My Thoughts: “The Spirit Of The Lord Is Upon Me”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“Begin by reading Matthew 4 and Luke 4-5, and pay attention to any insights you receive. The study ideas in this outline can help you identify important principles in these chapters.” [Header, Lesson for Feb 04-10, 2019, “The Spirit of the Lord Is upon Me”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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In the painting at the top of this lesson, Christ Triumphs over Satan, by Robert T. Barrett, notice Satan’s face in the darkness, positioned importantly at the feet of Christ.

As in my recorded impressions of the previous lesson, as I read these chapters, I again was impressed that the local religious leaders in Christ’s day were stunned by the use of power and authority of God, power and authority that they themselves no longer possessed—and were jealous of it.  And I love JST Luke 5:23 (KJV Footnote a):

Does it require more power to forgive sins than to make the sick rise up and walk? [KJV Luke 5:23; click on the hyperlink of Footnote a to display JST. Italics indicate words absent in earlier translations.]

Note how Christ focused on the use of power, which is the actual topic at issue here, despite the Pharisaical focus on discussing other things as a mask.

And I LOVE the painting at the end, The Call, by Jorge Cocco. I truly enjoy his painting style, and this one is probably my favorite of his.

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

#ShareGoodness

 

My Thoughts: “Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord”

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“Begin by reading Matthew 3Mark 1; and Luke 3. As you pray for the Holy Ghost to help you understand these chapters, He will give you insights that are especially for you. Record these impressions, and make plans to act on them.” [Header, Lesson for Jan 28-Feb 03, 2019, “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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I was impressed by the number of JST (Joseph Smith Translation) changes in Matthew 3 and was struck by why the medieval translators would have altered these sections in particular. I was also impressed, not so much by the fact that the evil spirits obeyed Christ, knowing full well who He is, but rather I was impressed more by the fact that the Jews, as keepers of the Priesthood of God, apparently had lost all ability to exercise with authority the Priesthood of God, and here specifically, had lost all ability to exercise authority over evil spirits. In general, the leaders of the Jews (who had lost much of the ability to teach with power or to act with power and authority of God) were threatened by the doings and doctrines of Christ in a similar manner to how the leaders of Christian churches (who had lost much of the ability to teach with power or to act with power and authority of God) were threatened by the doings and doctrines of Joseph Smith. Similarly, I have known people in our day who happened to be active baptized members of the restored church of Jesus Christ who had lost much of the ability to teach with power or to act with power and authority of God and consequently were threatened by a person teaching with power and authority, so much so that some of the people I have known fight against even the idea that one might be able to achieve teaching with power and authority. (Thus ignoring latter-day counsel given here, here, and elsewhere.)

I point this out in my recorded impressions today simply to stress the corollary lesson that as many as believed in such preaching with power and authority of God, who were converted or yet-again-converted unto the Lord, never did fall away, even in our day. Hence, the weekly nature of the Sacrament. So many corollary lessons, so little time…

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

#ShareGoodness

 

My Thoughts: We Have Found The Messiah

Sharing my thoughts after reading our assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“As you read and ponder John 1, record the impressions you receive. What messages do you find that will be of most value to you and your family? What could you share in your Church classes?” [Header, Lesson for Jan 21-27, 2019, “We Have Found the Messiah”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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Note well the pattern, the repeated pattern, that people gain their testimonies of Christ based on the testimony of someone they know and trust. Not everyone who knew and trusted Andrew internalized Andrew’s testimony of Christ, but Peter did. And that’s important for all of us.

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

#ShareGoodness

 

My Thoughts: We Have Come To Worship Him

Another post to share my thoughts after completing the reading assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“Begin by reading Luke 2 and Matthew 2, and pay attention to any spiritual insights you receive. The study ideas in this outline can help you identify some of the most important and relevant principles in these chapters.” [Header, Lesson for Jan 14-20, 2019, “We Have Come to Worship Him”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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I’ve always loved the words about Christ’s childhood after infancy [Luke 2:40-52]. I loved in the video, “The First Christmas Spirit“, a depiction of Christ being self-aware of His Father’s will even when quite young. The video has a brief scene [Time 1:30] with Joseph watching Jesus at about age 10, as Jesus watches a couple of tethered lambs as the owner takes one of them away, presumably to the slaughter, possibly at the temple. The 10-year-old Jesus simply stares, seemingly understanding all too well the deeper meaning of this scene as a type of things to come. Joseph approaches the 10-year-old Jesus and puts his arm around Him, as if to give Him strength for that day yet a far way off.

