29 June 2022

"Return unto me and I will return unto you,..."

I might get the reputation of highlighting the hard Christ, the one who promises punishments for disobedience.  I do this because of the constant stream of platitudes from many, many popular sources that "God loves you the way you are" and the rejection of commandments and essential ordinances and repentance in favor of a supposed Christ's overarching desire to put aside everything he ever said and taught in favor of being oh-so-loving to everyone. If I were your only source for information on the Messiah, you might see him as a pretty hard taskmaster - I just feel this deep need to provide the better-documented (in scripture) counterpoint!

Here is a wonderful snippet to help you know that you don't have to be in the "hard" Savior's "doghouse" forever: 

3 Nephi 24 and Malachi 3

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say: Wherein shall we return?

This again is Christ Himself quoting Malachi because it was important for his followers in America to have this information.  That means that it must be of supreme importance to the Lord and to our allegiance to him.

If you don't feel as if Christ is a part of your life or you don't feel that you are having the spiritual experiences that he promised to send you through the Holy Ghost, it is because you have distanced yourself from him ("gone away from mine ordinances and have not kept them"). The way to resolve this lack of spiritual feeling and guidance is to "Return to me (Jesus)".  In the following verses, Jesus quotes the searing accusation that people rob God by not paying the commanded tithing as an example of how one can "return".  I choose to leave that concept aside for now, as I want to appeal to the folks that want the sweet and kindly Christ that can be found in a "properly interpreted" Bible (wink, wink).

Christ is always willing to get closer to us, but better proximity is always on the condition of repentance or change. It may be true that "God loves you the way you are", but it seems that his better presence and closer attention to your needs may be based on our striving to be a bit better than "the way you are".

I'm just restating the words of Christ himself - I hope that is not too "un-loving" for you dear readers!

24 June 2022

God's Definition of Special

It seems everyone wants to find something special about themselves; something that makes them stand out from the rest. But what happens when you are special in God's eyes but that marks you for something seemingly bad as opposed to something good?

As an Aaronide priest, which marks me and my sons as a literal male-line descendants of the biblical Aaron and leaders in the tribe of Levi, the Lord himself has singled us out in a way not too appealing:

Malachi 3 and 3 Nephi 24

2 But who may abide the day of his (the Lord's) coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap.

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. 

4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

There it is - the fate of my heritage: to be burned until pure and scrubbed until clean. The redemption of the Jews and Jerusalem must have pure and clean priests, of which I am one.  Doesn't that make a person feel special and loved, all warm and fuzzy inside?

I would say most people would rather avoid such a background, but it is inadvisable to hide from God. I didn't think much on these things in my youth as our family didn't really know our background, but now that we do, I get this need to rise to the station that my ancestry demands.

My life hasn't struck me as particularly hard, but there is a growing desire not to hang back from responsibility, not to avoid tasks that seem difficult, not to turn down opportunities that may force stretching and growth.  I am heartened by the regular blessings of the Lord that have helped me along the way and assured me that God is really there and mindful of me. That is a great reassurance that fire and soap will do its work and that I will end up pure and clean at some point in the future.

Be careful of the desire to be special - it isn't all wine and roses.

07 June 2022

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident on GoodReads

The Arctic Incident  (Artemis Fowl, #2)The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

Wonderful Archetype for the overriding love-service and responsibility of children to parents and the collection of powerful allies in mutual benefit toward individual goals - I will help you with your needs and you will help me with mine.

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