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Meerkat

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  1. And this is just the beginning. Imagine where we will be six months from now when people are preparing and participating!
  2. As I have said many times in many places, I have high respect for the Mennonites, and have taught our children from their curriculum. I respect the Mennonite stance on pacifism, and acknowledge their sacrifice providing alternate service in devotion to God. I agree with equal goodness in Mennonites, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS and other faithful Christians. The biggest difference, not to beat a dead horse, is the importance of authority to perform ordinances such as baptism. Not just anyone can do it, but he that was called by authority, as was Aaron. I have no problem with your devotion to The Mennonite faith based on your strong conversion to pacifism. I have no problem with Catholics holding to Peter as their first Pope. I hold to what I believe because I believe that I do know that I am right about the Book of Mormon and therefore that Joseph Smith was a prophet and we have a prophet today as we did ancient. All of us should live according to our faith and share what we do know about it to the best of our ability. You said "So, we still have an assurance about our LDS friends being Christians without needing any conversion or additional ordinances than what they already have. LDS doctrine keeps the faithful from saying the same about us." It's not the doctrine. We believe it is God who has spoken to us and told is personally, this is in fact, right. The doors to salvation are wider than many Christians think. Hence, the restored doctrine of baptism for the dead, baptism by authority, and other doctrines that were confusing, corrupted or missing and needed to be restored and prophesies of the last days that needed to be fulfilled. Bro. Navidad, Lord bless you and your wife to better understand what members of the Restored Church really believe about these things. This isn't meant to be critical of your or any other religion. It is what we believe and why we believe it. We converts are "true believers" in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ. This isn't just an opinion we can be persuaded out of. God has spoken to many and I believe most of us, in a way we can't deny, nor would we want to. Plus we have the fruits of living the religion that also testify. Keep up the good work, Bro. Navidad.
  3. I see your point. Members of the Church don't see our identity as an act of self defense, rather the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ, foretold in Acts 3 "20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you. 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." Rev.14: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." And several other places. But you know that's what we believe. It has nothing to do with "being content" to be one of many. If that was what I believed God wanted of me, I would accept it. I am a member because God invited me to be, and confirmed my decision. I couldn't get around the authority issue in Hebrews 5: "1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." But you know that also. I agree that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints Are "neither superior to, more favored by God; inferior to, or less favored by God than any other genuine Christian who seeks to live a life of righteousness and exhibit the fruits of the spirit." If we do feel superior, it is to our own condemnation because we are each and all beloved children of God, in my opinion.
  4. This makes sense to me. Diet and body chemistry imbalances can cause behavior that may seem rational to the individual on Monday, and irrational on Tuesday. Remorse over actions or misjudgments done in an altered state can be hard to live with, and difficult to attribute as a cause. Then there are those who have compartalized various kinds of abuse who may have no idea why they rage. Is the problem Church teaching or culture, or is there something else going on that is not as easy to identify? A family member exhibited bizarre behavior, then felt deep guilt and remorse. He couldn't seem to get on top of his emotions and attempted suicide. He has been diagnosed with Hashimotos Disorder and done a wonderful job controlling his diet and is doing remarkably better. He still has periods of sadness, but is high functioning and sel reliant. He wants to be happy. He wishes he could go back and make a fresh start. Rarely is Hashimotos checked. I'm sure there are other causes like that.
  5. That is a beautiful thought, Papa Lee. You have had much influence here. I have felt the sweet Spirit of the Holy Ghost many times in your words, including these. Your words remind me of a poem I am sure you are familiar with. It is titled: A Sonnet on His Blindness When I consider how my light is spent Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest he returning chide, "Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?" I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts: who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed And post o'er land and ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and wait." John Milton
  6. What a beautiful spot you live in. It reminds me of a summer view of a stream not far from my childhood home in Ketchikan, Alaska. I do have some thoughts on your very interesting post. I will only express my opinions. Others may see things differently than I do. What I am giving you is my two cents. 1. I have followed several of your posts, and you are an educated and interesting person. I have found you to be intimidating at times. Your "disturbing the waters" has always been well-intentioned, in my opinion. Your posts are always interesting and worth reading. You have also been a little aggravating to me at times, as I know I have been to you. But you have influenced me for good. I am trying to learn how to communicate in a more thoughtful way than I have in the past. That is valuable, and I feel a debt to you on that point. So please keep contributing. You have some wonderful insights. As far as feeling "less than," I remember attending the Church before we knew we could become members. I felt something special walking into the Church. I believe it was the Holy Ghost. I saw these good people, listened to what they were saying, and I thought that if I could just sit in the pews among them, that would be enough for us. Then the missionaries challenged us to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, which we did. They then challenged us to be baptized. I was excited at the prospect. My wife, not so much. She said she was baptized as a youth into the Presbyterian Church. She