Are Ye All One in Christ?

man sad, alone, in water with gray skies overhead

A couple days ago I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I ran across a tweet that saddened me greatly:

I just deleted my tweet about my question about the book of Revelation. I have never gotten anymore hate or ignorant comments than from Christians!

That is very telling.

What a terrible example we are setting? Do we say we are Christian and yet attack those who seek assistance interpreting scripture?

I have seen more Christians attacking Christians than ever should be. How are we living our faith if we are adding to the contention in the world? The sad fact is, we are allowing our fears and differences guide us.

  • Does it matter which “image” of Christ we carry in our minds? “No!”
  • Does it matter which “aspect” of Christ our group of disciples focus on? “No!”
  • Does it matter which “name” of Christ we use most often? “No!”
  • Does it matter how far along the path of discipleship someone else is? “No!”

What matters is that we made the choice to follow Christ. In following Christ we should have compassion for those on a different part of their path. What matters is that we act as brothers and sisters to every other disciple along the way.

Perhaps we could use a reminder from our Exemplar, I like this one from Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, chapter 3 verses 26-29:

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

When we remember that we are all one in Christ, then we can better act as examples of Christ to the world, as we are commanded in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 16:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

When we act from fear instead of glorifying our Father in Heaven, we push away those who may be new to their path of discipleship, and what’s more, we bring down upon our heads the hatred and persecution of non-believers.

I pray that we, as disciples of Christ Jesus, will remember to Fear Not, that He may be with us and we with Him.

May God bless you in your discipleship,
Sarah

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Continually Seek Secular and Sacred Education

I recently read a message from a teacher who was celebrating what she called the “Last Day of Learning.” This simple phrase hit me hard and highlighted a frustration with the worldly view of education. The world’s view of education is that learning is only for children and young adults, and that becoming educated is so difficult that “breaks in learning” are required for each season. The world tells us that once the desired level of education is reached, that we have “completed” our learning and entered our work phase in life.

However common sense AND the Lord teach us differently. Common sense shows that even in the “working world,” we need to continue learning new things. Whether it is learning how to make a new product, learning a more efficient tool, or learning a new computer program for orders. Learning continues constantly. Even as children, during the so-called “breaks” from learning, many are learning new skills, like sports, or scouts, or chores at home.

The Lord goes a step farther than common sense. He has instructed us, nay, Commanded us to continue learning. In D&C 88:118 He tells us, “seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf says, “For members of the Church, education is not merely a good idea—it’s a commandment.” We are to learn “of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad” (D&C 88:79).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life … he will have so much the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:18–19).

President Russell M. Nelson taught,  “Your mind is precious!  It is sacred. Therefore, the education of one’s mind is also sacred. Indeed, education is a religious responsibility.  Of course, our opportunities and abilities will vary a great deal. But, in the pursuit of one’s education, individual desire is more important than {the institution}.”

He continues, “Our Creator expects His children everywhere to gain an education as a personal endeavor. … When you leave this frail existence, your material possessions will remain here, but the Lord has declared that the knowledge you acquire here will {go with you to Heaven}.”

Elder Uchtdorf also taught, “In our learning, let us not neglect the fountain of revelation. The scriptures and the words of modern-day apostles and prophets are the sources of wisdom, divine knowledge, and personal revelation to help us find answers to all the challenges in life. Let us learn of Christ; let us seek out that knowledge which leads to peace and truth.”

We have been told that “the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:36). We are separated from the animals of this earth by the simple fact of our spirits. Our spirits are often referred to in the scriptures as intelligences. Our intelligence is our inheritance from our Father in Heaven, it is our divine gift. And He has asked that we do all we can to learn and become more like Him every day. There is no end to learning, any more than there is an end to loving. Learning is another way to say that we are seeking truth. How many times do the scriptures refer to Christ as Truth and/or Light? These terms are interchangeable in the scriptures, and they are repeated hundreds of times.

To become like Christ we must continually seek Him. To seek Him we must continually learn. It is never-ending, it is eternally rewarding, it is endlessly fulfilling. In this house, we are life-long learners.

Blessings,
Sarah

God’s Tiers of Learning – Tier 1

When the Israelites left Egypt, they had been in living in captivity for centuries. They were not an enlightened people, they had just begun the first step on the path of recovery from all the bad habits and thought distortions that had helped them survive the worst conditions imaginable. These habits and mental justifications become ingrained so deeply, that tens of thousands of the Israelites chose to perish in the wilderness rather than accept a new, higher code of conduct.

How often do we see this pattern repeated around us? So many loved ones and friends would rather cling to the justifications for their behaviors rather than accept the work required in following Christ (or any great religious teacher at this point). Much of our current culture is bending over backwards to rationalize their desire to “do away” with religion, morality, and God in their lives.

This poisonous mindset did not work out well for the Israelites in the desert, and someday soon, it will work just as badly for the sad milllions around the world. I have not counted the number of times the Israelites were given a chance to follow a simple commandment, and chose to suffer death instead. I can only imagine the heartbreak and frustration God felt while watching this play out over and over. Whether it was looking up at the brazen serpent, or not going into Canaan after they complained that it would be too hard. Again and again, they fell by thousands and tens of thousands to the natural consequences of their disobedience.

God, in His long-suffering nature, suffered with them through this painful transition time. Recognizing their spiritual weakness, He gave them strict, but simple commandments. These commandments, the Ten overarching ones, along with the many daily and habitual ones, are commonly referred to as the Law of Moses.

The Law of Moses, especially the Ten Commandments, were designed by God to bring His people, then and now, out of slavery. How can we relate to this slavery? Slavery is the complete loss of freedom, the inability to choose for yourself any of the basic decisions like; where you will sleep, what you will eat, etc. When we allow ourselves to be led astray by temptations and addictions, we bind ourselves in a form of slavery to our carnal nature. Take a moment to envision how the following choices can limit our options and restrict our freedom to act for ourselves:

  • Alcoholism
  • Gluttony
  • Violence against others
  • Vandalism, theft
  • Drug addiction
  • Pornography
  • Insert your own ideas

The path back out of the bondage from these choices is never easy. Even the laws of man recognize the need for rehabilitation clinics and psychologists and a myriad of social services to aid people back into a state of freedom. God set out His plan for the path to recovery thousands of years ago. He guided the Israelites lovingly, patiently through the desert of rehabilitation; sometimes with harsh interventions, but always, every day, letting them know that He was present.

The lessons He taught them, the commandments He gave them, were designed to bring them out of captivity, not just their bodies, but their minds and spirits as well. The liberation of their minds and spirits was a much longer process than their bodies, but He stayed with them, guiding them as a loving parent, throughout the process. Until finally, they were a people prepared to establish a great nation in the promised land.

As we work to establish ourselves in an “American Dream” or other such vision of success, let us study the first tier of learning set out by our loving Father in Heaven. Study the Ten Commandments and the journey of the disobedient Israelites, and we can find our own Promised Land.

More on the Tiers of Learning to come.

Blessings,
Sarah

Photo by Zulmaury Saavedra on Unsplash

I Am Undeserving

Psalm 100:4

The Lord has blessed me in such immeasurable ways, that I cannot begin to understand them all, let alone re-pay him.

I am grateful for my husband, he is loving, considerate, passionate, hard-working, he cares deeply about our welfare and gives his all to provide for us. He is also less-than-perfect in all the best ways for me. Working to overcome my pride and take care of his fragile heart, have made me a better wife and woman in general. I love him so completely.

I am grateful for my kids. I am blessed with three amazing children that I get to watch grow and learn every day. I am also blessed with one brilliant, defiant son from my first marriage who challenges me to grow farther and fastest than I ever imagined. I am also blessed with 5 step-children who amaze me with their capacity for respect and forgiveness. These nine beautiful souls have touched my life and my heart and caused it to grow beyond my comprehension. I love them each so dearly.

I am grateful for my rental home. I am blessed with just the right amount of space to teach my kids and let them be safe exploring outside. We have enough room for all our kids to be comfortable at night, even if they all come visit at once. We are in a good neighborhood and enjoy our neighbors.

I am grateful to have two cars again. It is truly wonderful to be able to go to the library and the homeschool coop while my husband is at work, without having to wake everybody up at 6 am to get ready and take him there. I am grateful that these cars are well-maintained and will last us a good long while, barring anything unforeseen.

I am grateful to have reliable internet service and a computer. I am blessed to be able to have the resources to build a business that I can run from within our home. I love being able to care for and teach our children, as well as hopefully have the means to provide the extra income we need to pay down our debt and save for our own home.

I am grateful for cellphones. I am blessed to be able to talk to my husband and other family members regardless of the distance between us.

I am grateful for indoor plumbing and a hot water heater. I am blessed to be able to drink and cook with clean water, and shower in very warm water.

I am grateful for our refrigerator and freezer. I am blessed to be able to store and preserve foods, so that we may eat healthy food.

I am grateful for our furnace and fireplace. I am blessed that my family can be warm at night, even when it’s 5 below.

I am grateful for many other temporal blessings that the Lord has provided my family and I. Perhaps I will continue counting them another day.

For now, Blessings to You, and Thanks for stopping by!
Sarah

Man’s Laws Are Not the Answer

We need to turn our children to Christ

Our country is shaken and mourning from yet another mass murder at a school. Yet as we mourn, we are becoming inured to the tragedy of it, and turning more to rallies and politics. We are turning away from our homes and children and churches, and turning up our volume and anger and disgust. In short we are turning away from Christ, which is precisely what will contribute to the problem.

If we truly want the answer to the violence that plagues our children, we have to acknowledge that Man does not possess the answer. Nor can Man create any law that will heal our children’s hearts. We need to accept that in order to heal our children, we need to turn to them, and turn them to Christ.

We need to accept that in order to heal our children, we need to turn to them, and turn them to Christ.

Try this, set aside a few extra minutes with your child tonight (or over the next several nights, depending on how many you care for). As you tuck them in, ask them some of these questions:

  • How did your day go?
  • Did you have any trouble with anyone today?
  • Can you think of a way that you can improve your relationship with them?
  • Did you notice anyone struggling or lonely today?
  • Can you think of ways that you could show them Christ-like love tomorrow?
    • Smile at them.
    • Wave hello.
    • Say, “Hi.”
    • Sit with them at lunch.
    • Talk to your friends about being nicer to them.

As you have a conversation about showing Love to others with your kids, you will help them become part of the solution. Remember Christ’s words:

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. – Matthew 22:39

Man’s Laws have second and third order effects that we cannot fully comprehend, but God’s Laws are perfect. Love each other and we are all healed.

Blessings,
Sarah