Saturday, August 23, 2014

honoring the past

I got chills while watching this. If you want, you can look into the Warsaw Uprising, which is what they're commemorating in this video, but basically it was an uprising that took place in Warsaw, Poland during WWII where the Poles tried to liberate themselves and over 200,000 ended up being killed.
It's so neat that even today, decades later, the lost lives of these people are still being remembered and honored.

I was able to attend the funeral of my great-grandpa this week, and it was such a special day spent honoring him and all that he did in his life. How long will he be remembered on this earth? How long will I be remembered on this earth?

It is so important to remember and commemorate our history. You are the person you are because of those who came before you. The world is the way it is because of centuries upon centuries of decisions and events that have shaped it. Literature is the way it is because of the literature that was written yesterday. The same can be said of music and movies and pretty much anything else.

The things that we do today will affect the future in ways that we can't fully realize.

The history of the world is just one long story that includes the lives of many people who have helped write it and will continue to help write it.

What are you going to contribute to the world's story? And how will you remember those who came before you?

Sorry this was a quickie post, I've just been busy! Have a great first week of school! :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

controversy and compassion

Bold claims spark a lot of debate and criticism. 
Is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and all the truths that it entails, a bold claim? It depends on who you ask, but many would say that yes, it is. Saving grace? Infinite mercy? Loving Savior? Eternal life?
Bold, indeed. 

Our church gets a lot of attention. "Mormons" are starting to be nationally and even, in some places, globally recognized, especially in recent years. 
Are we nationally - even globally - positively being recognized? Ha. Not even close. 

We are even - and here's what I am kind of trying to address - bombarded with criticism, anger, and doubt coming from our own members. 
Some believe women are being oppressed in our church. "Ordain women!" They cry. 
Some believe we ought to be more accepting toward the gay community. "Equality for all!" They cry.
And there's more. These are just a couple of the biggest ones, but my point is that there's controversy and doubt surrounding our lovely church. 

Look, I don't care where you stand on ordaining women or gay rights or any of the other stuff. These subjects are complicated and touchy because we simply don't understand God and His eternal plans. And, quite frankly, we don't always understand our fellow humans and their internal struggles, and we aren't always very willing to try.
We know where the church stands, but sometimes we struggle. Doubts creep in and we dwell and we dwell until sometimes we don't know what to believe. 

I don't think we can ever truly understand God and why He does what He does, at least not while on this earth. 
We try to make sense of it. But we all make sense of it in different ways, which I think causes problems sometimes. For example, I know some people quite personally who hope for a day when women will be ordained. Do I hope for that? No. But I do understand that for some people, this is a real desire and a real struggle, and I try to at least acknowledge that and try to understand and reach out to them. 

Here's what I'm getting at, really: We're all different. We all have different opinions, and even within the church, some of us are going to disagree on doctrine and believe different things. 
If we could put on some sort of goggles that made it so we could suddenly see all things with God's perfect understanding and wisdom, that would be great. That would undoubtedly clear some things up. But unfortunately, that isn't possible. We are just going to have to trust and have faith and wait patiently and faithfully for the day when we will see all things as He sees them. 

In the meantime, let us be understanding of and compassionate toward our brothers and sisters who struggle and who believe different things than us. None of us have a perfect knowledge. None of us have perfect lives, and some of us believe in or hope for things that another person may not be able to understand or relate to. 
It's all part of the human experience, my friends. We aren't perfect, and we aren't the same. 

But here's what I think we can all agree on: 
God is good. He is over all, and He knows what He's doing. Jesus Christ is full of grace and mercy, and he understands and loves each and every one of us. 
I think we can all say that we love our family and our friends and that we want to be with them forever. 
I think we can all say that we love the gospel. 

The gospel is amazing, friends. And the church is amazing, too. It's run by and made up of imperfect people, but somehow it works. 
And it will continue to work and be an incredible vehicle for Christ's gospel, so long as we continue to support and love one another. 

So until Christ comes again, until we actually have a perfect knowledge and understanding, praise God. Because even with all the turmoil and controversy that's in the world - and even in the church, sometimes - God never changes. 
No matter what I struggle with, no matter what turmoil I have in my life, I will sing praises until I die. I have so many reasons to. God is so good to me, and so good to us all. 

So don't get caught up in little doubts and troubles. The gospel is good. It's true. It's simple

"Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes."

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman on Grooveshark


Sunday, August 3, 2014

rich, indeed.

Memaw from Milestone Creative on Vimeo.

"Let me tell you how rich we are. Whatever money can't buy, death can't take away from you."

"It doesn't matter if you're hurt or what. Nobody can take away my good name. Nobody can take away the peace that passes all understanding.
"It's amazing how rich we are."

How rich are you?
As far as God's blessings go, you are very rich indeed.
We are so blessed. So favored. So, so fortunate to be endowed with so many amazing privileges.

God is so loving and so merciful to me. I can see His hand daily in my life, and I know that I always have reason to rejoice in the Lord.
No matter how tough life gets, no matter how confused or broken-hearted we may be, God is still there. He is unwavering, ever-faithful, and ever-loyal.

He desires to enrich your life and to see you living in peace, joy, and righteousness.
He desires to see you embrace the blessing and the comfort that is Christ's grace.
He desires - more than anything else - to have you home with Him.

My friends, the day is not too far off where we will be home with Him. But in the meantime, He has promised not to leave us comfortless. We have so much to be happy about. So much to live for, and so much to look forward to.

Begin each new day with happiness and gratitude. We can all experience richness, just the way Miss Betty Sue Cox does. All you have to do is have a positive attitude, recognize God in your life, and live every day of your life to the fullest.

Have the richest and the loveliest of weeks,


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