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

#ShareGoodness

 

My Thoughts: “Be It Unto Me According To Thy Word”

Second post in a series, “Recording My Impressions,” which I use to share my thoughts after completing the reading assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.

“As you read and ponder Matthew 1 and Luke 1, record the spiritual impressions you receive. What doctrinal truths do you find? What messages will be of most value to you and your family? The study ideas in this outline may help you discover additional insights.” [Header, Lesson for Jan 7-13, 2019, “Be It unto Me according to Thy Word”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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Family history and the doctrine of the family are of vital importance. Jesus descended from Ruth and Boaz and from the root of Jesse through King David through Mary and also through Joseph. (Matthew 1 records not Mary’s lineage but Joseph’s.) I’ve always loved the interaction of Elisabeth and Mary and the in utero interaction between John and Jesus. Makes me wonder whether or not any child in the womb might be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from her/his mother’s womb [see Luke 1:15]. Maybe some of those leaps and kicks are more purposeful than mere stretching for space than we care to admit! I love that Elisabeth and Zacharias prophesied after receiving a spiritual confirmation from on High. To me, it’s cool that it may have been the same Gabriel who delivered messages both to Elisabeth and to Mary. I’ve always wanted to meet him (them if two separate personages) after this life. [The Bible Dictionary (BD) entry for Gabriel says that all occurrences of Gabriel are the prophet Noah.]

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

#ShareGoodness

 

My Thoughts: We Are Responsible For Our Own Learning

In 2019, as we begin to improve our efforts in a home-centered, church-supported approach to gospel living, learning, and teaching, we are invited repeatedly in each lesson to record our impressions. I call this series of posts “Recording My Impressions,” and I’ll use it to share my thoughts after completing the reading assignment each week in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families. I hope you enjoy reading them.

“The purpose of Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families is to help you come unto Christ and become more deeply converted to His gospel. This resource can help you understand the scriptures and find in them the spiritual strength you and your family need. Then, in your Church classes, you will be prepared to share insights and encourage your fellow Saints in their efforts to follow Christ.” [Header, Lesson for Dec 31-Jan 6, 2019, “We Are Responsible for Our Own Learning”.]

Journaling my impressions:

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love the title of this lesson! To me, there is little or no excitement in the tendency inside of us to relegate to others our responsibility for personal, individualized gospel education. We are responsible to receive the Holy Ghost ourselves, to achieve successfully answers to our own questions and concerns, through the spirit of revelation. [See Alma 17:2-3.]

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More on recording my impressions. (See also this lesson’s teacher manual version.)

#ShareGoodness

 

Lessons Of Leadership From Sacrificing To Save Hobber

Father's Day

Father’s Day

Quotes on leadership that I find well-suited to Father’s Day:

Kaladin held his side, feeling the blood there. Straight laceration, only about an inch long, not wide enough to be of danger.

It was his father’s voice.

Kaladin panted. He needed to get to safety. Arrows zipped over his head, fired by the Alethi archers.

Some people take lives. Other people save lives.

He wasn’t done yet. Kaladin forced himself to his feet and staggered to where someone lay beside the bridge. It was a bridgeman named Hobber; he had an arrow through the leg. The man moaned, holding his thigh.

He checked the other two. Hobber was smiling openly. He was round-faced and lean, with a gap between his teeth and short, black hair. “Thank you,” he said. “Thank you for saving me.”

Kaladin grunted, inspecting the man’s leg. “You’ll be fine, but you won’t be able to walk for a few weeks. I’ll bring food from the mess hall for you.”

“Thank you,” Hobber whispered, taking Kaladin’s hand, clutching it. He actually seemed to be tearing up.

That smile forced back the gloom, made the aches and soreness fade. Kaladin’s father had described that kind of smile. Those smiles weren’t why Lirin had become a surgeon, but they were why he’d remained one.

“What are you up to, Kaladin?” Hobber asked just as Kaladin got a flame started.

Kaladin smiled, standing. “Have a seat.”

Hobber did just that. He hadn’t lost the near-devotion he’d shown Kaladin for saving his life. If anything, his loyalty had grown stronger.

[Quotes from Brandon Sanderson’s outstanding novel, The Way of Kings, Pages 267, 313, and 403. Yes, it’s a fantasy novel. It’s also a treatise on loyalty and leadership. Yes, everyone should read it. Try it; you’ll like it!]

