Saturday, February 15, 2014

The wonders of winter (or the captivating cold)

Among all of the things that bring bitterness...the beauty is often there if we will but look:

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Hope of the Empty Tomb

Recently (and not so recently) I’ve gone through difficult times. The fears and concerns seem to cycle in succession to keep my mind occupied. The other day, as I was in my house, I looked at a copy of “The Living Christ” hanging on my wall. The the matting has different paintings of the Savior on it. The thought came to me… “There is hope, there is hope because of Christ.” It was a thought of hope today, in the now, because Christ can make things right in the end as we try, even if current things end up not working. I guess maybe you can call it a "Hope" through the process. I feel a little hypocritical with sharing this post because I don't feel like I'm very hopeful often, but I think that there is hope, and I need to learn to seek that more.
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre...Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master (John 20:1, 11-14).
I have been taught and heard of two kinds of hope (from a religion teacher at BYU and also talked about in this talk by Elder Maxwell). One of hoping that something will happen...a flimsy hope of uncertainty, the second is a hope founded on faith. We have these flimsy hopes of success in a particular venture, of finding happiness in certain avenues, or in our anticipated actions of others. In life we run in the dark to find what we have thought would hold the things we have hoped for and loved. However, at times we find in life the stone cast down and our hopes stolen “and we know not where they have laid [them]” (John20:2). We were looking to find comfort in revisiting a dead memory. We come to the tomb "hoping" for these mortal experiences that we have sought and sometimes we realize that the things we had "hoped" for do not come to pass. We may stand “without the sepulcher weeping” (John 20:11). But there is Hope.
Faith brings us the power of the Lord, which—among other things—is manifested by a hope of good things to come (Elder Nash, Nov Ensign 2012).
This hope of good things to come, is based on a few principles. First, the love of the Savior.
We are taught that “He lives to silence all [our] fears, He lives to wipe away [our] tears, He lives to calm [our] troubled heart[s], He lives all blessings to impart” (Hymn 136). Why would he do this but that he has great love. The Savior taught “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:13-14).  A Hymn highlights this. Think of the time you spend pleading in prayer…
Nor prayer is made on earth alone: the Holy Spirit pleads, and Jesus at the Father's throne for sinners intercedes (Hymn 145).
He is our advocate with the Father (D&C 45:3-5).
At the throne I intercede; for thee ever do I plead. I have loved thee as thy friend, with a love that cannot end. Be obedient, I implore, prayerful, watchful evermore, and be constant unto me, that thy Savior I may be (Hymn185).
Not only His love for us but His sacrifice for us gives us hope.
Rev'rently and meekly now, let thy head most humbly bow. Think of me, thou ransomed one; think what I for thee have done. With my blood that dripped like rain, sweat in agony of pain, with my body on the tree I have ransomed even thee (Hymn185).
Because of who He is and what He has done, He also has power to save, and heal. He lives with Healing in His wings (3 Nephi 25:2).
In the solemn faith of prayer cast upon me all thy care, and my Spirit's grace shall be like a fountain unto thee (Hymn185).
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities (Alma 7:11-12).
So what can we do in our lives to have this Hope? We can choose faith.
Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God (Ether 12:4).
Before His crucifixion, the Savior was talking to His disciples about another comforter.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever...I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you (John 14:16,18).
At times we see our hopes and comfort in clear and distinct ways, as the apostles saw the Savior and knew of His comfort. However, at times the hope is harder to feel and may seem more like a small voice that is hard to hear, or like an empty tomb that we don't understand. But He will "not leave [us] comfortless" if we seek Him. So have Hope.
The Lord has given us a reassuring message of hope: “Fear not, little flock.” D&C 6:34. God will wait with “open arms to receive” Mormon 6:17  those who give away their sins and continue in faith, hope, and charity. And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit. Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.—(President Uchtdorf, Nov Ensing 2008)
May our hearts say in times of hopelessness:
When strife and sin arise...when tears bedim my eyes...when hopes are crushed and dead, when earthly joys are fled, thy glory round me shed. Guide me to thee (Hymn 101).
That He may “Bring hope to my desolate heart.” (Hymn 6) There is hope in our empty tombs, because His is empty. I have felt the love of God. I believe that He is there and that the Savior lives and that there is eternal Hope...He is risen.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We can have hope becasue of Christ, and becasue of Christ there is hope.

The title doesn't match these pictures, but it is a thought that can to me. These are just random pictures I've taken over the last while. I hope that at this Easter time your hope is in Christ.



Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pictures from a conference day walk

I went for a drive/walk as I listened to the scriptures and then to General Conference where men of God speak to us today. God Lives, and although at times I don't recognize His love it is there. The world is a beautiful place. I find that the easiest way to post is through pictures I take. I wanted to get away and to think/not think. And this is the beauty I saw: