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  1. aeglyn

    Tin Man

    Tin Man What have I to offer thee? I have nothing more than me No riches nor am I well known A quiet mien is all I own A gentle heart is what I bare In solitude it’s all I wear Peaceable in all my days Parsing life’s fickle ways And what have I to do with thee? Whose very nature captures me? Snared by sweet and smiling glances Whose fair and comely eye entrances Would that I could be more brave Like some impudent knave And win anon the moment’s pause Despite all my lacking flaws To speak with undaunted pitch And break this lasting tongue-tied stitch To dream of daring chosen words And risk expressing hopeful chords But, tell this idle time goodbye Dreaming of a life gone by And of a chance I once let slide Rusting from the rain inside. Aeglyn Sep’2017
  2. I sit enthralled as sunset dies The rosy reds of auburn skies The light washed out in rainbow hues Drapes me in twilight’s dusty muse I think of her most oft of late Of simple ways and subtle traits A knowing touch, and eyes so calm Her caring heart a healing balm I ponder all in heaven’s name How is my life to be the same? As nighttime draws I’ve lost that glow Now left in dark as feelings go A tear wells up in sullen thought How we began, now come to naught In this life only are we done? Can we in glory still be one? I think upon that very dream While in the moonlight’s shining beam As stars come out, the skies are bright A hope within me starts tonight. Aeglyn August 2020
  3. His heartfelt blessings full of love A promised hope of calm and peace To all honest seekers thereof In prayers and tears that never cease I say, my brothers, sisters all Who, in goodness, still hold trust But question why they still feel small And deem are lower than the dust This meekness draws the eyes of God Who loves you more than you will know It’s humility He applauds Your willingness to let it show He answers every tear that falls With care towards your broken fate He guides you up above the walls And lifts you to a higher state Always there, He anxiously awaits A Parent watching you in stride For any chance to show His traits And lead you Home where He abides Oh then look up and never doubt About the love He has for you Pre-destined for a greater route In your heart of hearts, believe it’s true. Aeglyn Nov 2019
  4. I don't know what to do. We have a temple marriage, going on 10 yrs. We have two young kids. It's just for the past several months especially I feel like I don't love my spouse anymore. I don't hate them; it's like being good friends with your roommate. I feel happier when it's just me and the kids. When they're around I feel indifferent, resentment, or irritated. I feel guilty about feeling this way. I've tried spending time with them without the kids, I've expressed frustration at working and still doing both the all the child-rearing, housework, and yardwork, while he only works and sleeps. It's been that way for the entire relationship. I do all the house while he will occasionally help (and feels proud for cleaning once a month), I do all the yardwork because he "has allergies" (I do too), I take care of the vehicles, bills, doctors, school. The only thing he does with the kids is watch a show or do a video game. We've talked about this before, and nothing ever changes or the change is temporary. Adding in the mix: I have depression and anxiety and he has ADD. Recently, he has done laundry and dishes for a week, and then expected everything to change and for me to want to be with him, got upset when I didn't want to. I haven't told him that I can't say "I love you" back because I don't feel honest saying it. I don't want to hurt him. I don't want to hurt the kids. I feel obligated to stay for my kid's sake, for my husband's feelings, for the church culture. I would be extremely embarrassed to mention this to the bishop. I don't really know him or feel comfortable around him. Part of me feels empty and not wanting to work on the marriage. What would you do?