felt it would be hypocritical for her to be baptized again. But she supported me, if that's what I really wanted to do. As it turned out, through fasting and prayer, my wife gained the same faith and testimony I had found reading the Book of Mormon. We were baptized together about 45 years ago. The only thing I can relate to feeling "less than" is when we attended as two newlyweds off the street, and felt the love and honesty of the people, and kind of put them on a pedestal. We learned later that most all of them were sinners just like us, and we fit right in. I had felt the influence of the Holy Ghost reading the Book of Mormon, and earlier when Jesus Christ came into my life. As a newly baptized member, I found the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to be real and constant. It helped me appreciate that other members suffered from the same insecurities and misgivings that I did. I grew into a place of assuming that everyone had the best of intentions toward us, and being more concerned about my wife's and my personal relationship with God. I also learned that what I hear is sometimes not what people meant to say, or would have said had they known I would misunderstand. Like the poet said: "These clumsy feet, still in the mire, Go crushing blossoms without end; These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust Among the heart-strings of a friend." (Edward Rowland Sill in "The Fool's Prayer.") 2. Regarding the doctrine of the Church being exclusive and arrogant, I see it in a couple of different ways. First, is it arrogant or exclusive for Jesus to say "Whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God."? It would seem to exclude all those outside that group, such as Moslems, Buddhists, Athiests, and the thousands of others. But if it is His Church, He can do that, right? Is that the kind of arrogance and exclusivity you are talking about? Or is it the arrogance and exclusivity of the people? The Savior said in 3 Nephi 11:29-34 "For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he shall visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost." That personal communication from God is what members are talking about when they say "I know God lives, that Jesus is my Savior. I know His Gospel has been restored to the earth. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. And I know we are led by a prophet today, Russell M. Nelson." I hope that such statements don't come across as exclusive or arrogant any more that you saying "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Job 19:25 I believe that is your testimony also. It edifies, and uplifts. Why? Because you are expressing what you know, what you have learned from personal revelation from God, and it communicates to the heart. "Repent, believe in Jesus Christ and be baptized" is the actual doctrine. You probably don't find that offensive either, do you. Is it the authority issue, and that is exclusive and arrogant? We members may want to welcome everyone, regardless of whether they believe God has given His authority to one Church to officiate in His name. For example, when my brothers were married in the Temple, my Lutheran parents remained in the waiting area. We were sad about it, and would have preferred they be allowed in. But we believe it is the Lord's Church. He is the one who makes the rules, and we do our best to follow what He has instructed us to do. The parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25:1 comes pretty close to explaining our belief that God doesn't let everyone into the wedding feast. He doesn't let everyone into the Celestial Kingdom. There are conditions: Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance and Baptism by one with authority from God. Is it arrogant to have a belief? Is it exclusive when God calls all people to come unto Christ through faith, repentance and baptism? I don't see it as arrogant or exclusive. If you do, I still say you are a good person and smarter than me in many ways. One thing I know is that God will speak to His children when they ask, regardless of their religion. Do we make mistakes? Yes, of course. But I believe God sustains our humble efforts to do what is right. 3. You are absolutely right. It is your choice, under the direction of the Holy Spirit to attend the ward. That was my choice too, and for the same reasons. I felt God's encouragement. It is also your choice, under the direction of the Holy Spirit not to be baptized again. That is one thing we should all agree on. You should not be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints UNLESS the Holy Spirit tells you that those administering the ordinance have authority to baptize, and that God wants you to be baptized. With many members of the Church, we view it as it was presented in the New Testament. John the Baptist was not just another believer who wanted to baptize. Matt. 3:13-15 states: "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him." We believe John was given the authority to baptize back then. That is why Jesus went to him. We also believe that the authority to baptize is in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today. I have many friends outside the Church who are better people than we are. I would be surprised to live where God lives, and they not be there. Doctrine and Covenants 138 explains what happens to people who have died without hearing or receiving the ordinances of the Gospel by one having authority. Our loving Heavenly Father leaves no stone unturned to give all His children the opportunity to hear and receive it. That's my belief. I will lock arms with any good person who does not believe as I do. May the Lord guide them by the Holy Ghost to do His will for them. My faith is between me and God. I am glad to know the same is true for good people like you and your wife. 4. I think we are all "Wimbling Willows," members of the Church, and those who are not members of the Church alike. We all want to do what's right, but we fail in our efforts. We say the wrong things. We do the wrong things. But we all get better over time. God will sort it all out, in my opinion. 5. Regarding disturbing the waters, please continue. You have a gift for it. 