Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eternal Progression: Power of Communication

There are many things in life that help us grow and improve. Some, ofcourse, are bigger than others. While we all strive to do good and make a difference, we also are aware that once we are gone, much of it will only be remembered by a few…or will it. Do we really understand the difference we are making? While at the printing museum I was struck by the reality and impact that one person can have.
At the printing museum I was impressed with the feeling of awe that one gets from someone who has succeeded to do something great. Gutenberg spent 20 years figuring out how to make a move-able type printer. I can imagine after 10 years I would get a little discouraged. Yet, his determination and perhaps spiritual drive to create this world-changing method drove him to keep going. This printer that he created was used for more than 60 years. Think of how fast it takes for someone to come up with a new addition of anything these days. It seems that once we buy a computer it is already outdated. This invention not only helped with faster printing, but through the sources printed it inspired others to think of new ideas. Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the greatest example of this. From a young age he loved to read, his reading caused him to imagine. Then he began working at a printing shop with his brother. At age 17 he became known as the youngest head printer. I strongly believe that it was due to the written word and the ability to print that he had so many great inventions.
Also from the printing press Gutenberg was able to print the Bible. The word of God was able to be in the hands of the people. This was definatly inspired by God.
While at the museum I was struck how everything that God inspires us to do has 1 purpose, and 1 purpose only. This purpose is that of helping and loving us. If Gutenberg had not invented the first printing press think of where we would be right now. We would still be stuck in the middle ages. Few books, high illiteracy rates, and no indoor plumbing. That is what I call a nightmare! Yet, due to this one invention alone we have developed into a nation where we can communicate and know about the issues of the whole world. More importantly we can know the truth. This came about in the 1820’s when a young boy name Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. They then directed him to a book which holds all the truth we need to know about where we came from, why we are on this earth, and where we are going. It tells us of our true relationship with God and how we can progress so that we may become like Him. This book is called the Book of Mormon. It is true. I know it is true. I’ve read it and prayed to know if it is true. I promise anyone that if they will read it and pray, they will know it is truth.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Truths of Differing Communication

Communication! Isn’t it interesting how two people can see the same thing, experience the same thing, and hear the same thing- yet they can share two completely opposite stories?! This is how I feel when I read the Matthew and Luke accounts of Christ’s birth. They have the same core, yet they are very different.
In the book of Matthew he speaks brief and to the point. Before getting to the point of Christ’s birth he writes the list of who begat who. I used to think that this was rather annoying. Yet, as I’ve matured I’ve realized the importance of our familial lineage. If it were not for our ancestors we would not even be here. Christ is just like us, He came through a lineage. It is also interesting to look at the people in his ancestry. Many of them were sinners in a variety of ways. Yet, Christ came. In my opinion He came from such a messed up line because he was sent on earth to save. This fact that his ancestry was less than perfect reminds me that no matter what I do or how I may mess up, Christ was sent to save and He will if I let Him.
In contrast, Luke did not bring up lineage. Instead he started with the story of Zacharias and the birth of John the Baptist. As he writes this he is setting up for the grand moment of Christ’s birth by comparing it to that of his cousin John. He then ties the story into that of Mary. Instead of just stating her name like Matthew, Luke introduces her by her attributes- “favored among woman,” a panderer, young, etc. This explanation is important because the reader understands just what a miracle Christ’s birth really was. We see how Heavenly Father will take those who are less than adequate to fulfill His purposes. Mary than receives the information about her Son such as His name and holy calling. Luke than adds a very important part. He shows the doubt of Mary. She states, “How shall this be seeing I know not a man?” This question is familiar to us all. We all have times when we are told to do the impossible. To this impossible plea the angel told Mary, “For with God nothing is impossible.” Will our response be as humble as Mary’s was when she humbly accepted this answer and replied, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”
While Luke is using detail, Matthew begins with Mary being found with child. No Zacharias, no angel, no talk of doubt etc. He simply wrote the solid facts of her becoming pregnant, the issues with Joseph, him having a dream and the baby being born. I was shocked by the lack of detail. Yet, the basic facts were given. I much rather prefer the details which Luke writes in his narrative because it helps me to better understand Christ and His life, which in turn help me understand myself.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Luke: The man