  5. I'm sorry if I have wrong grammars and marks on my post...I am really trying to go to sleep tonight as fast as I can....It's already 1:28 A.M. I know this is a forum for spiritual discussions and such...but I really want to type this because I have no other place to go to for advice. It's been a long journey to finding the love of my life. I'm 26, Male, college graduate (BYU)...I never ever had a real a real relationship that's focused on love, understanding and all the good things that the LDS church talks about....eternal companion. When I was in high school, I was pretty much the most introverted kid. I didn't have much friends...I was the only boy in the family...I have 3 younger sisters...It was really hard. I really wished I had a brother. Growing up...we never really got along as teenagers in the family. My sisters are not that far apart in age. I was the most wayward/awkward kid. My family is all LDS, we were raised in an LDS upbringing. However, I had my rebellious days...because my father and mother were too strict that it really drove me crazy into revolt. It was almost obsessive of them to always demand things on A+ grades, they expected too much of me, and never really gave me Affection for my achievements. I never heard "son, I'm really proud of you". I know it's really BETA for someone to want some affection....but we all need affection from our parents and others...we all need love...I never got that from them....they were basically "providers". They put food on the table, clothing, shelter, bought me a guitar, etc...etc... whatever I needed, wanted...I got it. The only thing missing my mom and dad would come home from work...and basically bail out on me and go to sleep after work or they'd go on a something was really missing....MAYBE a hug...:( I know it's really stupid to say that but that's really how I felt. I got bullied in many times. I'd come home angry and wanting revenge from these bullies...I couldn't do anything. I really felt abandoned EMOTIONALLY when I was a kid. I was molested (at 11 yrs old) by my own cousin...I didn't know what it was till I realized and learned about sexual abuse in elementary school....I never reported it. I didn't know what to feel about it....until one day....I realized that it was really wrong what He had done to me!.............. My parents had a busy busy busy life of WORK...and never really got the time to give affection towards me.....I've read about this in Psychology...and it is true in my causes a lot of self-esteem in most normal kids today...I stayed home (didn't have much friends), played my guitar, drew, played computer/videogames.... most of my days spent were parents barely allowed me to go outside. I attended swimming school and competed for the sake of it just to get away from the house...and I guess I seeked/sought approval by winning swimming matches...that was the only way I felt loved....winning. Now, when I was in BYU (college), I had the chance to be around people, classmates, away from parents...etc...this was really different in high school...because we had school dances every Tuesday and Thursday and sometimes which I religiously almost attended...I built my dancing skills through these classes and events. While dancing, I also had many chances in talking to women....There were so many awkward conversations...but I built my social skills through that...but when I'm not dancing....It's still hard for me to talk to people. I really tried my best to be "out there". Sometimes, after classes, I would wander around the cafeteria just to strike up a conversation. I didn't hold a job while in college because I took my parent's advice to just focus on school instead of having a job. I should've because I know that would have increased my social skills (if I worked as a cashier or anything that involved social interaction). I deeply regret not having a job while in college. It took me shorter to get my Bachelor's degree, only 3 years instead of 4 because I took more classes since not having a job has perks. So, this habit of mine, dancing, talking to women in events, striking up a random conversation, built up my social skills to the point that I thought I was really good at talking. I worked out and kept a routine, I worked hard on my grades! I practiced approaching women that I thought were attractive while in college. Most of the time, I would get rejected I know I can carry a conversation gracefully....Most of the time, they would have a boyfriend, married, refused me, and even GHOST me...that means they'd give me their numbers and never text me or call me back This really affected me because I would feel so hopeful to come home with a number from a girl..only to find out that she wouldn't even text me back!!! Now, I know I sound desperate but my approach count was about 212 the campus...and I only got about 7 dates...and none of them turned to a relationship. I never had a girlfriend All I really want is this...Love, someone to love....Why is that so much to ask? I asked Heavenly Father for it and never really got anything... I would see couples, boyfriend and girlfriends in the hallway and I'd feel soooo bad about myself...wishing I had someone. Even on facebook, my BYU and updates would keep spreading from posts...that someone got married, have a boyfriend and girlfriend..and it makes me feel un-worthy, not good enough. I have a forearm tattoo...because I was being stupid and rebellious against my parents...I also got it because I had self harm scars from depression. Now that I have graduated from BYU, looking back at these memories..., It makes me really sad. I never really got I what I wanted and needed! Is it so hard to find a girlfriend? PEOPLE always say the right time will come...but I don't believe it anymore! I am really asking Him for this... It's affecting my self-esteem... Am I too ugly? Did God make me ugly? Did God give me a curse? Am I not attractive? Am I too short (I'm only 5"5, 5"6 with shoes on) I have abs, big muscles, big arms, ripped legs, good skin, etc etc...(humble brag) I have so much going on for me:( I really don't know why... Am I not good enough? but I just wanna feel loved, because my parents couldn't give it to me (emotionally) I try to stay close to Heavenly Father I kept asking Him for the same things over and over again...I'm pretty sure he's annoyed. I self-loath when I wake up every morning...hating myself... Wishing I had somebody else's face (a more handsome one?) Am I unlovable? Sometimes I think of not being born with this face, because I have such low self-esteem... I really don't know what to do... I keep thinking about plastic surgery.. maybe that will help:( Could someone help me through this? I feel like I'm stuck in a never ending spiral! I don't know where else to go to...I've seen many counselors....I don't know anymore...
