Thursday, February 21, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

It would be better – for the sanity of parents – if there never was a competitive spirit – between siblings!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Spontaneous demonstrations of love – should seldom be restricted – because of protocol!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Just like all living things – our children should never be cut off – before they have been given the opportunity – to go through the complete maturation process!!

Monday, February 18, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

As parents try to teach their children – most hold to the hope – ‘as the twig is bent’ – but – they should also remember – that they will need to continue to nurture – through many a storm – before the strength – and – beauty – of the mature being emerges!!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

PEARLS WORTH SACRIFICE

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13: 45, 46)

My almost 80 year old brain does not allow me to declare it with absolute certainty, but as far as I can recall, I believe every time I taught these verses I always concentrated on the goodly pearl. As I was reviewing the books of Mosiah and Alma in preparation for writing this Thought for a Sabbath Day, I was struck with two insights: first, that the Lord uses the plural when speaking of pearls which should be sought. Second, that the value of a pearl might best be measured by the sacrifice we are willing to make in order to make it ours.

We read of Ammon and the 16 men who accompanied him who were willing to give up all to go in search of the Nephites who had returned to the land of Lehi-Nephi.

We read of the sons of the Prophet/King Mosiah, Ammon, Aaron and Omni who gave up the kingship to go among the Lamanites to try to persuade them to come unto Christ.

We read about the converts who were willing to die rather than break a covenant which resulted from the sacrifice of Mosiah’s sons.

We read about Alma the son of Alma who was willing to give up the Chief Judgeship to preach repentance unto the Nephites who had fallen from keeping their covenants.

Since I will be covering these and many more examples as I proceed with my bucket list task of writing Thoughts based on concepts The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ reveal, I will let these few examples demonstrate that Pearls of Great Price come in a large variety and usually are customized to us individually.

Thoughts from pondering upon pearls I have deemed worth making the necessary sacrifice in order to obtain.


Education – I first started my formal education in 1944 and didn’t finish until 1977. During this lengthy period of time there was a sacrifice of money, time, social experiences and a lot of sleep.

Career – As is the case with many of the pearls for which we search in life my career was more of a blessing than a sacrifice. There were times when others wondered why I hadn’t dedicated my life to a career which would have resulted in greater monetary blessings, but I always knew daily satisfaction in my work was of greater worth than mammon.

Activities – There are some pearls we don’t realize the price of until long after we have enjoyed them. I loved being involved in various kinds of athletic activities throughout most of my life, without realizing the sacrifice which would be required later in life because of the abuse I had rendered upon my physical body.

Marriage – Much like my career this pearl has returned many more blessings than any sacrifice which might be required. Forsaking all others is nothing compared to the all-consuming love of your one and only. Thinking of another’s needs before your own is filled with blessings much like casting your bread upon the waters. Working to sustain and support adds up to a life time of loving arms embracing you.

Family – Sleepless nights, worrisome days, sorrows are but a pittance of a payment for the pearls which come as your posterity grow and advance and bring grandchildren into your life.

Church membership – Obeying the commandments and keeping the covenants one makes are oft times viewed by the world as great prices to pay, but when the pearl of joy which accompanies living after the Plan of Happiness fills your days, all is well.

Church responsibilities – This has always been an interesting pearl for me since the price is always changing and one is never capable of counting the cost until the completion of a calling. I have found when I have truly dedicated all my might, mind and strength to magnifying the tasks the Lord has given me the privilege of undertaking, the resultant gains always far out measure the sacrifices.

Joy of feeling the Lord’s love – As I have read the words of King David, Martin Luther King, Justin Martyr along with countless others attempting to describe the precious pearl of feeling the love of the Lord come upon them I have often been left with the desire to be able to have and then describe that feeling myself. In my own life I am always left with the knowledge that I have indeed been blessed with a moment of His love having been poured out upon me, but the ability to impart the glory of those moments escapes me. However, I know that whatever price might be required for but another short experience will be worth any sacrifice.

Eternal Life – I have no way of comprehending the value of this pearl, but I have come to believe with all my being that the work my Father in Heaven requires of me to possess it has no end and therefore, the sacrifices which might be required of me likewise should have no end.

Now that you have an extra hour with the shortened Sunday Church Meeting schedule a great way to spend some of that hour might be to ponder upon the pearls you have sought and the sacrifices you have made to obtain them. I am sure that just as I have found, you likewise will find the value of the pearl far out weighs the sacrifice required.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13: 45, 46)


THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Saturday, February 16, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Whenever we compare anyone – in any way – to our Lord – and – Savior – we must always remember – we are mistakenly – comparing a mere mortal – to an Eternal God!!

