Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
"Then Solomon began to build the House of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah,
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
In the ancient world, a city on a hill would have signified strength and protection. It was for the purpose of self-defense that cities were built on hills—it was easier to defend a city when attackers had to come up to you, than if you were in the middle of a wide open plain. It gave you a valuable tactical advantage.
For the first hearers of the Sermon on the Mount—his disciples—the phrase a “city on a hill” would likely have had a fairly specific connotation. Jerusalem. For a Jew, Jerusalem was the city on a hill that represented the hopes and aspirations of Israel, as God’s chosen nation through whom the nations would be blessed.
The above "city" in this photo is not only pictoresque , it is an example of a city set on a hill, with homes built on foundation of rock.
Monday, August 23, 2010
The above scripture is from King Benjamin's farewell address to the people gathered at the temple. It is a scripture that makes me uncomfortable, it calls me to repentance... How many of us walk guiltless before God? Do we impart enough of our substance? How much of our substance do we keep for ourselves for our "needs" before we impart to the poor?
Last Saturday, I was asked to help down at St. Vincent DePaul, a "soup kitchen" where those who are hungry and homeless can come get a hot meal. I had helped before about 6 months ago. Most of the people that came in 6 months ago where mostly middle aged men who lived on the streets of Salt Lake. To my surprise this Saturday, it wasn't just men who came to eat... but families, women with babies and small children. The small dining area now has 8-10 high chairs to accommodate the growning number of infants coming in with their mothers and/or fathers.
The economic downturn does not look good. I am not sure these trends will reverse any time soon. Foreclosures, Lay-offs, Bankruptcy, Debt, and Divorce are all rising. It is one thing to see adults go hungry, but like these helpless little birds in this photo waiting for their mother to bring them something to eat.. unfortunately there are a rising number of children in our own backyard who also are going hungry.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Junior High. The Beginning of seventh grade. I have been a worried father for years that I would evidently have to send my daughter to junior high. For many, it is one of the hardest years in our life, but it can be the most exciting. We are no longer in the safe enviroment of the one room class in Elementary school with loving teachers for 7 years (K -6). Instead, we have a whole new school to go to where we don't know anything about or what to expect. Multiple classes, multiple teachers. We walk the halls amongst a sea of other students. We hear and see things that we have never been exposed to before: Profanity, Obsensities, Crudeness, Immodesty. To top it all off, we are experiencing changes to our bodies which makes us somewhat unsure of ourselves.
In thinking all about this, I couldn't help be think of the similiarities of when we left our pre-mortal experience to come into this terestial world. The scripture in Abraham refers to going DOWN.... not UP. We read: they WENT DOWN. It is a lower, base existence. No longer are we in the presence of a loving father and mother in heaven. We come down and see/hear some of the evil and corruption the world. We have multiple choices and experiences to choose from. We exercise our agency to choose between the good and evil. We experienced a change in our bodies.
Many things in this photo of my daughter is symbolic. She looks happy, but I sense a slight nervousness in her eyes and smile. Possibly the same emotions we had as we left to come down here to earth. She is holding in her hand her class schedule. This could represent our life assignments/our life mission that we need to fulfill. We have been preordained to come down here to accomplish certain tasks. She has a backpack on, symbolic of all the knowledge and information/intelligence that we gained prior to coming to earth. The tools and information will help us have advantage here . (D&C 130: 19)
In this photo, the sun is being blocked by dark over hanging tree. symbolic of the veil we had to pass through. The sun is still there, but blocked from our veiw. She is innocent... all of us born as children pure, not stained yet. She is looking back over her shoulder, possibly saying goodbye one last time.. of our remembrance of our Heavenly Home. There are others who are walking in front of her that she is following. We choose who we follow. Others will try to mislead us. We have only one we should follow in this life.. our elder brother, Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
By posting this photo of this priest under my headline, someone reading this might think I am suggesting that this "man in cloth" and/or the Catholic Church are the powers of darkness.
However, I am not passing judgement, but use this photo to illustrate something that stood out to me as symbolic. The priest is walking under a dark tree. I think that is significant and possibly could represent each of us... of our clouded understanding of truth, our disconnect with the heavens above, our unbelief, our inundation with philosophies of men, our pride and arrogance, and our unwillingness to seek and call upon the powers of heaven for personal revelation.
Let's read the scripture again... For the scripture states that ALL FLESH is corrupted... not just those in the Catholic church. We live in a time that the powers of darkness does prevail upon the earth. What does "ALL" mean? Does that include me?
How about the word "PREVAIL" mean? Definitions include: more powerful than opposing forces, widespread , to be greater in strength or influence.. TRUIMPH.