I apply the above quotes to leadership of a family, quotes that hold a key to quality parenting: If you give up your life for a time to spend it parenting your kids as if parenting were a full-contact sport, then they will recognize your role in losing your life in order to save theirs. Their loyalty to you as a parent will only grow stronger as they grow to recognize your sacrifice, grow to understand it not as an intellectual exercise but as something to choose as a model for their own behavior. You will see them pay their devotion as you see them give up their own life for a time, in order to spend it parenting their own kids.

Family At Home In Accra, Ghana

Family At Home In Accra, Ghana

To me, the above quotes not only apply to Fathers’ Day but teach us important truths about leadership. D. Todd Christofferson teaches us more on loyalty and leadership:

I speak today of fathers. Fathers are fundamental in the divine plan of happiness, and I want to raise a voice of encouragement for those who are striving to fill well that calling. To praise and encourage fatherhood and fathers is not to shame or discount anyone. I simply focus today on the good that men can do in the highest of masculine roles—husband and father.

David Blankenhorn, the author of Fatherless America, has observed: “Today, American society is fundamentally divided and ambivalent about the fatherhood idea. Some people do not even remember it. Others are offended by it. Others, including more than a few family scholars, neglect it or disdain it. Many others are not especially opposed to it, nor are they especially committed to it. Many people wish we could act on it, but believe that our society simply no longer can or will.” [David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem (1995), Page 62.]

As a Church, we believe in fathers. We believe in “the ideal of the man who puts his family first.” [Blankenhorn, Fatherless America, Page 5.] We believe that “by divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” [“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, Nov 1995 Ensign, Page 102, or Nov 2010 Liahona, Page 129.] We believe that in their complementary family duties, “fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” [Family Proclamation.] We believe that far from being superfluous, fathers are unique and irreplaceable.
[D. Todd Christofferson, “Fathers”, Apr 2016 LDS General Conference.]

I agree with him.

A Father Dances With His Daughter In Their Home

A Father Dances With His Daughter In Their Home

“And now, my son, this was the ministry unto which ye were called, to declare these glad tidings unto this people, to prepare their minds; or rather … that they may prepare the minds of their children to hear the word at the time of his coming.” [Alma 39:16.]

Mike, Brian, Brendan, Kyle, Kevin, Todd, Bob, this post is for you. Thank you for helping to lead the way.

Family Studying Scriptures Together

Family Studying Scriptures Together

Please note that these quotes on loyalty and leadership apply equally to motherhood and fatherhood. They particularly apply to both of them in equal roles as complementary leaders, specifically as wife and husband leading together in the joint venture of parenthood.

Canoeing On Hampton Lake, North Carolina Is A Great Way To See Fall Foliage

Father And Child Canoeing On Hampton Lake, North Carolina—A Great Way To See Fall Foliage

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Bonus Material:

Watch/download the video, “Earthly Father, Heavenly Father” at lds.org or at YouTube below:

I love the words of the narrator as we focus on his wedding ring at Time 2:53 and the kid at the door watching his parents pray at 2:34. When I walked in to see my own parents at prayer, I remember the whoosh of feelings of safety and security but mostly of sacredness.

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WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:

  • Photo, “Father’s Day”, from private collection
  • Photo, “Family At Home In Accra, Ghana”, www. lds.org/media-library/images/family-portraits?lang=eng&start=1&end=10
  • Photo, “A Father Dances With His Daughter In Their Home”, www. lds.org/media-library/images/father-daughter-dancing-1018852?lang=eng
  • Photo, “Family Studying Scriptures Together”, Aug 2013 Ensign Magazine, Page 3, photo illustration by Cody Bell
  • Photo, “Fathers Providing A Sacred Moment In A Holy Place”, photo by: Masood Bhat/Kashmir Headlines—kashmirheadlines.in/kashheadlines/11222013-ND-getting-ready-for-prayersa-group-of-people-making-ablution-to-perform-prayers-in-historic-jamia-masjid-srinagar-photo-by-masood-bhat-kashmir-headlines-3452.aspx
  • Photo, “Father And Child Canoeing On Hampton Lake, North Carolina—A Great Way To See Fall Foliage”, www. lovethesepics.com/2013/10/ american-the-beautiful-in-autumn-peak-fall-foliage-dates-for-48-states-50-pics, photo by Watson Studios
  • Photo, “Growing Old Together Amid Autumn in Seattle, Washington”, www. lovethesepics.com/2013/10/american-the-beautiful-in-autumn-peak-fall-foliage-dates-for-48-states-50-pics, photo by Rachel Sarai

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Growing Old Together Amid Autumn in Seattle, Washington

Growing Old Together Amid Autumn in Seattle, Washington