Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pondering: Greater Love

Don’t you love it when you are watching a TV show, and out of blue, and out of context, the characters begin to spout “bible verses”? It’s weird, almost like the writers wanted to throw them in to add validity to the program. I was watching a police drama called “Bluebloods”, it centers on an Irish American family, who have a tradition of serving their community as policemen and lawyers. They seem to be religious, they practice Catholicism. This particular story centers around a series of “vigilante type of murders”, and one of the main characters is interrogating a suspect. Apparently the suspect is admitting to the killings and to justify himself he quotes these verses in Exodus 21:24…an eye for an eye. After which the main character spouts off Proverbs 22:23 “For the Lord will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them.” This is some pretty heady stuff right? 
Plunder meaning steal goods from (a place or person), typically using force and in a time of war or civil disorder.   I looked up those scripture to make sure they were quoting them right and insure relevance (What…someone has to do it)

Have you pondered the “language” of these verses? Contrary to what we have assumed, a language is not the dialect we speak, nor is it French or English, etc. Language is words that form into legal precedence, such as contracts, or in scripture, words that have become promises, covenants, even curses. There is a theme, a pattern and a future purpose of the words in these verses. The language in theses verses seem to attribute to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The context of the verse is a law and that if two men are fighting and a pregnant woman happens to be in the fray, maybe she is trying to stop the fight. And she is injured and it cause’s her to miscarry the baby the retribution is this:  
Exodus 21:23-24
23 And if any mischief follows, then thou shall give life for life,
 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
 25 Burning for burning wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

When I think of vengeance in its worst form, I think about “The Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s”, who according to lore, started an epic family feud because of a pig, and later because of sons and daughters dating on the wrong side of the family tree. This type of vengeance seems to be fueled by “eye for an eye”, and “righteous indignation”. The perpetrators are usually the family of the victim. In Deuteronomy 32:35 Jehovah (Jesus) declares that vengeance is rightfully His. Although He is not the victim, in some future time He will stand in for the victim and become the propitiation that is being punished. He will suffer the wrath of Heavenly Father against all past, present and future wrongs. He will give his life, which is his body and soul, to be retribution. In Deuteronomy 35 he declares Himself the avenger and the one who makes the payment of retribution.   
"Propitiation means the turning away of wrath by an offering. In relation to soteriology, propitiation means placating or satisfying the wrath of God by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

Deuteronomy 32:35

35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;
their foot shall slip in due time;
for the day of their calamity is at hand,
and the things to come hasten upon them.’

But, in Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus further extrapolates the theology behind Deut. 35, he says….
“You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Does that sound like he is trying to take away the “sting” of vengeance? Can you find his admonition to “love thy neighbor” in these verses? Jesus said “Vengeance is mine or vengeance is mine to bear, and I will also repay for the wrongs committed. What do I really know about the Savior's his atoning sacrifice? Do I know what those words mean?  In Isaiah, the Lord speaks to us, he gives us a glimpse into his mindset 

Isaiah 50:6

I gave My back to those who struck Me,
And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.