😁 (That's a joke.) You get people thinking, and drive them into the scriptures. That's a positive thing because we learn a thing or two that help us follow the Savior more diligently. And that's important. I hope you and your wife stay in the ward and continue to contribute for the same reason. I am sure one of the reasons it is a great ward is because you are there. Sincerely, Meerkat P.S. You said in your response to Rain, " So, we still have an assurance about our LDS friends being Christians without needing any conversion or additional ordinances than what they already have. LDS doctrine keeps the faithful from saying the same about us." The way you have penned that sentence makes it difficult to answer without offending you. You should not be offended. If you are right, all who believe in Jesus Christ will be saved in the Kingdom of God. If we are right, and authority is required for baptism, etc., that work will be done for every child who died without hearing the Gospel, or in ignorance that His Church had been restored to the earth and all those who accept it will join with Jesus Christ inheriting all that God has. What could be more fair? I don't see that doctrine or anything like it in any other religion. It is compassionate and merciful. Do you not agree? If Revelation 14:6-7 means what it appears to be saying, the Book of Mormon appears to fulfill that prophecy. Our beliefs do not exclude other Christians. They include them. We see all people as children of God, who has given all a pathway back. They are not condemned to hell fire for eternity because they did not hear about or believe in Jesus Christ during this lifetime. In my Baptist's friend's faith, my Dad, my Exemplar, the best man I have ever known and who I aspire to be like, was condemned to hell at his death because he was agnostic. He didn't know for sure that Jesus Christ was his Savior. But he lived like a Christian. He was good. He was honest. He loved his wife and family. THAT belief, that he would be condemned to hell, is a belief that should make God cry-- not that belief that Mennonites and every other of God's children need to be baptized by one holding authority from God to dwell where God dwells. The Temples dot the earth to make that happen for everyone who will respond to God's invitation.
  7. From these comments and earlier ones, it's sad and tragic that you had to endure what you did. It sounds like you didn't get a chance to be a kid and enjoy your childhood years. I can see it would be hard to forgive those people who should have known better and looked out for you, rather than persecuting you. You have a lot in common with the early Latter-day Saints. They were persecuted and driven mercilessly from homes and cities they built with their own hands. They were driven in the dead of winter, burying loved ones along the way. Their plight was like that of the Savior, who Isaiah said was "...despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." I think, dealing with tragedies like that, it can be helpful to be philosophical. "Jesus was persecuted. Am I better that He?" If any of us are going to follow Him, part of our lives (or much,) will involve walking in His shoes. Responding in a class to one who criticized one of the leaders of the ill fated Martin handcart company, a member of that company said: "Mistake to send the Handcart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that company and my wife was in it and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have cited was there, too. We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that company ever apostatized or left the Church, because everyone of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities. “‘I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.’” He continues: “‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there. “‘Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’” When I think of my disappointments, small by comparison to yours, the scriptures give me comfort and encouragement. I see the examples of Adam and Eve who walked and talked with God face to face in the Garden. When they were cast out, and a barrier placed between them and God, what did they do? In their desperation, they built an alter to reach out to God. When Job had lost everything and was covered with boils, what did he say? "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." What probably brings me the most comfort, that I have lived long enough to see occur multiple times in my life, is this verse from Joel 2:25: "...I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten..." May the Lord bless you Poptart, and give you the comfort and peace that was taken from you and that you deserve. You are a good man.
  8. Isaiah said "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6 Today, in America at least, we live in a world with forces arrayed against good people, particularly youth, as never before. The technology-- the education system-- the entertainment industry-- advertising-- government legislation. Everything seems combined to first destroy the individual, then the family today. Youth are prevented from learning responsibility through a job. Families are overwhelmed in debt. Who has time for family relationships or friendships? The family is in a spiral. We see it in the Church. I'm glad for the era in which I was raised. We didn't have these soul destroying distractions. Good people like the Mennonites, the Church of Jesus Christ, the Catholics and probably most religions on this board do make a big difference in the world reaching out to "trash people," as you call them. We homeschooled our children for 7 years with a wonderful Mennonite curriculum called Christian Light. For a relatively small denomination, the Mennonites do a tremendous amount of good in the world. And they, like many followers of Christ, will help anyone in need. If I were Navidad, I'd be proud too.
  9. I read the same account. I know Moslems that I respect and I know people who enjoy Joel Olsteen's ministry. I've enjoyed some of his sermons, but don't know much more than that. We all make mistakes regardless of our good intentions. Hopefully that was a learning experience for him. I know I've had my learning experiences, not as public as Joel Osteen. That's my take on it. Don't you think most of us try to do what seems right until we figure out there is a better way? Speaking of Christians and Hurricane Harvey, there was a lot of unsung volunteer work that went on. Our son in law took their three children to Houston on the weekends. Our church buildings were set up as command centers to direct volunteers coming from surrounding states. "Matt Brand, Houston Astros senior vice president over corporate partnerships, praised Latter-day Saints for their service. “What the Church did to come in and help the community was incredible … because if they hadn’t, I can tell you thousands of people would have been put back for months and months, not only financially, but with a place to live. We had four and a half feet of water in our house, and I know what that feels like. I can’t tell you the impact that 16,000 people coming in every weekend had for this city.” There were many other Christian denominations (and Moslems, as you point out,) and others who were grateful to sacrifice their time and resources to help the suffering people.
  10. Meerkat

