Talk, 18 Nov 2018


  • A Testimony of the Gathering of Israel
    • Quote by President Nelson “The Gathering of Israel is the most important…”
    • “This gathering is ‘the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth today’!”
    • “My dear young brothers and sisters, these surely are the latter days, and the Lord is hastening His work to gather Israel. That gathering is the most important thing taking place on earth today. Nothing else compares in magnitude, nothing else compares in importance, nothing else compares in majesty.”
    • Do you believe it? Do you and I understand what that means? Are we acting according to our beliefs?
    • My purpose is not to give a historical overview, but to discuss in a spiritual manner.
  • Historical Context
    • Amos 3:7, Prophets have foretold of the Gathering of Israel
    • A Brief History Lesson
    • Ezekiel 36 & Isaiah 52 are a good spiritual explanation of the significance of the Gathering.
      • (Ezekiel 36:17- 18) “when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they adefiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the buncleanness of a removed woman. Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had ashed upon the land, and for their bidols wherewith they had cpolluted it:”
    • All of the Old Testament is a testimony of God’s covenant with Israel. To understand it, is to understand that God will restore the House of Israel according to the covenants that he made.
    • How will Israel be gathered?
    • Its about cleanliness, reconsilation to God, worthiness to return home to His presence.
    • (Ezekiel 36:26-28) “26 A anew bheart also will I cgive you, and a new dspirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony eheart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh 27 And I will put my aspirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the aland that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
  • Christ spoke of the Gathering of Israel
    • Gathered as chicks, and ye would not
    • So did Mary.
    • Parables:
      • Labors in the Vineyard
      • The Wedding Feast?
  • What invitations has President Nelson extended to us to participate in the Gathering of Israel?
  • To the women:
    • First, I invite you to participate in a 10-day fast from social media and from any other media that bring negative and impure thoughts to your mind.
    • Second, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon between now and the end of the year.
    • Third, establish a pattern of regular temple attendance.
    • My fourth invitation, for you who are of age, is to participate fully in Relief Society.
  • To the Youth:
    • First, disengage from a constant reliance on social media, in order to decrease its worldly influence upon you… by holding a seven-day fast from social media.
    • My second invitation is to make a weekly sacrifice of time to the Lord, for three weeks in a row, to let Him know that you want to be part of His youth battalion—more than you want anything else. For three weeks give up something you like to do and use that time to help gather Israel.
    • My third invitation is for you to do a thorough life assessment with the Lord, and perhaps with your parents and your bishop, to ensure that your feet are firmly planted on the covenant path.
    • My fourth invitation is for you to pray daily that all of God’s children might receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    • My fifth invitation is for you to stand out; be different from the world. You and I know that you are to be a light to the world. Therefore, the Lord needs you to look like, sound like, act like, and dress like a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Yes, you are living in the world, but you have very different standards from the world to help you avoid the stain of the world.
  • Summary:
    • Hold a seven-day fast from social media.
    • Make a weekly sacrifice of time to the Lord for three weeks.
    • Keep on the covenant path. If you are off, repent and get back on the path.
    • Pray daily that all of God’s children might receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    • Stand out. Be different. Be a light. Give to a friend one copy of the booklet For the Strength of Youth.
  • Do you believe it? Do we believe that the Gathering of Israel is the most important work that is happening on earth today? Do our actions reflect that priority?
  • President Nelson: “My dear sisters, we need you! We ‘need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices.’4 We simply cannot gather Israel without you.”
  • A sobering post note:
    • We know that Christ is coming, and we know that there will be a people prepared to receive him: Israel will be gathered, while Idumea will burn.
    • That the presiding councils of the Church feel that the Church is now strong enough to reduce the number of hours that we spend at Church and encourage us to replace it with a home-centered curriculum has sent me soul searching. Am I really able to make the Gospel the Center of my home life?
    • The Church is growing and thriving around the globe, especially in regions that are less encumbered with the distractions of the world. Will I be a part of it?
    • Perhaps a quote from Elder Holland sums it up well:

In John, Chapter 3, a ruler among the Jews whose name was Nicodemus, comes to Jesus by night and said:

Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:2-3

Suffer the Children – Morning Thoughts, 5 Oct 2018

This morning’s scripture study was more of a prayer and pondering session. I briefly reviewed my current Book of Mormon study post: “In the Fear of God,” Alma 39:12-19 and also a few entries from my personal blog: “Moroni 10” and  “Baptism and John the Baptist”

In my prayers, I was reflecting on what commandment that Lord would have me be aware of. The answer has been allusive for several days. Part of the answer was that it varies from day to day. Then as I pondered further on what thing God would have me do today, and how I would do anything that Lord would ask me to do, I was brought to consider my daughter Emma’s pregnancy, and how it is that I or Rachel and I could possibly shoulder some of the burden of raising another child, at least in providing childcare services for her.

This has me reflecting upon my desires in children’s media, Mr. Roger’s example, and the opportunity to influence for good the lives of my grandchildren and others.

