What's In This Blog

I created this blog for my journal. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this blog I keep many of the things I come across as a member of the church. I also share my experiences on the ACE Train and getting to work, my experiences in Manteca where we have lived for three years, and other things I think are noticeable.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sacrament Meeting Talk 11/23/14: Are We Not All Beggars

Ths Bishop presented us a magnet for our fridge at tithing settlement.  It is a statement from President Monson and our ward theme for the coming year: Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar.
We were taught this lesson by the primary children as they sang a Janice Kapp Perry song:
1. I'm trying to be like Jesus;
I'm following in his ways.
I'm trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say.
At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,
2. I'm trying to love my neighbor;
I'm learning to serve my friends.
I watch for the day of gladness when Jesus will come again.
I try to remember the lessons he taught.
Then the Holy Spirit enters into my thoughts, saying:
"Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught."
Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry, b. 1938
© 1980 by Janice Kapp Perry. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.

When Jesus announced His ministry He focused on his coming to the poor and brokenhearted; “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and … set at liberty them that are bruised.”
As I think of the examples of Christ, I like to think on the stories of his healing the sick and the afflicted.  I would like to share four of these stories.
Luke 17 ten Lepers
Luke 8 issue of blood who touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was healed
John 8 The woman who was taken in adultery
 Now Moses in the alaw commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
He that is without asin among you, let him bfirst cast a cstone at her.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I acondemn thee: go, and bsin no cmore.
 Mark 2   sick of the palsy who was lowered in his bed into the chamber where the Savior was teaching. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be aforgiven thee.
 6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
 7 Why doth this man thus speak ablasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
10 But that ye may know that the aSon of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
 11 I say unto thee, aArise, and take up thy bbed, and go thy way into thine house.
 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God,
Each of those healed, may have been thinking
He healed me, He healed me, I was a slave to pain/sin and He set me free
He went below all things; He carried our sorrows
He took upon himself our guilt, our need, our depression; our sin, our lack, our indiscretion
When Jesus Visited the Americas, He asked the rhetorical question; what manner of men ought we to be?  He answered, Even as I am.  We are not called upon to pay the price of the atonement, but we are asked to follow Jesus. How Can We be Jesus’ exemplar and share his love with others?  What is our role in bringing Jesus’ healing to others?
At the last supper, and just before the atonement, Jesus gave final instruction to his apostles.  Among other lessons he taught:
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34–35).
Many years ago when our children were young, we thought we would have them sing this song with us in church.  Sheri spoke first, and then we were all going to sing, "AS I Have Loved You" with sign.  It was going to be so cute.  However, the kids were small, and they were all sound asleep by the time we were to sing.  Sheri and I stood to sing with children between our feet.
In Luke 10 we read of a lawyer who came to Jesus to tempt Him, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  Jesus responded, What readest thou?  The lawyer replied, Love God with all you Love your heart mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.  Jesus agreed with his answer. This do and thou shalt live.
However the lawyer was looking for an argument, so asked another question, Who is my neighbor?  To this Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan:
A man fell among thieves as he traveled to Jericho.  They took his clothes, food and money, and left him for dead.  A Priest walked by, but not wanted to get involved walked on the other side of the road.  A Levite did the same, However the Good Samaritantook mercy upon him, gave him water and bound his wounds applying wine and oil.  He took him to an inn on his donkey, where he left money for his keep.  Jesus then asked the lawyer
36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
 Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
How do we do likewise?  How do we play a part in the healing of the Lord?

1.     1. Do What You Can
prior to His betrayal and Crucifixion, Mary anointed Jesus’s head with an expensive burial ointment, Judas Iscariot protested this extravagance and “murmured against her.”7
Jesus said:
“Why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work. …
“She hath done what she could.”8
I am reminded of a story about doing what you can.
The Starfish
There was a young man walking down a deserted beach just before dawn.  In the distance he saw a frail old man.  As he approached the old man, he saw him picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea.  The young man gazed in wonder as the old man again and again threw the small starfish from the sand to the water.  He asked him, “Why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?”  The old man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun.  “But there must be thousands of beaches and millions of starfish,” exclaimed the young man, “How can your effort make any difference?”  The old man looked down at the small starfish in his hand and as he threw it to safety in the sea said…… “It makes a difference to this one.”
 Adapted from Loren Eiseley
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland talked of Mother Theresa in this last conference.
“A journalist once questioned Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her hopeless task of rescuing the destitute in that city. He said that, statistically speaking, she was accomplishing absolutely nothing. This remarkable little woman shot back that her work was about love, not statistics. Notwithstanding the staggering number beyond her reach, she said she could keep the commandment to love God and her neighbor by serving those within her reach with whatever resources she had. “What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean,” she would say on another occasion. “But if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less [than it is].”9
We may say, we shouldn’t help a particular person, because he hath brought His suffering upon himself.  Elder Holland talking about King Benjamin, reminds us we are all beggars before God,
Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don’t the rest of us do exactly the same thing? Isn’t that why this compassionate ruler asks, “Are we not all beggars?”11 Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.
King Benjamin:
 26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may awalk guiltless before God—I would that ye should bimpart of your substance to the cpoor, every man according to that which he hath, such as dfeeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.
 27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength.

To serve others, we must be aware of the need of others.  It is possible to hide our heads and miss opportunities to serve.
Eliza’s father, Alfred P. Doolittle form My Fair Lady, had an interesting philosophy
The Lord above made man to help his neighbor; but with a little bit of luck when he comes around you won’t be home.

President Monson recited this poem in April conference:
I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.5   Author unknown, in Richard L. Evans, “The Quality of Kindness,” Improvement Era, May 1960, 340.

Moroni saw our day, and talked to us as if we were present: 
Mormon 8
36 And I know that ye do awalk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not blift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of cvery fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities;
 37 For behold, ye do love amoney, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
39 Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?

Isiah who also saw our day said, 
Isaiah 3: 14 The Lord will enter into ajudgment with the bancients of his people, and the cprinces thereof: for ye have deaten up the vineyard; the espoil of the fpoor is in your houses.
 15 What mean ye that ye abeat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

2.     2. Pray for those in need

Jeffrey R. Holland related the story of the Zoramites and those that were turned away because of their poverty
Alma and Amulek reminded them they can always pray—in their fields and in their houses, in their families and in their hearts.14
But then, to this very group who had themselves been turned away, Amulek says, “After [you] have [prayed], if [you] turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if [you] have [it], to those who stand in need—I say unto you, … your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and [you] are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.”15 What a stunning reminder that rich or poor, we are to “do what we can” when others are in need.
M. Russell Ballard October 2012: In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help.
He continues, President Thomas S. Monson has taught that in many instances Heavenly Father answers another person’s prayers through us—through you and me—through our kind words and deeds, through our simple acts of service and love.
3.     3. Live the law of the fast

Brother Dean M. Davies of the presiding bishopric:
Caring for the poor and needy is a fundamental gospel doctrine and an essential element in the eternal plan of salvation.
In our day, caring for the poor and needy is one of four divinely appointed Church responsibilities that help individuals and families qualify for exaltation.
Central to the Lord’s plan for caring for the poor and needy is the law of the fast. “The Lord has established the law of the fast and fast offerings to bless His people and to provide a way for them to serve those in need.”
Isaiah 58: after chastising those who fast incorrectly, who fast to be seen of men, he describes the correct fast.
 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the abands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go bfree, and that ye break every yoke?
 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the ahungry, and that thou bring the bpoor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from cthine own flesh?
He then describes the blessings that come from this type of fast.
8 ¶Then shall thy alight break forth as the morning, and thine bhealth shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy crearward.
 9 Then shalt thou acall, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am….
 10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the ahungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light brise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
 11 And the Lord shall aguide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in bdrought, and cmake fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a dspring of water, whose waters fail not.

Let me conclude with one last parable of Jesus. Jesus described the final judgement, the dividing of the goats and the sheep, the sheep on the right hand.  Matthew 25
34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
May we be counted with those who have fed, given to drink, clothed, visited and taken in the Lord, by doing what we can, praying for those in need, and living the law of the fast.

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