In Isaiah 50, he gave his cheeks to have his beard plucked out. I have never really considered what it means to pluck, until I thought about how a chicken’s feathers are “plucked” out of their skin.(It's pretty brutal). In Matthew 26:67 Then they spit in his face and beat him with their fists; and others slapped him. There he is true to his word to offer his face for slapping, his body for beating.  He was beaten with whips and sticks, as he was struggling to drag a heavy portion of lumber of what would be his "cross" through the town.People screamed at him; hit him, spit at him. Wow how humiliating. I don’t know if I have ever been humiliated in these terms in my life, have you? I don’t know if I could bear it.
Doctrine & Covenants 19:16-18……….For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all that they might not suffer if they would repent; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit…
Speaking of the extent of the suffering required of Christ, President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “We cannot comprehend the great suffering that the Lord had to take upon himself to bring to pass this redemption from death and from sin. …“We get into the habit of thinking, I suppose, that his great suffering was when he was nailed to the cross by his hands and his feet and was left there to suffer until he died. As excruciating as that pain was, that was not the greatest suffering that he had to undergo, for in some way which I cannot understand, but which I accept on faith, and which you must accept on faith, he carried on his back the burden of the sins of the whole world. It is hard enough for me to carry my own sins. How is it with you? And yet he had to carry the sins of the whole world, as our Savior and the Redeemer of a fallen world, and so great was his suffering before he ever went to the cross, we are informed, that blood oozed from the pores of his body.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1947, pp. 147–48.)
Lately, the Lord has put on my own heart, to ponder just what it means to be called a son or daughter of God. We are bought with a price, an awful price of blood, sweat and tears. You could say, "Well let's not dwell on the ugliness, let's move on to the victory, the resurrection, the ascension." Are we like Thomas, who loved Jesus with all of his heart, but could not bear the "realness" of his sacrifice, much less his death. But Jesus loved him anyway, and sought him out, and bid him to touch the wounds. One day we will too.

New music Tuesday y'all, Sidewalk Prophets "YOU LOVE ME ANYWAY" It's a sing a long too, the words at the bottom of the page.  

Sidewalk Prophets - You Love Me Anyway (Official Video)

The question was raised
As my conscience fell
A silly, little lie
It didn't mean much
But it lingers still
In the corners of my mind

Still you call me to walk
On the edge of this world
To spread my dreams and fly
But the future's so far
My heart is so frail
I think I'd rather stay inside

But You love me anyway
It's like nothing in life that I've ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
How You love me

It took more than my strength
To simply be still
To seek but never find
All the reasons we change
The reasons I doubt
And why do loved ones have to die?
But You love me anyway
It's like nothing in life that I've ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me

I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas' kiss
But You love me anyway

See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then, I turned away with a smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

But You love me anyway
It's like nothing in life that I've ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
You love me, yes You love me
How You love me
How You love me
How You love me

Thursday, December 31, 2015



My journal went missing in Oct. and it was right under my nose, but it didn’t say a thing to make me aware of its presence. I found it in my office, right under my nose and because I did not immediately grab it and put it in a place where I could find it, the grasp is tenuous at best. So much has happened during Oct-Dec that I want to share with my journal……  I will become a more organized journal keeper.

Satellite journal entry 12/30/15: today I could not get out of the house without “leaving something behind”. My cough drops were left in the car, which is parked in the Parking Garage at work. Yesterday, the phone was left in the car, even as I was blissfully enjoying a peaceful, non- jerky elevator ride up. (I am terribly phobic of elevators, and closed in spaces, etc) There was one other person in the elevator and she was so intent on her phone, that it reminded me that I needed to go back for my phone, Drat!! I was pushed back late 15 mins for work.

Today I managed to garner 15 early minutes that I hoped would coast me in at 30 min early to work. Instead I had to get gas for the car, at 711. ( I really hate 711 and their devious practice of running out of paper at the gas pump receipt counter and causing  us to go inside to ask for the receipt from the “Sales Associate” ) who is usually held hostage by someone buying a million scratch off tickets. There should be a line for “missing gas pump receipt's. We have all been there; I digress. Anyway, for whatever reason, I could not use my ATM card, and was instructed to see a “Sales Associate”, I decided to go to a different place. I forgot my lunch, “Drat”; I had to stop by the house and get that, but I  did not have time to haul in the water. (Another story another time)
For all of this, I still got to work at the same time. I thought about this verse in 
Genesis 3:17-18 and I was having this day:Cursed is the ground for your sake, in toil you shall eat of it, all the days of your life. 18 But thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread."
My goal for 2016 is to “Be present in my life”. I know that sounds like new age hokum, but we can lose track of ourselves, our real selves in the absolute tedious minutia of our daily lives. I have felt that this is not what our Heavenly Father had in mind. Jesus offered a great deal to us, he said that he came to offer us “life” and not only life but an “abundant life”, filled with possibilities of happiness and hope. I think I will grab that brass ring. I feel like the average believer in God and Christ is afraid to be happy, believing that for every euphoric moment, it must be paid for with the “absolute tedious minutia of our daily lives.”  Not so... the check has already been paid. Thistles and thorns were promised when Adam and Eve fled the garden, but the Savior wore a thorny crown upon his head and paid the note. We are indeed fallen but we don’t have to stumble all of the time.