WOW! For those of us who prefer light, we have our work cut out for us. So, are we doing anything about it? What do we do in our lives to bring about more light in this world? Or do we find that we are "adjusting" our eyes to the prevailing darkness, and become complacent by accepting and thinking that All is well. Just because our eyes have dialated in the darkness does not mean that the room has gotten any lighter.. it just means that we have become accustomed to the darkness and accepted it.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I took this picture yesterday on the Church Plaza. The color blue is my favorite color. When water is pure, clean, and still... it will reflect the sky/the heaven above. Are we not similar to the water? When we are pure, clean, and still in our lives, do we not also reflect heaven here upon this earth ?
Monday, August 9, 2010
Last week, while my wife was out of town, I gained a greater appreciation/empathy for my wife.. as well as those in this world who are single working parents (those who have the overwhelming responsibility of working, parenting, and taking care of the house and yard ALONE.) Too much for one person.
As I was trying to get the house/yard looking good before my better half returned home, my middle daughter asked if she could help me.. and next on my list was mowing the lawn. My first response was.. "oh, that is okay.. daddy will do it." Probably somewhat disappointed from my declining her wish, she just stood outside watching me mow. Justifying my actions, I thought to myself .....I still have alot to do.. and letting her help would a) take more time and b) not look as good since I am very meticulous in having the lines straight when I mow.
Then the "teaching moment" happened.. to ME. I had the strong impression that I was to allow my daughter to mow the lawn. So, I stopped the mower, I called her over and said, okay... Let's mow the lawn together. Concerned that she wouldn't hurt herself.. I walked beside her as she held on to the gas powered lawnmower. She would come to the end of the lawn and stop. I would then turn the mower around and then she would proceed to mow the other direction. Back and forth.. until we finished. I tried not to correct the crookedness and unstraight lines. Looking back.. the lawn never looked so good.
The prompting to teach my daughter to mow, actually was a lesson from the Lord to teach me. Even though He is all-powerful, He allows each of us to learn, make the mistakes, walk in crooked paths as He walks beside us. He will turn us around when needed. He is patient. Only through Him can our crooked paths be made straight.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I took my kids up to the Alpine Slide in Park City a couple of week ago. The rolller coaster ride looked a little safer for my 6 year old to ride, so we decided to ride the roller coaster ride instead. Luckily I brought my camera on the ride... I snapped this photo quickly while riding on the track. This is the best illustration of a chiasm in the man-made world.
I have posted about chiams before on my blog, but for those who are unfamiliar with the term, a chiasm is usually referring to a literary structure used in ancient literature where concepts are placed in a symmetric order to emphasize them. The ideas converge at the center or the focal point of the thought. In the scriptures the focal point is usually Christ.
Here is a beautiful one that I just found in the New Testament in Matthew 11:28-30.
Come unto me:
All ye that LABOUR and are HEAVY laden.
.........take my YOKE upon you
...................LEARN of me
.................................FOR I AM meek and lowly in heart
.....................FIND rest unto your souls
...........for my YOKE is easy
my BURDEN is LIGHT.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
This is a continuation from the last post. My dad called me today and made some great comments about bees, and the importance of honey in the scriptures. In all the great exoduses we read in scripture, Honey was an essential survival food. We read in Exodus that the Israelites in the wilderness survived on manna which had the taste of honey. Exodus 16:31.
This scripture found in Doctrine and Covenants deserves it's own post and photo, (I hope to expound on it in a future blogpost,).. but for now just quote it. "And I hold forth and deign to give unto you greater riches, even a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh; D&C 38:18
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
"Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had a very good understanding of bees. Utah was originally going to be named Deseret, which meant ‘Honey Bee”. The product of the bees is the most perfect food on the earth. The Jaredites ate this food while on their journeys across the waters in the barges. Lehi and his company carried bees with them to the promised land. There is an obvious message that the properties of honey is important to make this earthly journey with success and health. We would do well to examine the bee and benefits of honey closer.
Bees wear their lives out in the service of the hive. Everything the bee does is for the benefit of the hive. All the product the bees deliver, (for example: the resin used to protect the hive, the royal jelly for the queen so that she can continue in the reproduction and life of the hive, the honey for the life of the bees, and the wax for their housing); ALL of this is turned into the good of the hive."
Monday, August 2, 2010
Salt Lake City happens to be the home of 12 men, not" gods".. who we refer to as "apostles" in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. During his ministry, Christ called 12 disciples. What is the difference between a disciple and an apostle? Are they synoymous terms or is there a difference?
In researching this.. I found that the term disciple means "learner" in Latin..while the term apostle means "messenger, or one who is sent forth". So the difference is ... a disciple is one who learns from a teacher...and an apostle is sent to deliver those teachings to others.
I don't think the terms can be mutually exclusive. A true apostle of the Lord would also need to be a disciple.. learning from Christ Himself, to know the messages that Christ would have him teach...
It is interesting to note that Jesus, Himself, is referred to as an "apostle" in Hebrews, one of His titles, a designation meaning that He is the personal and select representative of the Father... or a "messenger, one who is sent forth".