    non members

    Those Landsknechtes were a pretty aggressive bunch of mercenaries. I read where "the devil refused to let landsknechts into hell because he was so afraid of them." My Grandfather Odin left Norway for the gold rush in Alaska. He and his brother Peter weren't successful mining and panning for gold. He finally left it and made his living as a fisherman, and a carpenter in the off season in Ketchikan. He was self reliant, and died with his fishing boots on. I am grateful for his example of dogged determination and faith. Regarding the Catholics, they were prolific in preaching the Gospel of Christ throughout the world, probably more than any other organized Christian religion. Were there abuses and mistakes? Of course. There have been with probably all religions, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to the human beings involved. Another thing I admire about the Catholics is their ministry to the poor and afflicted. I think of the example of Mother Teresa in Calcutta. I think of the Franciscan hospitals and other Catholic hospitals in our area. Our Church has worked closely with Catholic Community Services in our area to jelp minister to the poor, and the Catholics have carried the banner of Pro Life for generations. They also allow for the encouragement of good works in Christian living, which is a view we share with the Catholics. The Evangelicals tend to focus on "faith alone," which in my thinking, works against the importance of self reliance and charity. Even so, I told my disappointed parents when I left the Lutherans and joined the Church of Jesus Christ that it was their teachings and influence that prepared me to recognize the truth when I found it. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about my Lutheran upbringing, nor my angel parents. I heartily agree with you that most members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in self-reliance and minimal government support. When the government provides everything, we don't need God. So yes, I believe the current move toward socialism is not a good thing. Freedom isn't free. We need to be vigilant to preserve it.
  11. Meerkat

    non members

    I'm with you. I love Germany and the German people. I lived there about a year and a half back in the late '60s. I realize that was a long time ago, but it doesn't seem so long ago as I think about it. Good memories. Our people worshipped the same god back in the day, Odin-- otherwise known as Wotan in German. He was the god of wisdom, poetry, war, death, divination and magic, and the father of other gods including Thor, god of Thunder; Baldur, the god of light and radiance, peace and forgiveness, Hodr, associated as the god of winter and the cold as well as being the god of darkness, unlike his brother Baldr, Vodar, the god of vengeance in Norse mythology and Vali, birthed for the sole purpose of killing Hodr as revenge for Hodr's accidental murder of his twin brother Baldur. He grew to full adulthood in one day of his birth, and slaughtered him with no regret, no heart, and no thought. He is also the god of flight. Anything that passes through the sky, whether man made or of nature is under his control * My Grandfather Odin was named after Odin, the god and father of the above mentioned gods. 🙄 * Credit to Wikipedia for information on Odin and his posterity.
  12. Don't we learn line upon line? Did they understand everything early on in the Restoration? I'm sure it seemed logical to them, based on the scriptures, to shake the dust off their feet in condemnation. There are many scriptures that contradict each other. I see us moving into an era where we are more in line with the Savior's instructions in Matthew 5:44-48: "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
  13. Thanks for the excellent article. From my experience, the Church has done a wonderful job teaching It's members the importance of strictness in the plain road. One of the side effects of obedience can, unfortunately, be a pride that manifests itself in judging others who aren't as apparently faithful as we are. Hence, the difficulty creating a safe, non shaming environment for those who struggle with various dependencies or compulsions. When it happens close to home, then we learn their difficulty and the importance of not judging, but showing sincere love. We don't want to enable them, so it is helpful to get tools we need through the Church's Family Addiction Recovery support group. That experience, gaining new knowledge of the healing power of the Atonement can also heal us and help make us more understanding and welcoming.
  14. Meerkat