  6. How heavy My heart is Missing you These long, cold Lonesome days Sunsets flow Endlessly Into one Bittersweet Elegy Cursed with love Lingering, Patiently Suffering Memories My lamp primed The wick dressed Hope reflects Eyes of light In darkness Aeglyn Mar’2019
  7. I have no clue if this is the right place to be sharing this but I've searched for forums where I could get advice from people with good faith... and I really need some. Let me start this off by saying, while I am technically not a member of the church and for awhile I didnt believe in God... my perspective has changed. Mainly from my (ex) boyfriend. he never asked me to join the church, or anything of the like. But one day I was telling him about my feelings and he told me he thought I should pray... and so I did... and I felt so much better. I felt like someone else cared enough to do something for me which brings me to my next point, after that I prayed constantly. for a lot of different things, but what made me really have faith in God was when I would pray about my relationship. I would pray for us to get through a fight, and we would. I would pray for us to be happier, and we would. I would ask for signs, and I'd receive them and they were ALWAYS accurate. Towards the end of my relationship I prayed to God about it and he gave me signs saying it was going to end and somehow I knew I should distance myself... and I did. And pretty soon, my boyfriend broke up with me. Well now, I've been praying and I dont feel like this was truly the end of my relationship, because it doesnt hurt that bad, it is hard to completely explain this but I prayed to God and asked that my boyfriend and I could get back together some day, and after praying about it I felt instantly happier and I have felt MUCH better... is this God trying to tell me that things will work out? I'm sorry, I'm just so new to praying, but I know God had come through for me in the past. I just feel like this isn't the end. Someone please tell me!
  8. Hey, I'm a 21-year-old sister. I was in a relationship with a nonmember when I was 19 and ended up breaking up because of stuff, and now I've been single for two years. I had two guys ask me out: one a RM who is 8-year-older than me and then another one who is also a member (he' 26 now). The latter guy asked me out again 2 years later (which is now) even after I rejected him before. He said he'd wait until I am available. :l I did reject the first guy (even though he liked me a lot) because I feel like I wasn't ready for a steady relationship and he seemed to be looking for a wife already. And I'm only 21, fresh out of college, and just started my new job. They only wanted a date, but I rejected them right away. They say first dates aren't supposed to be preoccupied about bc you're actually getting to know the person first before anything. I'm just afraid it will blow up into something serious and I don't feel ready for the responsibilities. Also, going on dates feels awkward for me. I'm also an introverted person and generally cautious of people and guys, especially after I had my first heartbreak :( Am I missing out on things? I visualize myself rejecting another guy who'll ask me out out of the same fears and feeling of not being prepared for the emotional and 'financial' demands of a possible relationship. I also live in a family where young adults being on a steady relationship at my age (or within the 20-23 year old age range) is being frowned upon because elders would say: You're too young to be committed OR you have to help your family first before dating OR you shouldn't be committed at that age yet OR wait until you're 25 or something. P.S. My family is mostly Mormons, but of course our culture also blends in.
  9. Do you feel love? Or do you just love? Is it an action? You can feel God's love, but do you feel love for God... Or do you just love God? To me, it isn't a feeling. However, when I love someone, I have many different feelings, happiness, hope, excitement, etc. What are your thoughts?
  10. This is the truest Definition of Faith I know of and it has changed my life and anchored me in the Definition of Faith. It has given me joy and it has expanded my spirit. The_Definition_of_Faith.mp4
  11. After viewing a number of other sites ran by persons from other denomination I can emphatically say that I am so glad this site exists. And while I don't want this discussion to turn into a bash fest of the short comings we have seen in others (for I know I have many of my own and we are called to deal with our own and let leadership call out failings in others), what I would like to hear are examples of what makes our church different. Why is being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints so special (with much respect to Prison Chaplin and others- who are fine examples of their faith). Instead of using catch phrases like "the power and authority of the holy spirit" tell me what you have seen that reinforces that we are in the right place. For me it has always been the love and openness that members seem to show, not for just each other, but for those from other denominations. Speaking from my own experience, long before I even thought of becoming LDS it was the Church that was always there for me and my family. When I needed someone to agree with me in prayer, or provide someone in the family with a blessing, or help when we were going through a hard time it was the Church that helped us. If I got up and shared what was on my heart on Fast Sunday, no one said boo. If I wanted to participate in EQ or Sunday School no one told me to shut up or that I was going to hell because I drew outside the lines. If I showed up for a service project they were always glad for another set of hands. There was never a time when I wasn't treated like an other brother in Christ. Long before I ever read a verse from the Book of Mormon I had a testimony of the BOM because I saw the impact that it had on the lives of those who lived by the principals found inside it and all of our scripture. That I could say with surety that my friends and neighbors who were LDS exemplified what we are told in Galatians 5:22-23 is proof of the fruits of the spirit. I am so thankful for our Church, the impact that it has had on my life, and this website that helps people become more like Christ!
