"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."
August 27, 2006

Love your enemies…

I love [these persecutors] so much that if I had it in my power to annihilate them from the earth I would not harm a hair of their heads…I love them so well that if I could possibly make them better men, convert them from the error of their ways I would do it, God being my helper. I love them so much that I would not throw straw in their way to prosperity and happiness. but so far as possible I would hedge up their headlong and downward course to destruction…That is how I feel towards them, and that is how much I love them, and if this is not the love that Jesus desired us to have for our enemies, tell me what kind of love we should have for them? I do not love them so much that I would take them into my bosom, or invite them to associate with my family, or that I would give my daughters to their embraces, nor my sons to their counsels. I do not love them so well that I would invite them to the councils of the Priesthood, and the ordinances of the House of God. to scoff and jeer at sacred things which they do not understand…I do not love them with that affection with which I love my wife, my brother, my sister or my friend. There is a difference between the love we should bear towards our enemies and that we should bear towards our friends.” — Elder Joseph F. Smith. son of the martyred Hyrum Smith and nephew of the martyred Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. — 1882 October General Conference

August 26, 2006

Inside Out

The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human behavior. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1985, p. 5

August 19, 2006

Like a Rock

What we too often fail to realize is that at the same time we covenant with God, he is covenanting with us — promising blessings, privileges, and pleasures our eyes have not yet seen and our ears have not yet heard. Though we may see our part in the matter of faithfulness as going by fits and starts, by bumps abd bursts, our progress erratic at best, God’s part is sure and steady and supreme. We may stumble, but he never does. We may falter, but he never will. We may feel out of control, but he never is. The reason the keeping of covenants is so important to us is at least partly because it makes the contract so binding to God. Covenants forge a link between our telestial, mortal struggles and God’s celestial, immortal powers. — Patricia Holland, God’s Covenant of Peace, in The Arms of His Love, p. 372

August 18, 2006

He IS the Son of God

Fifty years ago or more (circa 1921), when I was a missionary, our greatest responsibility was to defend the great truth that the Prophet Joseph Smith was divinely called and inspired and that the Book of Mormon was indeed the word of God.  But even at that time there were the unmistakable evidences that there was coming into the religious world actually a question about the Bible and about the divine calling of the Master himself.  Now, fifty years later, our greatest responsibility and anxiety is to defend the divine mission of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, for all about us, even among those who claim to be professors of the Christian faith, are those not willing to stand squarely in defense of the great truth that our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, was indeed the Son of God.  — President Harold B, Lee in an address to the LDS Student Association, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, 10 October 1971

August 17, 2006

“Now I know man is nothing”

Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted. He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about ‘His glory’s dimunition’? A man can no more diminish God’s glory be refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell. But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him…and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. If we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God — though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain. Yet the call is not only to prostration and awe; it is to a reflection of the Divine life, a creaturely participation in the Divine attributes which is far beyond our present desires. We are bidden to ‘put on Christ’, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little. — C.S. Lewis from The Problem of Pain

July 28, 2006

See?

“…there are millions out there for whom thinking would indeed be a challenge. And that is why it is possible for one person to lead millions into busy lives with inactive minds. Listen to the horrendous illogic that sounds forth from the gatekeepers of our culture when they try to make a case against the sacred. The aurgumentative capacity of talk-show hosts who make moral pronouncements against morality is exceeded only by a pathetic inability to build a sound argument. The move from unsubstantiated premises to invalid deductions consistently color their faulty thinking, and what is more, the same fallacies get transmitted to uncritical hearers. Assertions claiming truth frequently go uncorroborated, and the arguments that are built show a complete disregard of validity. One can only shake one’s head in disbelief and marvel at how mushy our thinking has become. The science and art of critical thinking have been humiliated in a generation that thinks with its eyes. — Ravi Zacharias, Deliver Us from Evil, p. 140

July 23, 2006

Who’d of Thunk It!

Regarding a happenstance sidewalk meeting in Romania between an American and a Romanian - both Christians - during the Cold war.

“…The American visitor could not have dreamed then that the day would come when the church of Christ in Romania would play such a pivotal role in displacing a murderous and ruthless dictator. Nor could he have forseen, by contrast, a day when the dictates of government in America would make the naming of Christ in the public arena a risky proposition. Though Romania has proven that seventy years of a brutal atheistic regime could not eradicate spiritual hunger by relegating it to privacy, here in America we are making a fresh attempt to privatize religious belief in the hope, at least of some, to silence it.

“The dramitic change in direction toward spiritual issues taken by the two contrasting ideologies of totalitarian government and democracy may be the most astonishing reversal of the twentieth century. And the confounding silence of the powers in place who leave the subject undiscussed and ignore its drastic ramifications is even more mystifying. The wildest speculator could not have predicted that religious ideas would be brought into the open for discussion in what were once Marxist countries, while in democracies the same ideas would be held, for all practical puposes, under house arrest…

“…In the name of nonoffensiveness, religion is privatized and relegated to the home, while in the name of freedom all kinds of indecencies and abandonments are made public. How ironic that sexuality and nudity, which are meant to be private, are now fare for public consumption while spiritual convictions, which are meant to strengthen public polity, are now for private expression only. ” — Ravi Zacharias, Deliver Us from Evil, p 104-105, 107-108

July 20, 2006

Humility?

“I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted Him to do, and we should be obliged if He would now leave us alone. As we say, ‘I never expected to be a saint, I only wanted to be a decent ordinary chap.’ And we imagine when we say this that we are being humble.

“But this is the fatal mistake. Of course we never wanted, and never asked to be made into the sort of creatures He is going to make us into. But the question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us. He is the inventor, we are only the machine. He is the painter, we are only the picture. How should we know what He means us to be like? You see, He has already made us something very different from what we were. Long ago, before we were born, when we were inside our mothers’ bodies, we passed through various stages. We were once rather like vegetables, and once rather like fish: it was only at a later stage that we became like human babies. And if we had been conscious at those earlier stages, I daresay we should have been quite contented to stay as vegetables or fish — should not have wanted to be made into babies. But all the time He knew His plan for us and was determined to carry it out. Something the same is now happening at a higher level. We may be content to remain what we call ‘ordinary people’: but He is determined to carry out a quite different plan. To shrink back from that plan is not humility: it is laziness and cowardice. To submit to it is not conceit or meglomania; it is obedience.” — C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

While ‘Brother’ Lewis, not being afforded the Plan of Salvation ‘lectures’, erroneously surmises that we never intended to be like Heavenly Father, he rightfully asserts that perfection is what He intends.  I enjoy this thought so very much because he astutely points out how - if left to ourselves - we would settle for something way below ‘our privileges.’  Thankfully, and unlike ourselves, He has not forgotten premortal promises.

May 11, 2006

Eggs

[Jesus] “never talked vague, idealistic gas. When he said, “Be perfect,” He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder — in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I Don’t Understand

“We believe that the death of Christ is just that point in history at which something absolutely unimaginable from the outside shows through into our own world.  And if we cannot picture even the atoms of which our own world is built, of course we are not going to be able to picture this.  Indeed, if we found that we could fully understand it, that very fact would show it was not what it professes to be — the inconceivable, the uncreated, the thing from beyond nature, striking down into nature like lightning.  You may ask what good it will be to us if we do not understand it.  But that is easily answered.  A man may eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him.  A man can accept Christ without knowing how it works: indeed, he certainly would not know how it works until he has accepted it.

“We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed away our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself.  That is the formula.  That is Christianity.  That is what has to be believed.”  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity