Wednesday, June 30, 2010
This scripture tells us who Jesus was sent to preach the gospel to: The poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, the blind, and the bruised.... the people found at the Pools of Bethesda.
I recently spoke to a friend on the phone who is a therapist. She said that she was asked to do some volunteer work at a addiction/abuse clinic. At first, she was hestitant to go, since she thought it would be difficult to work with people described as being at the "bottom of the pool". However, after working with some of this people.. "the captives, the bruised",.. she realized that many of them where finding ways to rise back to the "surface". One patient asked her, "Is it okay to pray to God all the time during the day?.. (since she was worried that she would be bothering God.) She continued on to say that praying to God is the only thing that get her through another day. Only if we who might find ourselve above water to be as reliant on God, as we should be.. instead of being prideful to think we can do things ourselves and don't need His help.
We find ourselves on all different levels in the pool of life.. Some floating easily on the surface.. maybe on floating devices (possibly with some of the air starting to escape and they beginning to sinking). Others without a device are in physical shape to tread water day after day. The weaker ones seem to swallow water and are sinking. Some have already hit the bottom of the pool. While some stay at the bottom of the pool, others are finding ways to rise back up to the surface.
What is our role as disciples of Christ? Is it not our role to help those at the bottom of the pool to rise back up to the surface?
I chose this photograph to close my thoughts on the lessons I learned from the Pool of Bethesda. and use the photo of a flower from ontop the Mount Precipice?
Why the significance of Mount Precipice? In John chapter 4, tells the story about how angry Jewish worshippers drove Jesus away from the Synagogue, attempted to throw him off the cliffs, and he disappeared before their eyes "in the midst of them". This photo is taken of a flower on top of that cliff mountain.. known as Mount Precipice (meaning a very steep cliff)
We read, "And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong."
This flower is very symbolic for me. It is an example of a juxtapostion. High on the cliff, this flower rises and blooms out of little to no water, thorns, weeds, and rocks. It was here on these cliffs that Christ was supposedly cast down by his enemies, yet He rises above. Using this example of this flower, we have the choice to either stay down (where we were pushed down or jumped ourselve).. or rise up..despite our circumstances.
We also have a responsibility as followers of Christ to help those found at the "depths of the pools of Bethseda".. the downtrodden, to rise up... and walk.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
John 5: 2-3
Here are some key insights/facts in John's account of Christ healing of this elderly man.
I saw a reproduction of this painting in the Jordan River Temple this morning and felt to write some thoughts. The sick man is hiding under the cloth. Christ had to seek and find.. raise the heavy cloth to uncover and see the face of the man. How easy would it have been to pass by such an individual. We learn from the scriptures that his man has been ill for 38 years. Whether we are physically sick or spiritually sick.. it is never too late to be made whole again with our faith in Christ.
Here is some more description of the painting from the artist's website;
"Christ uncovers a man under a shelter of cloth, sticks and straw. The man is elderly and frail, having suffered infirmities for many years, lying by a pool believed by many to heal. Christ, in heavy, white robes gestures to him to arise, and be made whole. The man appears surprised, yet hopeful as his arms are raised. There are many ill people gathered around the pool. Christ’s companion, looking anxious, can be seen behind him on the left of the composition. Behind them are three bearded men paying close attention to the miracle worker’s actions - as it is the Sabbath. Looks of contempt and scheming glances are seen upon the conspirator’s faces.
Two meager men on the other side of the column sit eating and talking. Beside them a poor, lame man in green stands above them - watching and perhaps hoping for a share in their meal. A poor sickly man in a bright red cap, sits next to the scene - discretely observing the goings-on. As it was a quite competitive event to reach the waters first to be healed, he is perhaps watching closely to see what events occur from this strange encounter between the majestic man and the ailing individual."
Monday, June 28, 2010
I have always wondered what kind of tree is the Tree of Life? Growing up I always pictured in my mind an apple tree.. but instead of red apples... they were white apples. Probably not accurate, but that was what I always imagined.
So, do we really know what kind of tree was the tree of Life/Paradise?... With the above information found in D&C 88...If the Tree of Paradise is the same as the Tree of Life.. then is it an Olive Tree?
In the Book of Mormon account of Lehi's dream, the tree of life is said to represent the love of God... even Jesus Christ, who is the incarnate love of God.
We read in Nephi 11: 21-24 "Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him. "
Is the olive the fruit of the tree of life? I have mentioned earlier on my blog that the olive oil (the essence of the fruit) represents the spirit, power, or glory of God. The olive oil serves as a cleansing agent, a preservative, a fuel for lamps, an aid to cooking, and a fragrant ointment to condition and protect the skin... but most importantly used in annointings and ordinances.
Friday, June 25, 2010
This morning I found my daughter sobbing with uncontrollable tears. To begin this story, my wife and I had brought home from Israel a pair of leather shoes as a souvenir from Jerusalem. My daughter loved these shoes, and wore them all the time. The soft leather and the ease of putting them one her feet...made these shoes her favorite.
Unfortunately we have a puppy who loves to chew.. (and bark.) We love Patch, but his natural dog instincts has created problems with our neighbors, our furniture, our carpet... and now our shoes. Daily, we constantly have to remind our children to put their shoes away.. so that they won't be used as chew toys.
Last night in putting the dog to bed, I had the impression to make sure all shoes where in a safe place. I found one pair vulnerable.. but didn't see the other pair under the table. This morning once the dog was let out from his "cave"...unwatched and left to himself, Patch found my daughter's favored shoe and went to town on the cowhide. Luckly my wife walked in on the guilty puppy and stopped the devastation before the shoe became unwearable...
This shoe takes on a new meaning for me and my family...
Yes, A favored and still wearable shoe shows a bite mark, but a gentle reminder that anything of value to us needs our constant viligiance to make sure that it remains in tact. I am reminded of the parable of the "watchman on the tower" that falls asleep and the enemy enters in to the Lord's vineyard. A good Family Home Evening lesson. See the above scripture.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Like all lilies.. they have 3 petals and 3 sepals that looks like petals. Mariposas is Spanish for butterfly. The markings inside the cup of the flower do indeed look like a butterfly. They also look like butterflies from the side.
It reminded me of the Star of David... so I superimposed the star over the photo. The colors are also very symbolic of Christ.. The white: purity and holiness. The red: the atoning blood, and the green: everlasting life.
This is my wife and I cliff jumping with my kids at Lake Powell. This is a different type of picture than others that I have posted.. but I think a great lesson can be learned by this photo. First of all, Jumping off a cliff is terrifying. It never looks as high until the moment you are about to jump. (Jumping with others especially with your spouse makes it a little easier). I think we are all on different levels or heights with the Lord.. but the experience is the same. Each has to submit.. fully commit and leave the secure ledge we stand on with the faith that we land safely in the water. (the water.. symbolic of the living water of Christ). Our life jacket is an outward symbol of our faith and hope that we won’t sink, but raise to the surface after we fall. Once we take that leap of faith, we are completely at His mercy and show our willingness to follow Him.
Another analogy of “jumping” can be compared to our descending from our Heavenly Home into this world. We leave His presence and enter this world (into and through water/birth). The Spirit that come down here..instead of “cliff jumping”.. they are heaven “jumpers”.. entering into a new world/realm.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I took this picture on the last morning I was in Jerusalem. This is taken from the Wall of the Old City looking east towards the Mount of Olives. It is difficult to see in the dark, but the BYU Jerusalem Center can be seen on the very left close to the top of the hill. On the lower right of the photo is the traditional setting of the Garden of Gethsemane.
While the "light of the sun" rises in east every morning over the Mount of the Olives, we know in the not to distant future that the "Light of the SON" will descend upon this mountain in the east. This mount of Olives has been and will be one of the most sacred places on this earth. The Lord has descended below all things on this mount, and then ascended above all things. He will descend again in His glory as "a light shall breaking forth among them that sit in darkness."
Monday, June 21, 2010
"This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made." D&C 88:7
Today is the beginning of the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. As a result, at high noon on the first day of summer, the sun appears at its highest point in the sky, its most directly overhead position in the Northern Hemisphere. Some important facts about the summer solstice: The ancient Eygptians, built the Great Pyramids so that the solstice sunset, when viewed from the Sphinx, sets precisely between two of the Pyramids. Associated with agriculture, the summer solstice was a reminder that a turning point in the growing season had been reached. Starting today, marks the beginning of losing less light each day until the Winter Solstice where we then begin to receive more light each day.
Important Dates in LDS history around the Summer Solstice:
In June: Translation of the Book of Mormon completed.
In June: Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred.
Observations in the photo: There are 12 large rays that come out from the center of the circle with 24 smaller rays.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
View: The whole extent seen. Sight, power of seeing.
How is our perspective on things in this world? Is our perspective from the "valley's" the proper view of how things really are? What do things look like from the higher perspective? Could the things that don't look as impressive from "below" actually be viewed amazing from above? and vice versa?