    non members

    Actually, it was a somewhat noisy ward. The children seemed a little unruly. I had grown up in a Lutheran church, where children were kept in a windowed room at the back of the chapel. We thought "When we have kids, they will sit reverently." Yep. That's what we thought. But, as you say, we did click with the ward, and every ward thereafter.
  15. Meerkat

    non members

    No children at the time. We were just a couple newlyweds. We were pretty young, so maybe we were the kids. That was 45 years ago.
  16. Meerkat

    non members

    I say "any activity to get them inside the building." Many of us noticed something special-- a unique feeling about the dedicated building, and especially the people, the first time we walked into the Church building. My wife and I later joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and never looked back.
  17. Thanks for the compliment, Poptart. I think it takes a good part of our lives patting ourselves on the back for what great people we are, what terrific parents we were. Then one of our loved ones' lives falls apart and there's nothing we can do about it but pray. That's when we learn about faith in God, and patience-- years of it while we wait for God to help our much beloved child through their Gethsemanie. My experience has been that adversaries like that can humble us and prepare us to learn the "Judge not" lessons we came here to learn. You succinctly said: That is true. Every person is on their own path. Much as I'd like to control my family member's kindness, sensitivity and obedience to Gospel principles, that's not my role. I once thought it was, and was definitely one of those self-righteous people you talked about. And yes, there are a lot of us. But when family drama and adversity is dropped in our lap, that's our opportunity to really learn about God's love and power. I thank God for my child's struggles. I don't know how else I could have learned these lessons. My faith is stronger now, and I believe God will help him find his best path. The judging and preaching goes out the window. It doesn't have the influence we once thought it did, at least not the way we were doing it. Now, for us, It's about sincere love, acceptance of their choice to follow a different path, and love them anyway because we truly do. Now, for us It's about learning about God things we didn't know before, His mercy and power, and how to access it. It's about fasting, praying, attending the Temple more frequently. It's about digging into the scriptures for the help and encouragement we need, and want for our loved one. Here is a scripture we see unfolding before our eyes from Joel 2:25: "25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten..." He is doing It, and I praise the Lord for it. And I believe He is doing it for each child of God in due time, as best He can. We still have the choice to stay on the road or drive off the cliff. There, but for the Grace of God, go I. Our adversities are the raw materials that can teach us about God's love for us and all our fellow beings, in my opinion.
  18. I think the main thing is prayer, study and a lot of practice. Many of us teachers are self conscious and have a hard time asking good questions. I've appreciated the Come, Follow Me youth curriculum, and Teaching in the Savior's Way. My discussions across the board have improved over the past few years. I'm not expert by any means. But the more I practice, the better the participation and Spirit.
  19. Even weak faith can work miracles. I know that many of us need to be at a point of desperation before Christ reveals Himself to us. Prior to that, it's easy and even ego satisfying to profess athiesm. At least that was my experience. I felt smart, and (inwardly) condescending to those who needed the "crutch" of faith in Jesus Christ. In the AA twelve step program, many people start attending a meetings before believing there is a higher power. But working through the steps, such as acknowledging there is something in their lives they are powerless to overcome, apologizing to people we have harmed or offended, and other steps, many find God and their lives are changed. Mark 9:17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." The father knew his faith was weak. But he was desperate and at his wits end to save his son. His prayer was "Help thou mine unbelief." And that was enough for Jesus. The son was healed, and the man's faith justified.
  20. I agree that many societal problems are the result of no accountability. My point was that conversion to Jesus Christ should result in greater accountability as the person embraces Christ's sacrifice and teachings. We can, however, choose to turn from our conversion and lose our salvation. I hope you won't find me pointing fingers at hypocrites, other than myself. I believe that following Christ, and sharing His message helps us minimize personal hypocrisy, and try to give others the benefit of the doubt.
  21. Should I be concerned with "someone" getting away with something? There are always consequences. Some follow the sin even after repentance. The worst of them are lifted from us through repentance, and carried by the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us so we wouldn't need to suffer if we would repent. It was hard for me to understand how it works until I did it. My sins WERE physically lifted. My guilt and sorrow removed. And now I joyfully praise the Lord all day long for what He has done for me.
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