Friday, February 15, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

We should be grateful – for those who are willing to vocalize their beliefs – by bearing their testimonies – but we would be mistaken – if this were the measuring devise we were to use – to judge everyone’s level of devotion!!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

It would be a mistake – to judge a person’s relationship with God – solely on the frequency – of their attendance at church!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Most of us should rejoice – that our facial expressions – seldom reveal our actual state – or – our emotional level!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Watching a parent struggle – through the final season of mortality – can lessen one’s desire – for an extended mortal life!!

Monday, February 11, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

There are certain passages of our lives – which make us more aware – that our lives are made up of many seasons!!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

PONDERINGS – STIMULATED BY THE HISTORY OF LEHI’S DESCENDANTS

One of the philosophical catch phases of the early 21st century, among the younger generation who became known as millennials, was that they did not believe in religious organizations, but they did in being spiritual.

One of the supporting arguments for this belief was to point to all the evil which had been done in the name of religion throughout history. They adeptly site the religions which came forth from the Norsemen, along with those which originated in India, Japan, the Mid Eastern countries, Africa, the Americas and every nation of the world and are able to point out the atrocities which have been done in the name of those religions.

As I was pondering the chapters which followed the great discourse of King Benjamin in the beginning of the book of Mosiah in The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ and realized I was entering into that lengthy part of the history of Lehi’s descendants when they were being tossed to and fro from receiving blessings because of their righteousness and being cursed because of choosing to live unrighteously.

The beginnings of my pondering:

Is it the existence of governments which causes destruction to be poured out upon nations?

Is it the existence of religious organizations which cause molestations and abominations?

Is it the existence of families which cause disfunction to go unabated upon the lands?

Is it the educational systems which cause prejudice and bigotry to reign among men?


Or:

Do governments simply reflect the choices of the masses!

Do religious organizations simply reflect the choices of the masses!

Do families simply reflect the choices of the masses!

Do educational systems simply reflect the choices of the masses!


Maybe:

If the masses were making righteous choices, governments would not be as prone to be pouring out destruction upon one another!

If the masses were making righteous choices, religious organizations would not be seen as allowing molestations and abominations!

If the masses were making righteous choices, families would no longer be dysfunctional!

If the masses were making righteous choices, educational systems would no longer be seen as incubators for prejudices and bigotry!


Which came first:

Masses being filled with anger and hatred being the cause of evil greedy governments willing to destroy their neighbors to gain lands
and riches – or – evil greedy governments causing people to be filled with anger and hatred?

Masses being filled with malicious and abominable thoughts and actions being the cause of evil religious organizations allowing molestations and abominations – or – evil religious organizations causing people to be malicious and abominable?

Families being the cause of dysfunctional relationships – or – dysfunctional relationships causing families to be destroyed?

People plagued with prejudices and bigotry causing Educational systems to be filled with prejudice and bigotry – or Educational systems causing people to relate to others prejudice and bigotry?


Some personal conclusions – right or wrong:

The gift of Agency allows me to live a life free of hate and anger regardless of the actions of evil governments!

The gift of Agency allows me to live a life free of malicious and abominable thoughts regardless of unrighteous religious organizations!

The gift of Agency allows me to live a life of loving relationships regardless of dysfunctional families!

The gift of Agency allows me live a life free of prejudice and bigotry regardless of the norms of the classrooms and playgrounds!


I have never nor do I believe I will ever be tempted to calculate the number of years the descendants of Lehi live after the manner of the Plan of Happiness versus the number of years they lived self destructively, but as I have read and pondered the words in The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ I am left with the overwhelming feeling that what I receive from co-existing with governments, religious organizations, families and educational systems will be a product of my personal attitudes and choices. I have the choice to be supported and sustained to whatever degree of positiveness and goodness these organizations might provide, and I have the choice to allow all the evils which might be perpetrated by those who espouse them to rob me of the joy of living after the manner of the Plan of Happiness.

One of the wonderful understandings which has come to me from pondering the history of Lehi’s descendants is that mortality is most progressive, fruitful and joyful when communities are able to enjoy the synergistic blessings which attend those who are unitedly being governed, ministered, nurtured and taught by leaders, ministers, parents and teachers who are all striving to live after the manner of the Plan of Happiness.


THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Saturday, February 9, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Most of our temporal wants – and – desires – will not occupy much of our attention – within a few seconds of our passing!!

Friday, February 8, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

There are no time limits – placed on Heavenly Father’s work – to bring to pass His children’s immortality and eternal life – since He is an Eternal Being living in Everlastingness!!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

It would be sad – if our personal belief systems – were to become a roadblock – from arriving at the truth!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

What the angel children of our Heavenly Parents – become – once they leave their heavenly home – cannot be blamed on their heavenly parentage!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

It may cause us to wonder – who we really are – contemplating that Heavenly Parents – only beget angels as children!!