  12. Easter is one of those holy days that LDS, Catholics and Protestants find little to argue about. So, in the spirit of new life, here's a synopsis of what I shared today: Easter and resurrection--so what? Jesus rose from the dead. His followers went to attend to him, on Easter morning, but he was gone! If the Son of the one, true, Creator-God suffered, died, then rose, I will fear nothing. People cannot harm my eternal soul. Jesus is the one I must please. Addictions, such as drugs, selfishness, and unhealthy relationships cannot trap me. My God is bigger, and he is for me. Now, I live without fear. I traffic in love. I love widows, orphaned, and yes, the imprisoned. I love immigrants; liberals and conservatives; and whoever needs a listening ear and an open heart. Jesus suffered and died so I could be well and live. Now, it is my turn to love. What is the worst that could happen? Perhaps, I will suffer and die. Even so, I will rise and live forever with God. He is risen. He is risen, indeed!
  13. It is said (I think by Joseph Smith although please let me know if I'm wrong) that were we to feel even just a small little fraction of the love God has for us, we would all willingly commit suicide just to see him again. If this is true, does that mean that whenever we are in the presence of our Heavenly Father or even within his love, none of us could ever resist obeying him? But then, why did Satan go so far as to completely go against God? Perhaps technically God's love doesn't take away our agency but it's so wonderful that most souls, not all but most, can't resist it and thus it's partly why our minds are veiled in this stage of our lives.
  14. Grieved--that's how I felt seeing a bumper sticker that said: Christian Democrat: I can pray and think. It tells of one who is more comfortable with non-believers than with "brothers/sisters," who apparently can't think. Similar feelings arise when I hear, "How can you call yourself a Christian and vote for ... support/oppose ...?" Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives--we can all be guilty. BUT, we must not. We must stop this! Again, this year, families are eating apart at Thanksgiving, because political disagreements led to hard feelings and broken fellowship. Those of us who name Jesus as our example ought to remember that He asked Father to forgive his murderers--as well as those mocking Him while He was dying. Less pride, less talk...more humility, more listening. Let us love one another for ... God is love.
  15. We've had favor with government for over 200 years in the U.S., but now face the dismissal of our prayers and meaningless, or even partisan. We answer by loving God-neighbor-and enemy, by taking care of the widow and the orphaned, by not tiring in doing good works, and by lifting up the name of Jesus. We'll not be pigeon-holed into political parties or positions. I'm just a migrant laborer here--my true citizenship is in heaven.
