Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Mind of a Faith-Filled Disciple

This is another of my education week classes. Notes as follows: (please remember that I have to cut my notes to the bone to post them-there simply isn't room. And of course the instructor says 3 times what I get down on paper.)
(day 1)Overcoming the World and Our Weaknesses by Faith:
A disciple is more than a 'believer' or a 'hearer'. A disciple is one who entertains a field of discipline, a field of instruction, of schooling or training, of a system of conduct. (see D&C 76:50-54)
A story was told of a school for thoroughbred horses. All are trained to come to a clap and call. Food is then withheld for 3 days. Placed within sight is fresh water and hay, and all the horses are let out. Just before they reach the food comes the clap and call. 80 % go on to the food, only those few who forgo the food and turn to the masters call are allowed to breed to be the sires of champions. They alone will obey and delay gratification. Can we see the final reward clearly enough to ignore the world and obey the master? (see Heb. 11:24-27)
Unless you do what you say you believe in, you don't know if you truly believe.
Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses: . . . it is a masterwork to school our minds so as at all times to exercise complete power over them.
Joseph Smith: Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time. . .
Henry Van Dyke: Thoughts are things. We build our futures thought by thought and so the universe was wrought.
A story told of a young athlete who was in a bad accident which changed her life and abilities completely. She saw that she was still in a position of choice. She could choose self pity, anger and bitterness, or she could go forward with her life. Only her body had changed. She said that she had a body, but she was not her body, she has feelings but she is not her feelings, she has emotions but she is not her emotions. She is a thinker of thoughts, and she chooses the thoughts.
We can think about our thinking right in the process of thinking it and we can change our thinking. We can choose to be positive.
We label ourselves, such as "I'm just not a morning person" like God made us that way. We have no fixed personality. We can change it. We do it all the time. We go to answer the door. We have one personality if the person at the door is an IRS agent coming to discuss our taxes and another personality if the person at the door is Cindy Crawford (Brad Pitt)(someone else we think is hot!) It all depends on our attitude, belief, perspective and character - all things we choose.
At judgment day we will be accountable for our thoughts because when life is completed you will be the sum of, the product of, your thoughts. We alter our destiny by altering our thoughts.
(day2)Cultivating Righteous Desires:
Some of Joseph's visions came as a flow of pure intelligence into his mind. Then he had to find a way to communicate them to us in a way we could understand - into the English language. ( I have said this myself, sometimes the revelation given to the prophet was as simple as, for instance, a strong feeling that we need to find a way to reach the youth. Create a MIA and over the years try to improve how it works. Does the fact that now we have Young Women and Young Men instead mean the church isn't true because it changed and God is supposed to be unchanging? Of course not!)(sorry, sidetracked!) Joseph progressively called the essence of our being; the soul, the mind of man, the immortal spirit, the mind (again), intelligence and then intelligence of Spirits. Our teacher called it "the thinker of thoughts". That part of us responsible for everything we think.
Satan can and does insert inappropriate, untrue, self-denigrating thoughts into our minds, but we can choose to delete them.
Remember the adage "If you make a mess you clean it up"? Well how about "If you don't make a mess you don't have to clean it up"? We don't have to choose to retain improper thoughts. Nobody makes us mad. We allow ourselves to become mad. Happiness is a creation in the corridors of our minds.
David O. McKay: "Man is the creator of his own happiness."
Abraham Lincoln (after losing a senatorial race, losing his mother, losing his first wife) said he was the most miserable man alive and couldn't remain that way. Then he said: "I have come to the understanding that people are about as happy in life as they make up their minds to be."
Helen Keller: "I seldom think of my limitations and they never make me sad."
Stop murmuring, stop doubting, stop complaining, stop finding fault with others and with self. (oh, whoops, that was in my notes, so he said it, but was starred specifically for me).
Do you think you need a reason to be happy? No! Decide to be happy!!! Be an owner, not a victim.
(day3) Choosing Life over Death, One Thought at a Time:
The greatest mystery a man will ever learn is how to master his own mind.
The degree to which we take from what is "there" depends much on the mindset we bring to it. (whatever "there" may be, church, a seminar, FHE etc.)
We receive according to the seeds that we sow. Do we go to a seminar with a mocking attitude, or a desire to learn whatever we can?
2 Nephi 2:27 choose! (here in my notes there is stuff impossible to type Pictures and arrows etc. If you are really interested call me and I'll tell you about it.)
Joseph Smith's cheery disposition was a choice. He had plenty to by depressed about.
When Norman Vincent Peale first said that the happy would live longer, the medical community censured him. Now all believe it. (Power of Positive Thinking)
He told a story about a motorcycle ride. His friend who loves to ride, sees the passing scenery, feels the air flowing past and his interlukin - a chemical in the brain which raises your immune system, is elevated. He, on the other hand is scared of motorcycles, sees the passing scenery, feels the air flowing past and his cortisol - a chemical in the brain which suppresses the immune system, is elevated. Most heart attacks happen on monday. Why? We have a bad attitude about monday. 31% of those who die of heart attacks have no plaque, no high cholesteral. They have a bad reaction to a letter from the homeowners association. (Or the IRS, or the kids.) We can kill ourselves with our thoughts.
Begin where you are and start practicing thinking more positively. We all have bad habits, but they are only habits. When we start thinking differently, things are different.
Look for good. The eye sees what the mind looks for. Look at the life Christ lived, and yet some saw Him as a devil.
(day 4)Internalizing Traits of a Faith-Filled Disciple:
Read the Lectures on Faith. this was the curriculum of the school of the prophets. Used to be in the D&C as the doctrine part.
Don't pray in generalities. If we ask "help us to have a good day" how will we ever know when our prayer is answered? Remember, nothing is foolishness to a child. They are very specific in what they ask. We are told to become as little children. God always answers prayer, and he always answers yes, but he sometimes says I will give you what you ask for or something better. All prayers and answers are based on Faith. Faith, to be faith, must center around something not known. If you know, there is no need for faith.
There are two kinds of faith. Faith born of experience, and faith in things that are scheduled to happen. (such as, if I continue to go to school I will graduate at such and such a time) Faith can cause things to happen.
He told the parable of the grey envelope. A struggling family in a third world country is told by a young man with a badge that if they will give 10% to the Lord he will bless them. They give, and the Lords crazy math comes into play. They are still able to pay their bills. They act- He blesses. They repeat it again next month. They act- He blesses. Their experience is that it works so they begin to look on it as an investment. But God is trying to build faith filled disciples. so a month comes with no blessings. Can we continue to pay? (or attend, or serve or . . . ) We must exercise faith. Grace sometimes has to do with attention and devotion. Keep paying and eventually the Lord backs up a truck full of blessings to our door. Read the Bread of Life discourses in the New Testament.
Remember that the Lord has much more to give us than physical blessings.
Even in trials he is blessing us. He blesses us to grow.
A Faith Filled Disciple: Strives to increase obedience.
A FFD: Strives for mental purity. (see A beautiful Mind. "They aren't gone, and maybe they never will be, but I've gotten good at ignoring them.")
A FFD: Strives to be submissive in Trials
A FFD: Strives to keep covenants meticulously
A FFD: Strives to be faithful to the end.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obstacle in my path

We held pack meeting in our backyard last night. I tried really hard to have the backyard looking good before people came, so of course, all I could see were the weeds. However, we got some lovely comments about everything.
We (meaning sweet C and I and the Cub masters- a husband and wife team) built an obstacle course for the boys to run. They had to walk a balance beam, step on a series of buckets, swing themselves over each of a group of saw horses, do a forward roll, jump up on and run across a platform, crawl through a twisting tunnel made of cardboard boxes, step between the rungs of a ladder, run around a spiral made from a hose, do a backwards roll down a hill, throw a ball, and jump up to touch a wind chime to make it ring. (we didn't have a bell.) The kids all had a ball! Even some teenage big sisters and brothers who were there and the little ones. The hardest thing seemed to be the jump up and hit the chime. We couldn't hang it too high, the little cubs wouldn't have been able to hit it, but it was too low and easy for a few. I put a stool for some to jump from but that didn't seem to help.
One family though was the most coordinated. They raise their children somewhat like I did mine- sending them out to play outdoors. It is obvious to me that many children simply don't get to play or do outdoor activities.
Send your children out in the backyard to play! Take them to a park! Play ball with them, bike with them, run around in circles with them, have them chase the dog, Teach them some skills. Life can't get too busy to give kids some outdoor time. It just isn't right!
(All that simply because I watched little boys who couldn't put one foot in front of the other or jump up in the air.) (Ouch!)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Teach Me

