Personal Online Journal

Friday, May 30, 2008

which easily doth beset me

God does not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. I must repent of all my sins to return to Him. In the words of President Hinckley, I must do my best to follow Jesus. That means to do my best in each moment of my life. I will admit, I do not always do my best. Sometimes I am willful, rebellious and even downright belligerent.

Where does that place me? Am I to be damned? Perhaps if I continue down that path of rebellion. To insist that God do things on my timetable. To throw a fit when things don't turn out the way I want.

There is joy in salvation of God. Salvation that occurs right now. The one that immediately comes to me as I turn my heart to Him. By my own free will, surrender anything that keeps me from communion with Him. Give up anything that would keep me from benefiting from living a life as He would.

How does this transformation take place? Immediately, yes, there are moments when I feel contrition. I feel His love as I recommit to do better. I am empowered by his Grace. He says to me, "Go and sin no more". Then there is the everyday fulfilling of my promise. Did I do a little better today than yesterday? Do I have the integrity to admit when I messed up to those involved? How long do I take to repent? Is it a matter of seconds, minutes, days, decades?

Sometimes I get overwhelmed. I feel there is too much to do. I cannot fulfill all my commitments. I do best at these times to remember to do something good. If I cannot do everything, do something. Make myself busy keeping my word.

As I listened to Alma 7, I thought about these things.
Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism
The phrase "which doth easily beset" caught in my mind. I remembered that I need to prioritize my repentance. Work on the things that most easily trip me up. Improve on those things that help me to improve in other things. Things such as communion in prayer. Searching the scriptures. Having a meaningful sacrament. Improving my relationships with my wife and children.

When I am feeling down, it gives me hope when I think of doing one thing. One thing to improve. One thing to be busy about. I often think of the scripture at D&C 123:17. To cheerfully do.
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed
When I do my best, I feel confident that the Lord will protect me spiritually. If need be, legions of angels are at my need to bear me up. To strengthen me as the Savior was in Gethsemane. He asked for and received the help he needed. Elisha asked the Lord to open the eyes of his servant so he might see the physical protection the Lord provided 1 Kings 6:15-17.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"sin wickedly cloaked in the robes of piety"

I relate too well to Albert in The Holy Secret. It hit me when I read the phrase, "sin wickedly cloaked in the robes of piety" (p 134). He said it when he pushed too far teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He appropriately prayed silently, immediately, "Help me to love him, Father - to love him more than knowledge". To love your (child, student, anyone you happen to be talking to when on the sacred ground of repentance and forgiveness) more than being the sage.

James Ferrell says it again succinctly, "No heartache will be soothed by one who merely spouts doctrine at another's pain, even if the doctrine is true". He has a footnote there to D&C 50:17-18, "Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God" (emphasis added).

It has been pointed out to me recently that how I communicate is more important than the words sometimes. Am I speaking to ensure they know I am right? Do I seek to understand before seeking to be understood? Do I admit my fault in the argument we had? Being "right" about a doctrine is trumped by my approach, if I come in with six shooters blazing. Better to be kind. Try to encourage contrition in the speaker and the hearer. Acknowledge my position as beggar before the Lord. Both become hearers of the Spirit. Both are edified and rejoice because of the grace God offers us. The grace we immediately feel because our wills are given to Him. We glory in the healing we feel.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Jesus has cleaned up a lot of messes after me

In the last 18 hours one of my kids has had some bowel issues. Not fun to clean up. Something occurred to me during the first episode. Jesus has cleaned up a lot of messes after me. Even when I did my best to help, I just spread the mess around.

It was much easier to deal with the yuck with this in mind.