We learn in the Doctrine and Covenants that the Lord will grant unto us the the view of the things which we desire to see if we do not exalt ourselves.. but humble ourselves sufficiently in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of our hearts. (D&C 5: 24)
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
The above scripture was given AFTER the destruction of many people and cities for their wickedness, but BEFORE Christ appeared to them in the land Bountiful. . Christ tells the people to Repent. and Come unto Him ...as a little child. What does that mean to come unto Christ as a little child? In one of the best sermons given, King Benjamin described becoming as a child with the following: submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
This is so contrary to what Christ teaches, the world teaches us ...
Instead of being submissive, the world teaches us to be assertive.
Instead of being meek, the world teaches us to be strong.
Instead of being humble, the world teaches us to be proud.
Instead of being full of love, the world teaches us to be competitive, with the desire to be better than others.
Instead of being willing to submit, the world teaches us to be agressive, independent, and in control.
To submit means to yield ourself to the power of another; to give up resistance.
The thought occured to me, if we are successful, independent, strong, rich, etc... why would we every need a Savior. Do we sometimes think we have acheived these things ourselves? Do we forget the Lord?
Maybe that is why the Savior says.. REPENT.
Will this same pattern happen to us in our day... will we choose to repent? or will we be compelled to repent?
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
In this photo we see stark contrasts. A man Armed with Guns and ammunition.. verses my mom armed with love. My mom, like all moms represents hope, peace, love.. and truth. Standing side by side with a symbol of violence, war and weapons. I know that many could view the soldier as a symbol of defense (which is a good thing).. but what is truly our best defense against evil? guns and bullets? No. Our weapon is the truth.
"In a world of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell.
Observation: My mom is wearing an ear headset to listen to a receiver. Symbolic of recieving inspiration from our Father in Heaven. Do we listen to the world, the televison, newspapers, radio for truth.. or do we go to the scriptures, in prayer and recieve personal revelation from the source of all truth.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
However, on the flipside….It is interesting to see how a small flame from an insignificant oil lamp can quickly restore light to a darken room.
The importance of the Olive Tree and the Olive Oil:
I understand better the symbolic comparison of the olive oil to our Savior. For those who don’t know, the process in creating oil requires first for the olives to be mature, unblemished, and qualified to be picked. The olives are then placed in a stone basin and are bruised and crushed by a large millstone. The crushed and broken fruit is then collected into baskets, which are stacked one upon the other. These are then placed under a weighted stone press, where overwhelming pressure is applied to them. This process slowly crushes the oil from the fruit. The pressure that is applied is extremely strong, firm and fierce, steadily increasing over time until the red-stained oil contained therein is extracted from the once unblemished fruit. It is any wonder that the place where the Savior atoned for our sins was on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane (which means Oil press).
Other scripture references to the Olive Tree and Oil:
Olive Oil used for healings and anointings (ritual for kings and priests). The parable of the 10 virgins and their oil lamps. One the best parable is the allegory of the olive tree. Lehi compares his family to an olive tree. The tree is a symbol of life and vitality. The olive branch with the dove is a symbol of life and renewal referencing to when the dove returned with a branch to the ark in the days of Noah after the waters subsided in the flood.
We are the darkened room. The Savior is our only True Light..Through the atonement we can have the light restored back into our life.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
- The “poor in spirit” = or the “humble in spirit” or “lacking in pride”
- Those that mourn..(the humble are usually those who have suffered.)
- The Meek = gentle, forgiving, or benevolent.
- Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
- The Merciful
- The Pure in heart = (chastity, cleanliness, purity.)
- The Peacemakers.
- The Persecuted
- The Salt of the Earth
- The Lights of the World
In today’s world we would have a different list of who we think are the fortunate ones: ·
- The wealthy
- The beautiful
- The famous
- The talented/ athletically gifted and others who we idolize ·
- The powerful and influential.
The world’s view of their “fortunate list” deal mainly with the EXTERNAL.. while the Lord’s list of the fortunate describes what is contained in the INTERNAL. These two lists are extreme opposites.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The Hebrew and Greek word for lily are not limited to members of the lily family .. but more of "the floral bloom of the plain". Upon comparing the Biblical passages in Matthew and Luke with Canticles verse 13, it is certain that the lilies mentioned there were not white, for in the former places they are said to surpass the royal robe of Solomon, and in the passage cited they are color of crimson, and the flush of human lips. We read in Isaiah 1:18, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool". How beautiful of a reminder to see these scarlet "lilies" growing on the Mount of Olives naturally and found in the Garden of Gethsemane. Symbolic of the blood of Christ's Atonement and a reminder that our sins can be made white as snow.