Monday, February 4, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

We should all be grateful – for those small moments in our lives – when the scales placed on our eyes – as a condition of the Fall of Adam – drop from our eyes – and – for those few sweet moments – we feel the joy of being close to our Heavenly Father!!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

A MIGHTY CHANGE

Before entering the seventh grade at Washington Junior High School, my sports of choice had been kick ball and tetherball which I prided myself on being among the best at Lincoln Elementary School.

When I entered Junior High it became apparent that those sports would no longer make the A list of sports if I was going to be involved in the sports in this new phase of my life. The A list in those long ago days consisted of the sports of football, baseball and basketball which up to that part of my boyhood had not occupied much if any of my time.

Since the first season of the school year was basketball I asked my wonderful father to fashion a backboard and secure it to the front of the garage and fasten an adequate but shaky hoop to it. And my basketball days started.

I practiced layups for hours on that makeshift but adequate equipment until the dimples on my first rubber basketball were worn smooth.


When I went out for tryouts, which was an interesting term since nobody was ever cut by coach Hill, I made my first layup and was immediately called to the side by coach. He asked me if I realized I was doing my layup off the wrong foot, that you should always leave the ground with the foot opposite of the hand I was using to shoot the ball. Years of coaching and many coaches later I felt like I became pretty proficient as a basketball player at Garden Grove Union High School.

When I tried out for the varsity basketball team, which I made, and learned the new ability of being a bench sitter it became apparent that since I hadn’t been blessed with the height of some or the long arms of others or a myriad of other physical abilities it would be a good idea to abandon my dream of becoming a college and even more so a professional basketball player. No matter how much help I received nor how much effort I put into basketball my 5’8” height would always limit my success.

In the same way, my dream of excelling in baseball ended up with pretty good success as a fast pitch softball player, my dream of excelling in football ended with the ligaments being torn in my ankle and any vision of being the amazing swimmer or diver in the group was quashed by a ruptured eardrum and so it was. The thought that volleyball and golf would become the activities which occupied most of my sports participation time during my life had not even entered my mind during those years.

It has become apparent during my life that most things in which we are moved to participate during our lives in some way follow a pattern of: first, gaining a desire to be involved, second, entering the neophyte stumbling period of trying on our own, third, receiving and hearkening to the mentors who come into our life and fourth, having the eternal attributes bestowed upon you wherein the blessings become you.

As I have thought about how this formula applies to the real purpose of our mortal probationary plan, that being putting on the attributes, characteristics and perfections of our Heavenly Father, it quickly becomes apparent that we usually follow a similar pattern in developing any area of our lives.

1 – 2. Most of us stumble along in the first two phases being tossed to and fro testing ideas good and not so good, while making very little headway, as if we were shooting layups off the wrong foot.

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3: 19)

What natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent. (Alma 26: 21)

Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost. (2 Nephi 28: 26, 27, 31)

3. When we finally realize the wisdom in being mentored by coaches (parents – professors – prophets) we find our progress quickens.

That cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. (2 Nephi 9: 28)

Since library shelves are filled with books containing the mentoring words of men’s thoughts and prophetic utterances, none of us will but dip our toes in the ocean of counsel we received which comes both from inspiration and wisdom of men.

An example of a brief bit of inspired teachings from King Benjamin’s address, which when searched will demand hours of diligence to give them permanence in our beings:

And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God. And now, these are the words which king Benjamin desired of them; and therefore he said unto them: Ye have spoken the words that I desired; and the covenant which ye have made is a righteous covenant. And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters. (Mosiah 5: 5-7)

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 walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants. And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster 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. And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you borroweth 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. 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. But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue 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. (Mosiah 4: 26-30)

4. It seems the reason so many of us fall short (no pun intended) in our quest of putting on the Characteristics, Attributes and Perfections obtainable to men is because we think that we have the power to add stature to ourselves or are capable of stretching our legs or arms.

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. (2 Nephi 25:23)

And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them.

And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

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.
(Mosiah 5: 1-3)

If we are to maximize our precious moments of mortality, it becomes apparent that besides stumbling along our own perceived paths, we need to allow ourselves to be led by those who are standing on higher vantage points and we need to understand in the end any permanent acquisition of the Characteristics, Attributes and Perfections of Godliness will become ours not because of what we have done, but because through the love, mercy and power of God they have been wrought upon us.


THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY


Saturday, February 2, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Our ancestors who lived long ago – had no idea what our lives would be like – our great grandparents would have fallen fall short of envisioning the world we live in – therefore – it stands to reason – that we would only be guessing – if we tried to describe the world of our descendants!!

Friday, February 1, 2019

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Having spent many years in my career as an educator of religion – I have been introduced to a variety of curriculums – and – methods of teaching – but I have never found anything which excels – reading – and – discussing the scriptures with a class!!