were governed. They have included people on all levels of the social and educational spectrum. Their contributions have affected few or many. They spent their lives in a cacophony of talents and abilities, but, when they were no longer actively among us, our lives were still being influenced and being made different because they were here.

The one commonality they seemed to have shared was that for at least one other person and many times for innumerable persons, they had contributed in some way to an indelible change on those who fell within the influence of their shadows. When reading these histories during my life, more times than I can bring back to remembrance I paused to wonder why. Why had these made such a difference during mortality, and their names continually whispered in reverence for generations? Many of their contemporaries, will be remembered only as long as the engraved few lines remain on their headstones which will draw many a quizzical glace as future generations search through the unkempt remains of their last earthly home? We would hope that the winds of the decades working upon the engraved words would never change the epitaph so that it would read, “You Missed!”

Lest we immediately view our little corner in the field to be insignificant, and any contribution we might make to be less than dross for humanity, it would be well to contemplate the words of John Ruskin: “The strength and power of any country depend absolutely on the quality of the good men and women in it.” If we view the collective span of humanity dwelling on earth at any one time as a chain, it is easy to envision that each link is ultimately significant to the strength of the entire chain. Each link that does not achieve its potential, hastens the day when the chain becomes weakened and is thereby kept from reaching its intended purpose.

If, by some magical formula, it were made possible for us to stand side by side with our potential selves, most of us would probably be astonished by the gulf we see between what we are and what we have the capacity to be. I wonder as we gazed upon that expanse if the first words to leave our lips would be, “You Missed!” It may be possible that the most damaging limitations we put on our potential is our refusal to see ourselves in the same light our Heavenly Father views us. How often do we look in the mirror and see nothing but dust, while our Beloved Father sees only the specs of gold. How often do we walk along the calm lake’s shore and see reflected an insignificant being walking alone along the edge of the Universe, while He whom we call Father sees a soul readying itself for eternal life.

Generations ago, Herbert Hoover warned, “We are in danger of developing a cult of the common man.” I tremble to think that in some visionary way he was hearing a chorus sing the discordant melody, “We missed!”

It has been well studied and documented that innate talent and intelligence only partially determine the extent of a person’s contribution. As it turns out persistence, desire, direction and dedication are far more important in determining whether we cast a shadow of change or muddle through life in mediocrity adding our unsure ‘I missed,’ note to the choir.

As I go through the daily pull of life am I vigilantly watching that my link remains bright and clear of rust? Am I constantly ridding my small corner of unwanted weeds and nurturing the plants under my care. Have I come to understand and believe that every day, in fact every minute, is adding to the eternal-ness of our lives? When will I at last grasp the fact that our future is being formed in the present, our here and now will in a blink become our past? The seconds of now are such a slippery scene that I must grasp them securely, with a constant remembrance that how this fleeting moment is used is important to the ‘me’ that I am becoming.

Before this moment has escaped our grasp it might be a great time to re-evaluate ourselves in the darkroom of our potential. What am I developing into? Will my life turn out to be a negative? Does the possibility exist that my posterity will view the print of my life and with a disgusted frown, exclaim with a whine of protest, “You Missed?”

One last thought to remember. Heavenly Father has never created a disposable child, but only children who have the potential to become co-heirs with His Son Jesus the Christ.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40)

The day after the first Shabbat following that tumultuous storm, which had filled Amul’s soul with those strange feelings of love, rumors about the crucified carpenter’s son were already being heard in the land of Bethlehem. There were those who said he would rise from the dead just as Lazarus had risen. There were others who were convinced that the infant movement he had started would soon go the way of the Zealots who were constantly being driven into seclusion by the mighty arm of Rome.

Amul awoke that day with a stirring in his soul which caused him to bid goodbye to Sarah and the children and leave his brother in charge of the family’s flock and move quickly to start a journey to Jerusalem. The road seemed crowded, but since Amul didn’t often make this journey he didn’t know if this was unusual or not. Late in the afternoon as Amul was nearing the Temple mount he found himself moving along with a large group of people. As the throng approached the steps leading to the patio of the Elders, Amul along with the others saw a man speaking to those who had gathered. He heard the words as the teacher turned toward those approaching and then felt the searing in his heart. “Love one another as I have loved you.” As he was falling to his knees Amul’s mind was repeating over and over again, ‘it is the carpenter’s son, but how can it be.’ As he further prostrated himself in reverence without uttering speech Amul heard his mind proclaim, ‘this is no carpenter’s son, but the Son of the Most High.’ The group which now numbered about 500 souls, as one, knew that the Messiah had opened the grave and was now standing once again alive before them.

As the resurrected Messiah spoke of love Amul once again was impacted by the overwhelming feelings of love and peace settling upon him bearing an unquestionable witness that this was the Son of the Most High, but beyond that assurance Amul begin to have feelings that he had yet left unfinished the purposes of his own life. He felt an urge to be more faithful in keeping all that he had been taught about the Law. He was anxious to find those who could teach him the words of the Messiah. He was moved to find ways to be a kinder and gentler husband, to find gentler ways to lead his children, to be more diligent in his responsibilities at the synagogue and he would be more honest in his measuring’s. Then the strangest of all feelings begin to fill his heart, which at first he tried to fight against, but resistance was useless. He would need to find ways to live the ancient ways of kindness found in the Law with the Roman soldiers who filled the markets of Bethlehem.

Although Amul had spent the majority of his days watching and listening to the bleating sheep, he now knew that having seen the wonders of that day he must now go forth to tell all he met that he knew that the carpenter’s son, this Joshua of the Galilee was the promised Messiah and the doors or salvation had been opened to all mankind.

The doubt of the flesh can vanish from my soul and I can come to know that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God and be filled with such merciful love that He lived, died and broke the bonds of death for all. The cloud of understanding can be dissipated and I can know the real purposes for my mortal sojourn. My heart can be changed as it is filled with the love of Him who loves unconditionally. I can be moved by my every strengthening relationship with my Savior to walk that path which will allow me to move toward the full purpose of my existence and gain a righteous self-love. As my awareness of His great love consumes me, I will more powerfully be filled with a desire to help all who return their love to me in so many ways, which makes the task a simple deed. I aspire to be filled with His powerful love so that someday I, like Him, will be able to show love unto all my neighbors, even those who consider themselves my enemy.

Jesus the Christ died so that He might receive Eternal Joy, having fulfilled all His Father sent Him to do. He died for all who call Him friend. He died for those despitefully use Him and insist on calling Him their enemy.

Counting the stars on a clear night would begin to give us an idea of how many children of our Heavenly Father, like Enos, Alma the Son of Alma, the four sons of Mosiah, Paul and the ancient Apostles, have found greater happiness in life as they have allowed the distilling drops of the Redeemer’s sweet love to enter their hearts and move them to see themselves and their neighbors as they were truly meant to seen. Thus, through the lens of this new vision we can all allow the attribute of love to fill our souls and dictate our actions.

Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Matthew 28:16-20, John 13:34, 35, Luke 24:49-53