  16. Psalm 23: God’s got my back! In Psalm 23 there are eight promises. The first is that God will meet my needs. Similarly, Jesus tells us that when we pray we should ask for our daily bread. What he offers is the main entrée. We may not often get dessert, but neither shall we hunger. I love the balance of this promise. Scripture tells us to pray for the desires of our heart, but sometimes the answer is no. How many would praise God that the boy or girl they prayed God would let them marry, during their teens, is not who they ended up with? Besides meeting our needs, God grants us rest. Jesus once told his followers that in his service we find rest for our souls. In the jail I serve at inmates often sleep 8-10 hours per day. I encourage them that though rest may not be the primary reason God has them inside, many of them were running 100 mph, and sleeping 4-5 hours per day, on the outside. Could it be God is using the jail to provide them the rest they so desperately need? We realize that our situation is not so bad when we take time to hear others. I consider the inmate who is coming to the end of a 12 year sentence. He’s upset at the time he’s wasted. Then another inmate comes along and starts complaining about his 10-month sentence. The first fellow is internally furious. “What a baby! What a weak, tender soul!” he thinks. Yet, he listens. At the end, the second inmate says, “Thanks for listening, brother. I feel better. You’re the real deal!” At first the long-timer is thinking that he’s done nothing for the other guy but judge him. Then those last words hit him. “No matter what, that guy was blessed by my listening,” he realizes. Suddenly, he’s feeling less upset about his own situation. It’s still there. It still stings—but less so. This too is a kind of rest. As important as rest is, we need to be restored. Consider Peter, who denied Jesus three times. Peter wept over his denials, and he waited on Jesus, so he could repent before him. Jesus challenged him three times, asking, “Do you love me?” Underlying the question had to be, “If so, how could you deny me?” Yet, Peter responded affirmatively all three times, and Jesus restored him. We see the power of this restoration a few weeks later. The disciples are in the temple, and the Holy Spirit comes on them. They begin speaking in tongues. It’s noisy and seems chaotic. The Jewish leaders are accusing them of disgracing the temple by their drunkenness. Peter stands up and says that they are filled with the Holy Spirit, in fulfillment of Joel’s prophesy. Then he preaches and 3,000 are saved. People tell inmates that they are too bad to be forgiven or restored. God says that those who repent are already restored. After restoration, we want to know what to do, where to go, how to be. Jesus says he is the way, so we must follow him. We do that by loving God and our neighbor—even the troll who intentionally misconstrues our words on Facebook! A simple way to love people is to bless and focus on them. Isn’t it interesting that our eyes only see forward—outward? God designed us to focus on others. Love finds self-satisfaction in the satisfaction of others. By the way, that’s great marriage counseling! Guys always chuckle about the old saying, “Happy wife, happy life,” but it’s true. When we focus on her pleasure, our own lives are more love-filled. Jesus not only guides us, he comforts us—especially during the difficult stretches. Whether we are in recovery over addictions, or we are struggling to love difficult people, Jesus says his spirit will strengthen us, so we can meet the challenges, and not falter. Perhaps the most dramatic example is the first Christian martyr, Stephen. As he is being stoned to death, he declares that he sees Jesus. If God can comfort us in the midst of a violent death he can comfort us at any time! Another beautiful promise in the Psalms is that God will vindicate us before our enemies. We must not seek revenge, because God will avenge us. So, we show kindness to our enemies. If they repent, they’ll owe us gratitude for all eternity. Otherwise, God will take care of the ones who come against his children. A great example is Jonah. He hated his enemies, the people of Nineveh. Nevertheless, he obeys God, and goes through the city, telling them God will destroy them. They repent, and God spares the city of 100,000 for three generations. This means that nearly 300,000 people will thank Jonah, who hated them, for saving their souls! Finally, David tells us that God will never abandon us. In John 14:18 Jesus says: I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. So many of us know abandonment—most often by fathers, but sometimes by spouses, or other loved ones. God is the good-good father. He was the original father, before Adam and Eve ever conceived children. Similarly, even as Jesus was leaving the earth, he promised the Holy Spirit would come to be with us forever. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus says he will always be with us. We are no longer alone—we are reconciled to God Almighty! With God as my Shepherd, I know I am safe, I am loved, I am strengthened, and I am useful. Thank you Lord for being my shepherd. Thank you for having my back! To view a video presentation of this message see: , click on the 08/13/2017 service. The message starts at 56:00.
