Sunday, September 29, 2019

LDS Blogs (11) - All the --- Things

This article is a follow-up to “The Small Things Are Not Small.

This article contains a list of things I’m thankful for not because of something that was taken from me, but because I have them at all. I was going to title it “All the Small Things,” but I included the six things in this gratitude list because of blessings we’ve had and extra good things the Lord has given us… So this one’s about being thankful for all the… things, period (see D&C 78:19).

1. The Reminder to Be Thankful in All Things

Even seemingly mundane things like eating, showering, shopping — heck, even paying bills or dealing with bad traffic! — can be an act of thankful worship to God for making those activities possible in the first place. It might seem kind of weird with something that feels so common, like taking a bite of a donut or putting the car in park, to think “Thank you, God, that I am able to do this; that Thou gave me the means to get this food and the body to eat it” or “I thank Thee that Thou blessed me with this car and inspired its inventors to include brakes and mechanisms that allow me to safely park and lock it so I have higher chances of it not being stolen, and have a ride back home to my family.”

Thoughts like this might seem to some like trying too hard, but...

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You can read more of my LDS Blogs articles here.

Friday, September 20, 2019

LDS Blogs (10) - Earning Vs. Qualifying

There are many ideas in the gospel that are easy to misunderstand if not approached with Christ’s Atonement in context. I was recently reminded of one of those principles. Ever since the Lord helped me understand the difference between earning and qualifying for blessings, I have been extra careful in how I speak of where, how, and why blessings from God come the way they do.

King Benjamin preaching to his people

To begin, I’ll start with a few scriptures and an everyday situation (in that order). The first scripture is found in King Benjamin’s speech.
  • "20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
    21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
    22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you. (Mosiah 2:20-22)"
Much of what the scriptures can teach us are in what they do not say—in this case, what verse 22 does not say. It doesn’t say, “therefore, because ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.” It says “if,” suggesting a simple matter of cause and effect. However, the cause for our receiving blessings is not...

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You can read more of my LDS Blogs articles here.

Monday, September 9, 2019

LDS Blogs (9) - The Small Things Are Not Small

For us adults out there, as we grew up, I’m sure we all heard our parents tell us to be grateful for the small stuff in some way or another. It’s something we all know we should do, because, as the lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” say, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

Every time my wife goes through something that robs her of yet another basic human function, it reminds me to be grateful that I can still do that thing. In the following message, most of the details I will relate are things which have occurred in the last few years. Here are seven things for which, having watched my wife be deprived of, I have come to be more grateful for than I ever expected.

1. Two Legs That Work

Lorraine hasn’t always been deprived of this. She learned to walk when she was four because of many complications surrounding her birth in addition to physical abuse and neglect. Even still, she was able to walk with leg braces and crutches for most of her growing-up years. It was only when the pressure ulcers on her feet and legs began to show up on top of the lymphedema in 2010 that her ability to walk began to be severely (and slowly) impacted.

As of Fall 2017, my wife lost all ability to bear weight on her feet when her leg broke in — wait for it — the hospital. That’s a story for another day, but ever since, I have been extra thankful that I can just stand up anytime I want to go anywhere I want. There are still limits on when and where I can go because of Lorraine’s needs and how often I need to be around to help her, but you get the idea. At this point, at least until the Lord’s promise to heal her completely is fulfilled, her legs are of no purpose to her except as a source of pain. I am beyond grateful that mine still work perfectly fine.

2. My Voice

This is something else that has been taken from my wife multiple times. The most emotionally difficult part for her, I’m sure, is how much she loved to sing her whole life (and is really good at it). I mean, she was really good. In the last three years, doctors have had to put a breathing tube down her throat at least three times (though probably more), which also included a feeding tube so she can still get nutrients. Imagine the frustration of being awake, alert, and aware, but not being able to say a single word because the is no physical way for you to speak. You try to use your hands but you’re so tired that all you can do...

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You can read more of my LDS Blogs articles here