I feel a need to learn about and study early childhood development. There is much here that I do not understand. All of this is a call to become more like the Savior who suffered the little children to come unto him.

“Suffer the children to come unto you, and teach them how to come unto me.”

Q & A: 26 September 2018

Q: What are the areas of my life that require my attention today? 

A: Executive Planning. I’m not entirely sure I understand this. The Spirit constrained me from adding business or family to the phrase. 

This is about planning for the next month: financially, strategically, organizationally. This is both personally and business,  since both are dependent upon each other. 

  • What are our executive priorities?
  • What activities do we want / need to accomplish next month? 
  • What are our expected financial obligations to accomplish planned activities?
  • What changes need to be made to accomplish objectives?
  • Can you do this on your own or do you need help?
  • If you need help, how are you going to secure that help? 

Q: What are the questions that I’m not asking, that I should be asking?

A: They have been added to the list above: How am I going to get the help I need when it is needed?

Q: How do I achieve a balanced approach in business activities?

A: Planning, observing, assessment, adjustment, prayer.

Q: Is what I am doing right now helping me to be balanced in my business activities? Is that balance important right now? 

A: coding right now so particular sore spot for me. The answer is in the planning. If I keep my head down in the code for too long without looking at the big picture, I get lost.

The Decision of the Council Is Right

For the past week, since our 19th wedding anniversary, I’ve contemplated the power of decisions made in council. In this instance, that council is the executive council of the family (Rachel and I). Most of our challenges and shortcomings have been the result of a failure to work together in council with one another. 

Related is the reality that end of man is to be married to a woman, and to be united in heart and mind in all that we do. It is not enough to have my own thoughts and opinions about a thing. Rather, my voice, my opinion, my perspective is only a part of a greater whole.

What are the doctrines that support these realities? This is a hidden doctrine of leadership in the scriptures. It refers to it but not directly.

Passing Clouds or General Darkness

I was reading over in Alma the other day. Alma’s account here is redemption from that general darkness of which he was engulfed. I don’t understand this seperation:

I share with you again a simple little insight that may help you at certain junctures in your lives. It is that you must not mistake passing local cloud cover for general darkness. They are very different things, and for us to distinguish local cloud cover, which will soon be blown away, for general darkness is a terrible thing, especially with the restored gospel, which is so full metaphorically of light. We must not be mistaken about this.

Sharing Insights from My Life

Spiritual Renewal, Spiritual Strength

I’ve struggled to get on my feet this morning. So I did what I some times do, when I don’t have the capacity of mind or physical presence to focus on a few minutes of scripture study: I watched a bible video.

This morning I actually watched three bible videos: The Widow of Nain, Jesus Walking on the Water, and “I Am the Bread of Life”.

I am reminded that Christ has all power of physical elements, power of death itself, but that Spirit can very much exist in a realm invisible or seemingly apart from this world. However it is the Physical world that is controlled and dominated by the Spirit, not the Spirit by the Physical World.

Another interesting side note is found “between the lines” in the account of Matthew where the Savior walks on water. Peter walks out onto the water, he falters as the winds begin to blow, then the Savior reaches out to him and hold him and chastens him for his lack of faith. Then, and this is what’s not written in the text, they continue to walk on water (defying all physical properties to the contrary) until the return to the boat. What’s more, the conditions continue to be turbulent until they return to the boat as well. Then we finally get the next verse, which informs us that when they returned to the boat the winds ceased to blow.

Thus we see, in effect, Christ walking side by side, hand in hand, with Peter until they return to the boat. Exterior conditions don’t improve, just because he’s close to the Savior, not until they return to the safety of the bigger vessel. There is a lot of strength,   compassion, patience, and love, hidden in between the lines of these few simple verses.

FHE Lesson – Overview of the Book of Mormon

Present the following:

Then ask the kids to pick one story to focus on.

– Provide them with drawing supplies and ask them to draw what they hear as I read the story that they have selected.

At the end of the reading, ask the kids to share what they have drawn and why they drew what they did.

Finish by sharing your testimony of the Book of Mormon, when you came to know it was true, how it has blessed you since then.

Of Mourning and Multitudes

Matthew 14

John the Baptist, through a terrible plot, is beheaded. When the news of his beheading reachs the Savior, Jesus crosses the sea and retires to a (remote) desert place. It appears that he is mourning and is looking for a place of solitude.

However, he is not permitted to do so because immediately upon arrival, a multitude of more than 5000 had followed him! What does Jesus do? He doesn’t turn them away. He administered to them first. Food is miraculously produced. At the end of the day, he compells his disciples to leave by boat, and then he himself “sent the multitude away”. I’m certain there were probably many personal exchanges in that dismissing of the multitude.

All this happened, while looming in the back of his mind was the death of his cousin, closest of kin.

And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to apray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. (vs. 23)

This footnote on prayer simply illustrates how even Christ employed this tool for strength and guidance.