Personal Online Journal

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Volunteer myself

Yesterday, I felt to reach out more. When I suggested it to my wife she was hesitant. That was because what I was suggesting required much more from her than from me.

Before I suggest something to her, perhaps these would be good questions to ask myself, "Will what I am suggesting require something significant from her? Is what I am considering to do important or merely good? What is the most important thing I should do now?"

Saturday, February 24, 2007

This was what He most wanted

More from Truman G. Madsen's talk "The Savior, the Sacrament, and Self-Worth". He told a story from his journal,
It was in Amman, Jordan some years ago. We had just come from a parched visit to Egypt where even the native Bedouin can survive, at most, three hours without water. We had said to some of our friends, "This should remind you of the two words spoken from the cross, the only self-regarding words which are a sure sign of the loss of blood. Jesus said: 'I thirst'" (John 19:28).

That night I had a dream. I was beaten down to my hands and knees and was conscious of a burning thirst. In the illogic of dreams there was somehow a small cup filled with liquid—an unearthly liquid. It was radiant. It was delicious. It was cool. But as I lifted it to my lips it was as if two hands were placed behind me, not touching, but close to my head, and from them came a kind of throb, a comfort, a warm feeling, and then the miracle. As I drank in relief, the cup filled again and again. The more I sought to quench my thirst, the more it flowed. A wave of gratitude came over me to the Christ—for in the dream it was Christ. My impulse was to turn around, stop drinking, and thank him. But then came the sweet assurance that my drinking was His thanks—that this was what He most wanted—that this was His reward, even his glory, like a gracious hostess, who takes delight in seeing her family and guests eat heartily. I knew and I knew He knew, so I drank and drank until I was full. Only then was He gone.
Here is the link.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"It's my fault"

I was reading Joel Spolsky today and it reminded me of our lesson yesterday in Elder's quorum meeting.

One morning I needed an extra set of keys to my apartment, so on the way to
work, I went to the locksmith around the corner.

13 years living in an apartment in New York City has taught me never to trust a locksmith; half of the time their copies don’t work. So I went home to test the new keys, and, lo and behold, one didn’t work.

I took it back to the locksmith.

He made it again.

I went back home and tested the new copy.

It still didn’t work. Now I was fuming. Squiggly lines were coming up out of my head. I was a half hour late to work and had to go to the locksmith for a third time. I was tempted just to give up on him. But I decided to give this loser one more chance.

I stomped into the store, ready to unleash my fury.

“It still doesn’t work?” he asked. “Let me see.”

He looked at it.

I was sputtering, trying to figure out how best to express my rage at being forced to spend the morning going back and forth.

“Ah. It’s my fault,” he said.

And suddenly, I wasn’t mad at all.

Mysteriously, the words “it’s my fault” completely defused me. That was all it took.

He made the key a third time. I wasn’t mad any more. The key worked.

And, here I was, on this planet for forty years, and I couldn’t believe how much the three words “it’s my fault” had completely changed my emotions in a matter of seconds.

Most locksmiths in New York are not the kinds of guys to admit that they’re wrong. Saying “it’s my fault” was completely out of character. But he did it anyway.

Our lesson was from "The Miracle of Forgiveness" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball). In this chapter, there is a scripture that is quoted twice, “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” (D&C 58:43.)

Last week, I had an argument with someone I care about. After it, I still held strong feeling about a particular part. A couple of days ago, I talked to this person and shared how I felt. I noticed that the strong feelings I had left as soon as I shared them. I no longer was holding a grudge. By sharing how I felt and not accusing, our conversation was mild. After I confessed holding a grudge, it left.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hope of the Miracle of Forgiveness

Our lesson yesterday in Elder's quorum was from Spencer W. Kimball, "The Miracle of Forgiveness"

[President Kimball] told of an experience he had in helping a woman who came to him feeling despondent about the sin she had committed. She said: “I know what I have done. I have read the scriptures, and I know the consequences. I know that I am damned and can never be forgiven, and therefore why should I try now to repent?”

President Kimball responded: “My dear sister, you do not know the scriptures. You do not know the power of God nor his goodness. You can be forgiven for this heinous sin, but it will take much sincere repentance to accomplish it.”

He then quoted to her several scriptures regarding the forgiveness that comes to those who sincerely repent and obey God’s commandments. Continuing to instruct her, he saw hope awaken in her until finally she exclaimed: “Thank you, thank you! I believe you. I shall really repent and wash my filthy garments in the blood of the Lamb and obtain that forgiveness.”

President Kimball recalled that the woman eventually returned to his office “a new person—bright of eye, light of step, full of hope as she declared to me that, since that memorable day when hope had seen a star and had clung to it, she had never reverted to [the sin] nor any approaches to it.”

This reminded me of a talk I recently listened to from Truman G. Madsen, "The Savior, the Sacrament, and Self-Worth". A couple of things stood out to me,

"We often consider ourselves more or less worthless and in some moods, even beyond help, and we approach the sacrament hesitantly and superficially. But worse still. We do not trust the good news. We do not trust the glad tidings. We do not trust the second opinion of the only Physician who will ever finally judge. This is the Christ. This is He who pleads with us to come boldly to the throne of Grace." (emphasis added, See also Heb. 4: 16)

Also this, "Being born again comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 162). Truman Madsen continues, "It means, as I understand it, that the fullest flow of the Spirit of God comes to us through His appointed channels or ordinances. The sacrament is the central and oft-repeated ordinance that transmits that power to us. Indeed, it is the ordinance that gives focus to all other ordinances."