A notable prophet named Jacob said, quoting Isaiah said in 
2 Nephi 9:50 “Come my brethren, everyone that thirsts, come ye to the waters; and he that has no money, come buy and eat; yea come buy wine and milk without money and without price. 51: Wherefore do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken: and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perish not, neither can it  be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness. 

These are words to live by indeed. So delight your soul in fatness.

So I am leaving you with some things that touched me this year; I love to hear people testify of their relationship with the Savior, it doesn't matter who you are, I think at least 8 out of 10 people at any given time  have been been touched by the Savior in a very personal way

The Overwhelming Spiritual Experience Lenny Kravitz Had as a Child  

New Music y'all

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Real Meaning......

New Book Wednesday

Wow it's T-2.5 and counting until Christmas. How ironic that the holiday falls on a Friday, so there won't be a "black Friday" but a Super Saturday. I digress. Today is New Book Wednesday. I haven't done this in a long time, although I have been reading through a lot of books. I found this book by accident. A guilty pleasure of mine is surfing Youtube for good Christian based music. I found an artist named  Nichole Nordeman, and she had a really sweet voice. She sang her own faith inspired songs and standards. She reminded me of Jewel, she even looks like her. One of her Youtube videos was a "Lyric" video called "Real".  Here are the first verses:

Frozen statues in the cold
Washed in moonlight, blue and gold
Mary's babe in plastic hay
Quiet wonder on her face
Mary you look so serene
Far too pretty, much too clean
We might think we know you well
But what stories would you tell?
Of all the dirt and dust and shame
Everybody burning labour pain

And as I turn to walk away
I hear you say
I am real
Don't turn me into memory or myth
Let me be real
And I'll show you what it means to love like this
To be real

And as I listened to her voice and the lyrics, my heart was touched. I wondered what or who was she singing about and as I listened to the rest of the song, I realized that  she was singing about those Nativity statutes that inevitably spring up every Christmas Most people have a love-hate relationship with them, not so much what they represent. I remember a few years back, when a local church had the Baby Jesus stolen out of it's manger every year, no matter what they did to secure him in. I heard once that they put a real baby in it one year, but no takers. So I listened to this song and heard a true story of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. We think we know who they are, and we hope we know who Jesus is. Their "real" stories of life and growing up, and heartache, etc are buried or even concealed in the thousands of years gone by. It is no wonder that the prophet Isaiah noted that Mary would be a "sign" for us.

Prophecies: Seven hundred years before she was born, Mary was prophesied to be the mother of Christ. Isaiah wrote, “The Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Alma the Younger also identified Mary as the Savior’s mother about 80 years before Jesus’s birth and halfway across the world from Isaiah: “He shall be born of Mary, … she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God” (Alma 7:10).
Fulfillment: Eight decades later, the angel Gabriel appeared “to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, … and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:27). Mary was the mother of Jesus, who was the Son of God.
So I was obsessed, I found that I couldn't buy a CD of this song and it was inspired by a book called  

"A Walk One Winter Night by Al Andrews"

But drats, the book was out of print..... I scoured Amazon.com and found a few copies. There is a beautiful back story. I wanted to share this with you (my 6 loyal readers), this is my gift to you. I found a You-tube of the author reading this book. Please take a few minutes and listen and you won't be disappointed. Jesus, Mary and Joseph are real, and they lived. 