  17. My name is Chelsea Curran and I'm a newly published author! My first book "Unseen Road to Love" comes out April 11th, and I wanted to have the chance to connect with all my fellow LDS romance readers about the books we love so much, and why they make our hearts sing. I'm a young single adult and spent the last six years trying to figure out the ins and outs of love. At 18, my parents decided to divorce. It wasn't messy, but it struck a raw nerve that forced me to see that growing up, the evidence of their love wasn't consistently present, especially later in their marriage. It was when my mother had agreed with the quote, "Love is what's leftover after the passion and the romance dies" that I wondered if love was even worth pursing. My parents were grieving over so much emotional heartache that it left me with very little hope for myself. At the time I wasn't much of a reader besides enjoying the "Harry Potter series" or "Twilight", and my friends took it upon themselves to introduce me to the wonderful world of LDS literature. Over the past six years, I've read roughly 450 romance novels. Most LDS, others Christian themed or morally based. During this time of intense romantic study, I gained the perspective of literally dozens of authors and their take on what love is truly about. It's one thing to watch a movie where actors portray a feeling on behalf of the writer, but it's another to dive deeply into the thoughts of someone who truly believe love does exist and can be found. Over time, I started gaining my own dating experience and began to apply what was real and what was fantasy based on what I read. What's amazing is that I was able to relate to LDS romances, not just for the obvious reasons, but because each story contains a certain amount of realism in love. If anybody knows of Anita Stansfield, then they know her content contains a lot of trials that people overcome not just in love, but in life. They are stories that people can relate to, such as dealing with divorce, infidelity, death, illness, etc., specifically in the church. These topics are disheartening, but real and allow people to feel a certain empathy in a situation where they lack emotional support. What's even better is that she applies gospel teachings in a realistic example to show how people can heal from it. Of course there others that are just plain fun and put a comedic twist on issues that are my entire life. Living in the single's ward, my lifestyle is every bit as cheesy, dramatic, complicated and awesome as the books are. Finally, I was able to relate to something in bigger ways than "Twilight". Not to bag on "Twilight" but I think you know what I'm talking about. Overtime, as I obtained my own philosophies and writing skills from education and observation, I decided to write my own novel. Gradually I gained more experience in life, refining my ways in how to deal a good story, but more importantly, I learned how to tell a real story directed to the hearts of people who feel the things as I do. I didn't have a big voice growing up, but this was my chance to say something that I learned from all my fellow authors out there. LOVE IS REAL AND ITS FANTASTIC...IF YOU WORK FOR IT. As a teen, I had little hope for it as I blossomed into adulthood, but I had authors willing to share their voice, who gave me what I needed to move forward with confidence and understanding in finding someone to experience it with. I wanted the chance to do the same for others, and so I wrote a story inspired by real events and people who have changed my life for the better. Cedar Fort Publishing felt I did just that! If you want to know more, check out my website or search my LDS romance novel "Unseen Road to Love" on Amazon, available for preorder. My friend and I also have a web show on YouTube called "Words on the Rocks" where we talk about dating in the singles ward and even reenact the awkward dating stories people send us. So tell me...what is your favorite LDS romance novel, and why?
  18. Many Clinton-supporters perceive that Christians supported Trump. The truth? Some did, some did not, and many cast their votes with noses firmly pinched. Nevertheless, the perception has non-believers asking us how we could support someone who did-said-behaved so un-Christ-like. Those Christians who did vote for our President-Elect should take care in their answers not to excuse sin, but rather to focus on those issues and polices that persuaded them. What is eternally more important is our belief that God does not give up on anyone. Clinton or Trump, I would have prayed daily for either one. Two common charges lobbed against our President-Elect, and us, are that we are under-sensitive about racism and sexism. Jesus highlighted the moral superiority of the despised foreigner—the Good Samaritan—against the insular leadership of his own community. He forgave the adulteress, spoke with the foreign woman at the well and surrounded himself with competent, empowered women. He modeled inclusion and integration. Likewise, we believe the church is a place where there is no longer male or female, Greek or Jew, free or slave--we are all one, in Christ. Finally, there is the anger and meanness that Mr. Trump’s opponents accuse him and us of trafficking in. It is folly to engage in arguments over which side is worse. The internet is gummed up with left-wing stories of Trump-supporters engaging in racist, sexist trouble-making. Right-wing media carries similar episodes of violence against Trump-supporters, or just of minorities attacking whites, in the name of protesting. Christians are commanded to live at peace, as much as is possible. We love our enemies and pray for those who insult us. So, what’s a Christian to do in this ramped-up social environment? * We love God and our neighbors. * We care for the widow, the orphaned, and the poor. * We treat the stranger at our gates fairly. * We use just weights and measures in our business. * We work harder and more competently. * We listen hard. * We speak carefully and compassionately, as led by the Holy Spirit. The bottom line is that, in a very tiring age, we refuse to grow weary in doing good. They can malign our politics, and reject our religion, but they cannot argue against the testimony of our good lives.
  19. So often, we hear teachings about how to love, and come away feeling burdened. How can I ever do all of that? Since God is love, we should learn how to love from him. God loves us through speech, through knowledge, and through sacrifice. First, God loved us by speaking the world into existence. Then, after the devil convinced Adam and Eve to rebel, God told them that the devil’s plan to separate humanity from God would be crushed. Finally, at the end of time the Revelation tells us God says he will make all things new. So, how can we speak love like God? We tell of his story in our lives. God rescued me as a 10-year old. I grew up near drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, and suicide. Yet, though the shoulders of life’s highway seem narrow, I remained on the straight and narrow way. Now I minister to prisoners. You may wonder what a guy who never strayed can tell prisoners. I say, “If God can protect a 10-year old kid in that environment, you’ve got no excuses. Go out and serve God!” The Bible also tells us to be slow to speak and quick to listen. We Christians should be the best listeners. After all, God heard us when we cried out to him. If we will listen intentionally some will realize that God hears them too. From those, a few may return the favor, and attend to our good news of Jesus. Besides speaking love, God loves through his knowledge. The Bible says he numbers every hair on our heads. It says he knows what we will say before we say it. He knows how all will end before it begins. Amazingly, according to Jeremiah the prophet, God knew all our hearts would be deceitful. Yet, he still made us in his image. Further, despite all he knows, he waits for us to respond to his wooing—ready to commune with us. We know people will betray us. We know we may be hurt, if we are vulnerable. Yet, we love them—even the unlovely ones. We extend patience and forgiveness, just like God did for us. Finally, God sacrificed for us. His son, Jesus, came and died for us—willingly. Perhaps more amazing is that the Father sent him to do so. We were sinners, with nothing to give God. Yet he gave us his best—his all. So, we sacrifice. We give ourselves over to helping people reconcile with God. We invest our time, money, families—our very lives. We build churches, rehabs, soup kitchens, and shelters. We visit the sick and the imprisoned. We love God and our neighbor. God is love. His love resides as an infinite source in each of his followers. So, how do we love? We rely on his power, so we can speak, listen, and serve—in spite of knowing how people really are. Humanity’s highest meaning is to love God and one another. To know God is to know love. To hear the audio podcast of this message:
  20. As an Evangelical who came of age in the early 1980s, I remember so well the clarity of the world. Democracy vs. Communism and the Moral Majority vs. secular humanism. We figured God would use the church to turn America';s politics and culture to Jesus and righteousness. 30+ years later--what a different world it is! Paul told us to pray for Caesar, not to elect Peter. I will still cast my vote. Nevertheless, my best Christian righteousness will be seen in my love of God and neighbor, far more than in any devotion to a candidate, party, or policy position.
  21. A few centuries ago we thought we had found the meaning of life. Modernism says that we do not need God, because reason and science can tell us what we need to know. They can solve all of our problems. Along came the 1960s. The young adults of that decade believed that humanity was doomed. Environmental disaster, over-population and nuclear war all threatened to wipe us out, well before the millennium ended. Thus, modernism crumbled. In its place postmodernism arose. It is basically anti-modernism—saying that God, science and reason have all failed. Thus, there is no grand meaning in life. Isn’t something is missing from both of these philosophies? If modernism is too proud, postmodernism is too depressing. Perhaps, instead of looking to recent philosophy, we would do better to look back to the wisdom of ancients. Over 3,000 years ago the book of Ecclesiastes records that King Solomon, one of the richest, wisest, most powerful men to ever live, pursued the meaning of life. He examined wisdom—the academe—rigorous study. The book tells us he studied all that was done under the heavens (history and sociology). He considered that which was crooked (engineering), and what was lacking (accounting). He said he knew more than those who ruled before him (politics). He even sought to understand understanding itself (philosophy). Finally he pondered madness and folly (psychiatry and psychology). It was all, according to Solomon, “a chasing after the wind.” Ironically, it was the pursuit of knowledge that got Adam and Eve in trouble. The serpent tempted them by saying that by eating the forbidden fruit they would gain the knowledge of good and evil—thus becoming like God. Is this not post-modernism? It says there is no ultimate truth, so good and evil must be determined individually. Since knowledge failed, Solomon tried diligent labor. He found that hard work produced competition and strife. Similarly, the pursuit of power disappointed because the old king, no matter how wise and noble, would eventually be replaced by a younger one—even though the new one might be foolish and corrupt. King Solomon also went after money. He found that no matter how much people acquired they always wanted more. Then, when death comes, families are left to fight over the spoils. Meaningless! Similarly, pleasure proved folly. Comedy, games, alcohol--even experiencing multiple casual sexual escapades—they offered a season of enjoyment, but ultimately became boring. Knowledge, labor, power, money and pleasure—none of these offer true meaning. So, what is there? Solomon got it right: fear and obey God. Christians explain that “fear” is best understood as sincere love. Further, they say that the love of God is seen in how we treat our neighbors. Some may protest that there are good, generous, loving people who do not believe in God. Irrelevant. If there is a Creator then creation can only find meaning through Him. The meaning of life is found in the Author of our lives.
  22. Prayer to Honor Veterans Preparatory comments: In the Old Testament book of Joshua (1:9) we read God’s charge to the people of Israel, who were about to face many battles, as they entered the Promised Land: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." And then, in the New Testament book of John (15:13), Jesus offers a bit of wisdom that ought to shine honor on every veteran. He said: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. Let us pray: LORD, the military personnel serving today, and those veterans we honor on this day, they have been—and are—strong and courageous. They have loved, not only their friends, but their country—and even those our nation seeks to protect in far-away lands. Because our veterans and military pledge and risk their lives—because they love so sacrificially—we honor them today. They may not seek public accolades. They may not even fully recognize just how much they gave and risked. You do. You see all. So, honor our veterans today: First, by protecting our men and woman who continue to serve in dangerous places today. Then, by providing blessing to our veterans. Bring peace to their hearts and minds. Drive away all anxiety and distress. Provide for their families. Heal their bodies. And, would you plant within them a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction? Military service is never clean, neat and easy. Pain, frustration, and uncertainty are abundant. Heal all of that—and bestow upon our veterans honor—honor for all they risked, and for signing up to defend us when they did not have to. GOD, honor our veterans today … In Your most holy name, amen.
  23. Heaven—it’s the place God sends good people to, when they die, right? According to a 2014 CBS News poll 82% of those who believe in heaven and hell expect to go to heaven when they die. Frankly, if people knew what heaven really was, some might not even want to go. Others would be even more eager. Why? It’s God’s house! Jesus says, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” Think of it! God loves us so much that he’s inviting us to live with him—forever! Amazingly, it took God six days to create this world, but Jesus has been working on our new home for 2,000 years! Also, God described the newly created earth as “good,” but the new heaven is said to be prepared like a bride for her groom! In this kingdom, all sin is gone—including our past failures. No one will look at us, because of what we’ve done! No judgment! No shame! Only love, and God’s eternal presence. Finally, all pain, sorrow, loneliness, and separation from God will be gone. No more temptation to sin, no more doubting and second-guessing ourselves. Instead, our lives will be full of purpose and meaning, as we commune, and even rule with God. So, why will some not want to be there? It’s God house, and He is everywhere. Those determined to oppose God, resist him, and reject him will find themselves much more at home in that realm that is forever separated from God. ​
  24. The topic came up during stake conference, and I found it interesting, so I decided to do some research on the subject. I think that when you help someone knowing that God wanted you to, it helps you to know that there is a God above who cares about you and who will ask someone to serve you if it is His will.
  25. … and yours is wrong! I do not say that, nor do I mean it. However, in today’s post-modern milieu it is almost an offense to even say, “I am a Christian.” The simple statement is interpreted as a religious triumphalism, an arrogance, and an intolerance of all else. Ironically, those most offended are not my fellow religionists, but the rising tide of “nones.” Those who have no religion, or no organized religion, or who are “spiritual, but not religious,” or just who choose not to be bothered with such things, tend to be the ones who put a bite into the question, “Why is your religion right?” Still, the only way to answer the question is with innocence. That is, as if the enquirer really wants to know. I am a Christian because monotheism, universal appeal, and sacrificial love all strike as essential elements to a God that is real, and whom I would follow. In today’s world, if God is not one then they are not all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere-present. They are limited. We shall, through invention and progress, eventually surpass them. I would rather go about my life than be encumbered by demigods that just might bless me. Along the same track, if God is one, then does He care about us—about me? If not, again, I would avoid him. If God cares, would He not find a mechanism to show that care, and bring about interaction, that is all over the world. He would not limit himself to a tribe or language. Finally, is God good? I will not debate the presence of evil in the world today. Rather, I look to the simple love story of Christianity. God condescended to sending his Son, to become God-in-the-flesh. A real, historical, human. Jesus died so we could live. What a love story! No other God-story reads like that. So, I prayed. I believed. Now I follow—a God who’s religion is universal, who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere-present. The God who loves me. That’s why I am a Christian. That’s why I am right.