Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hot Hot Heat

Because we are mortal, we have passed through the veil of forgetfulness and don't remember what we went through before we were born into this world. But God hasn't just sent us out without help. God has sent down the Holy Ghost to confirm truth to us.
There are lots of people who say "show me a sign" or I'll believe it when I see it. In an answer to a question, Elder Boyd K Packer told this story. If someone were to walk into this room holding a white hot branding iron and told you it was a hot iron, would you believe them more than if they blindfolded you and seared your skin with that same iron? And that is how our testimony of the Savior and truth should be. It should be a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead. John 3:27 "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."

What does that mean for us? Lets not be a "doubting Thomas", but be blessed because we believe and have not seen. I know that we can receive spiritual witnesses if we will seek. As God has said repeatedly in holy writ "Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts." (Zechariah 1:3) Another announcement of "Ask and ye shall receive". So if we want to have a spiritual experience we need to prepare ourselves. Is it likely that God will bless us with a spiritual experience if we have not been preparing ourselves? Not likely. So read the scriptures, say your prayers, and live a Christlike life and you'll be happier and have a better opportunity to have a "spirtually searing" experience.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Man or Mouse!

Learning to surf
Growing up in Southern California is pretty fun. You have tons of things to do. Any sport can be played on any day because the weather is so nice. There are plenty of places to hang out, especially the beach. Now when I was just a wee lad (12) I was taught how to surf by a family friend. He would take me out and spent hours in the "whitewash" pushing me on waves and helping me learn. Matt Wright did that until I became good enough to go out and brave the "real" waves.
So then I had to learn how to catch waves by myself. I always had Matt with me helping me and showing me which waves to try and catch and which ones were not gonna be so good. Matt also taught my dad how to surf. So we would all go out and spend mornings before school (when I was supposed to be in Seminary) out surfing.
And as I had this experience with Matt and my dad, I became better. I learned which days I should go out. I learned how to choose the waves that would be the most enjoyable. I learned how to turn down the waves that would "closeout" and wouldn't be much fun. I learned how to recognize when the best time would be to paddle out, to avoid the waves (as much as possible) and where to set up and wait for the "sets" to roll in. (Click here to see why wave selection is important.) And now that I have had this experience I can go out alone and make decisions for myself. And when I go out with Matt and my dad, there is a phrase that gets said more than once, "Man or Mouse?!" We use that phrase to motivate or taunt or coax each other into paddle out into the surf or take off on a wave. The question is "Are you man enough?" Are you going to make the right decision?

Riding the waves of life
And so we too have been taught by a great teacher. We spent eons with Christ and our Heavenly Father before this mortal existence. They taught us the basics so that we could journey out into "real" life. And when we got to "real" life, we were not left alone. We were born to parents who love us and want to help us succeed in this life. And we spend some time with them to continue to learn. Our parents teach us how to select the best things in life. How to understand which "waves" or choices are going to be "closeouts". But soon enough, our time with them is over and we now can brave the vast ocean of life alone. We've been taught which things in life are going to be the best. Which choices are going to bring the most happiness. Now, after all this training its up to the individual. Its up to me, to you, to your kids. Its their choice. Man or Mouse!?