A Bonus y'all, Nichole Nordeman singing her song "REAL"
Merry Christmas y'all  

Nichole Nordeman - Real (Lyric Video)

Monday, December 14, 2015

PONDERING Luke 1:1-4

Read Luke 2; was on a list that suggested "Simple Activities for a more Christ Centered Christmas" There are about 30 such suggestions, but this one is good if you love Christmas but are having a hard time preparing for it. Luke 2 is "The" Christmas story. 
It is from this chapter that Linus of Peanuts, does a wonderful soliloquy  on the true meaning of Christmas. I have read  this chapter a lot in my life, but it hasn't been until recently that I was able to understand the truth of it all,
Sometimes I like to read in chronological order, sometimes I skip around. I usually skip reading Luke 1, or I would wonder who " Theophilus" was.
Luke 1:1-4Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us,it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.
The voice sounded familiar: do you recognize it?
Book  of Mormon 1:1 And now I, Mormon, make a record of the things which I have both seen and heard and call it the Book of Mormon.

I recognize Luke, who obviously was a "real" person instead of a name on a chapter. He is found in the book of Acts as a "witness" to the Pentecost, the outpouring of God's spirit, after Christ had ascended to Heaven. He somehow befriends the Apostle Paul and is a sometime scribe and traveling companion. It is to Luke that Paul requests a warm cloak and the "parchments" via Timothy. What is on those parchments? 
What do we know about Luke? He may be a physician, or a Greek, possibly a freed Greek slave, who was converted to the Christian movement at that time. More than likely, he was a Hellenized or Greek speaking Jew. He was a member of Christ's church and maybe a missionary and traveling companion with Paul. He seemed to have the responsibility of an appointed messenger, a guardian of the records that detailed the life of Jesus Christ. He reminded me of Moroni. Maybe he too abridged the record. I have the impression that he sacrificed much and remained steadfast in the faith.
Who is Theophilus? He could be you or I. We want to know who Jesus Christ is, we want to know what the foundation of our faith is all about. I love how in Luke 2, 
Luke himself is speaking and narrating a story that is well known to him.

So I have pondered these verses and have been blessed with a better understanding of how important is was then and now that the Church of Jesus Christ is established on the earth. Even though many followers of Christ left the Church and others corrupted the true meaning, it was people like Paul or Luke who managed to literally keep hope alive through their writings and their testimony. There was no "official" book about Jesus at this time, only the testimonies of his most devout followers, who sacrificed much. Luke reminds me of Mormon and even his son Moroni. This is a bridge to the book of Mormon.

Merry Christmas y'all, new music Monday, Big Daddy Weave

Big Daddy Weave - "My Story" (Official Music Video)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Pondering: Moses 7:63: Veterans Day of Remembrance

Moses 7:63 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shall thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other

Happy Veteran's Day to all my fellow Vet's.
I have never looked at this day as a "holiday", but more of a day of remembrance, so I am really glad that it is on the day that it falls, no special shopping days, no half off sales and definitely no Black Friday.

It is a  day to remember the  service of our fellow brothers and sisters, some fallen, most still here. 
When I tell people that I served in the Navy, many say "Thank you for your Service".This used to confuse me, because I never thought what I did deserved any recognition. Some would ask why did I join, and I wished I could say that I was "Born to Serve", but in reality I joined like most people; needing a job,or job training; money for school, more regular pursuits. But looking back, I have realized that love of country came later, in maturity, and after experiencing the intensity of military life and comparing it to the civilian life I came back to . The intensity of our mission, regardless of where we served, in the field or on base. Whatever our job was, it was stressed to us, to take pride in the execution of it. To do it right the first time. The intensity of our friendships for our buddies, our friends in arms, those relationships never end. 
Some compare service in the Military as a great sacrifice, and I never thought of it that way and I daresay that if you asked other vets, they might view it that way too. 
I can say truthfully that it was a privilege to serve, and to live in this beautiful country of ours seems like a given,but it is not. 
I have always thought, that given the opportunity, I would serve again in some capacity.

New Music y'all
Celebrate your favorite Veteran home. 

LeAnn Rimes with Gavin DeGraw - Celebrate Me Home (Official Video)