For the last four days I have been hanging around on the Brigham Young University campus doing Education Week. For anyone who isn't in the know, the college campus is used during the week between semesters for adult, or maybe I should say, everyone education. It is nothing like going to school. There are 1000 classes to choose from during the week, divided into series of 4 usually. Other college campuses do this sort of thing but the price is usually hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Here the entire week, for classes only, is $57 if you buy your ticket ahead of time. If you want to stay on campus, or eat there by ticket, it costs a bit more. Of course you can just buy food there or bring your own. (which I did). The classes are varied, although most are of a religious nature. Even the money management and cleaning classes are LDS based.
Having said all that I would like to do a mini - series on some of the classes I took. I had a wonderful time and gained a lot of spiritual knowledge. I can't really pass on much but I'll give it a bit of a try.
The first class I'd like to comment on was called Peace: The Savior's Magnificent Model. From my notes:
Peace through forgiveness.
We all have wounds that need to be healed. Why is it so hard to let go of the unintended injury? The world is troubled. Can we begin a healing process? 1) Forgive others. 2) Seek forgiveness from those you have injured. 3) Seek forgiveness from God. The enemy of our peace is Anger. Christ, who was injured most of all, said "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." and "... whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment:. . ."
Peace through Faith.
"In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world," again from Jesus Christ. Corrie Ten Boom who years after her experience in "The Hiding Place" saw the man who had caused her so much pain. She had a really hard time not hating, but she said, "Jesus Christ had died for this man. Was I going to ask for more?" The enemy of our peace is Fear. Learning about faith is like learning about gravity. You: 1)Learn about it. 2) Observe it. 3) Experience it. 4) Act according to your understanding. 5)The deeper your understanding the more courageously you act. 6) Deal with apparent anomalies and inconsistencies. For instance, if you saw a helium balloon rise, not fall, did it shake your testimony of gravity? Why then, do we get in airplanes? Why is faith in Christ sometimes destroyed by apparent anomalies? And if every good person were blessed immediately how could faith fully develop? What would drive you to your knees to form a relationship with the savior? How would compassion be added to your character?
Peace through Service.
What is causing me anguish? The enemy of our peace is isolation. If you don't take that loaf of bread to a friend in need, or the new neighbor, they may be hungry but really you miss out on a great experience. How much of our confidence comes from acts of service we do? (You'll never know if you never serve.) We learn to love those we serve. Simon Peter, a master fisherman, was asked to change completely and like a shepherd "Feed my sheep." Read the poem "Father, where shall I work today?" by Meade McGuire (?) Enos prayed all night. What drives us to our knees? He was told, "thy faith hath made thee whole." She quoted a poem:
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.
How about instead of random acts of kindness we were consistently, purposefully kind.
Peace through sanctification.
What is causing your turmoil? We all have a secret wish for world peace, but, if we had world peace but not inner peace, would we really appreciate it? "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10 "and if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ. . . ." The enemy of our peace is complacency. Sanctification means to be made holy. We cannot make ourselves holy. Becoming holy is a process, needing 1) Preparation-invite the experience. 2)Prayer-initiate the process. 3)Power-through the Atonement of Christ. 4)Personal-individual tutoring by the Savior 5)Painful-demanding surrender of who we currently are. Peace is urgent, essential, eternal and a component of a Christlike character. She mentioned Craig Decker, a former student of hers, who lost his right hand (he was right handed) came to peace with that loss and was teaching others how to be at peace with loss, when he died in a drowning accident. Why do we want to search for peace? Because we need it, and because we love the savior.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Weird idea of fun

After twenty years experience in this yard I know that it takes me about an hour a day every day of the year to keep it up. Since I do little work in the winter, that means I need to need to work longer in the summer. Also I never work out there on Sunday, or sweet C's day off and that lost time has to be added to other days. Also this year I did absolutely nothing in the winter. The caretakers I hired to care for my house and yard were gone in November, and while I came up a few times before I moved home I was busy having an operation, and painting and refinishing things. I didn't actually do anything in the yard until June. Then I spent time with my granddaughter and went to her house and while she was here I did very little in the yard. So, now I am trying to make up for ignoring things by working longer per day. Weeds are very tall. However, I find weeding rather gratifying. The pop when you pull them out by the roots. The clean ground you find under when you dig them with a shovel. (I don't hoe much - it leaves the weed on top of the ground and I like to remove them completely) I have been picking apricots and now am trying to put them up, and I have to tell you, I'd rather be weeding! I can't stand to be out in the heat so I seldom work past noon - it's too hot. But while I am in the house, no matter what I am working on, I am thinking about the next thing to do in the yard and wishing I was out there doing it. That really is why I like fall and spring. I can spend more time in the yard. I like to work there.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dinner plate flower

My hardy hibiscus is in bloom. This is probably my favorite flower in the garden. At least this time of year. (I also really like my Tiffany rose) Years ago when we lived in Phoenix I had a regular red hibiscus outside my side door. It bloomed all the time. I don't think I really appreciated it because it was always there. However, here where we have 4 seasons, or at the least winter and summer, I am lucky to get a couple of weeks of bloom. That means I appreciate them all the more. Hope you like these shots.

Friday, August 8, 2008


The green beans are finally on. Tomatoes too. I planted late, and was beginning to think I would never get anything, but yesterday I picked nearly a large paper grocery bag full of green beans. yeah! I also got a meals worth of purple beans. The magpies ate most of the seeds after I put them in the ground. ( I am not a fan of magpies or robins!) The tomato plants have looked awful, but the tomatoes are fine, and will give me a few a day for the rest of the summer. Also, I have peaches. They are ripening a few at a time, and that is good because they are best right off the tree - oh, I have such delicious peaches!!! I think peaches right off the tree are one of my favorite foods.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Oh what do you do in the summer time?

Yesterday I went to visit a friend of mine (vt) who is having quite a gathering at her house this week. They are calling it "girls week". She, and all her daughters, (I know of 5) and all her granddaughters (15 so far) are gathered for the whole week to play, and visit, work on scrapbooks, do needlework and just be together before one of the older granddaughters gives birth to the first great-grandchild and another of the older granddaughters leaves on a mission for our church. They were already in a giggle-fest when I came to visit and only about half of them were there so far. I don't know what all the boys are doing this week, (15 grandsons also) but the girls are going to have fun!!!!
Today we took the wolf cub scouts to Moyle Park, which is a little pioneer re-enactment park in the next city over. They got to make candles and play all kinds of pioneer games and eat fresh churned butter on wheat bread, and visit a pioneer museum and have a picnic. We did not do all that one could do there. It was a very busy day at the park, the last day they will be open this summer; everyone there is a volunteer and has school year lives to lead.
Last Saturday was the last day of my city's little celebration. We went to the balloon launch, and the parade and ate some food cooked in the park, and listened to some of the music playing in the bandstand and watched the fireworks. We were right under the fireworks!!! We had a great time. I forgot to go to the art show though. I was so sleepy all day that I just forgot! To bad, it's one of my favorite things to do.