We have all heard about the book of Luke. Luke himself is a quite interesting character and writer in the New Testament. He has a medical history. I believe that because of this past he has a more detailed account of all that happened during his time. He uses descriptions, details, and comparisons to help the audience better understand each occurrence.
Luke uses an interesting use of comparisons. We discussed this in class after which I became fascinated with it. The comparison is that of Zacharias and Mary when they were individually visited by an angel. Luke uses detail to explain the story of Zacharias. The Lord tells him to “fear not, for thy prayer is heard.” The Lord continues to explain many in depth details about the son of Zacharias. Luke makes sure to include all of them. Yet, Zacharias still did not listen to the Lord. Next Luke mentions the young Virgin Mary. Mary was not well-known or prestigious. She was a humble youth who was betrothed to Joseph the carpenter. She was also visited by an angel. Yet, unlike the wise, experienced Zacharias who was doubtful of the Lord’s ability, Mary straightway believed. Luke shows the audience that being a follower of Christ is not a “position.” Instead it is a mind set, humility of spirit that allows one to believe and do.
He also expounds many times on the need for baptism. He repeatedly finds areas to insert more detail about baptism. For example he states, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,” “preaching baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Baptism is necessary for salvation. Luke knew this principle and through many details shared what he could with the audience. When expounding on baptism, he uses one detailed phrase, which I enjoyed. “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight , and the rough ways shall be made smooth and al flesh shall see the salvation of God. “ Look at that description. It would have been simple enough to say that everyone on earth will know god lives. Yet, he takes the opportunity to show the grandness of his statement.
Luke also seems to be fascinated with women. He expounds more in depth into the stories and parables of women than he does men. He explains in detail about the lady with an issue of blood. This lady was sick for a long time. She could not find a cure. Yet, by the touch of the Saviors garment she was healed. Luke explains that when she touched him “virtue …[went ] out of [Him]. He also expounds on the story of the woman who anoints the feet of Christ. This lady had done many bad things. Her life was one full of sin. Yet, as she learned of Christ she came to understand that He is the Savior. She knew that He was her personal Savior and was going to die for her. Therefore, out of respect and devotion she anointed His feet. This act was one of love. Others chastised her for doing this, yet, Christ was grateful for her service and love. Luke helps us to learn the lesson that we should never judge another’s righteous act.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The death that saved my life

Mark’s description of the death of Christ is straightforward and to the point. Yet, through his words we can still gain a deeper understanding of the events that led to and the events that occurred after the death of Jesus Christ.

Before the physical death of Christ, He had to die spiritually and emotionally. This was done through Him walking into a garden, falling on the ground and feeling all the pains, sickness, sorrow, betrayal, and guilt that we have and ever could feel. It might be hard for one to understand this. It seems impossible. Yet, I know it happened. Mark describes the emotions of Jesus being “very heavy” or “sorrowful unto death.” I would like us to imagine a time in our lives when we have felt sorrow. Not sadness for scraping a knee, but real inner sorrow. Take that feeling and multiply it by 1 million and maybe we’d start to understand a little of what Christ felt. He cried to His Father asking if there was another way, yet, in the realization that there was not, He kept going. I am grateful that He persevered. What if my sins and my sorrow was the last of all He suffered? If He would have stopped than I would not be saved. But, He didn’t.

After this act of selflessness, Jesus was betrayed by His own close disciple kissing His cheek. He willingly submitted Himself to the soldiers. No fight. No Struggle. Christ had just undergone emotional and spiritual death, now He was undergoing a type of social death. His closest friends all left Him. Peter denied knowing Him three times. He was left alone. When brought in front of Pilate He used the dignity of silence to pled for His cause. Soldiers mocked and scourged Him. They even dressed Him in a purple robe and crown of thorns while beating Him. Everything that Jesus was and is was being beaten down.

When on the cross innocent Jesus Christ was hung alongside “transgressors.” The mocking continued as they taunted Him with his prophesy destroying the temple and then building it in 3 days. As well as the cringing idea that if He was not able to save Himself, how could He save others? Yet, perhaps the world felt the sorrow of this event, because for 3 of the daylight hours there was pure darkness. During this time Jesus perhaps hit the lowest of the low. All had rejected Him. He felt alone. He could not even feel the love of God. This is portrayed through his wrenching words, ““My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me.” Yet, even then Jesus did not stop. He loved me and you too much to stop. He continued. When His work was finished Jesus cried with a loud voice and “gave up the ghost.” After Jesus died a centurion stated “ truly this man was the Son of God.”

He was and is the Son of God. He died for us. Yet, it is not His death that saved us, it is His resurrection. After His body died, He was put into a sepulcher of a dear friend Joseph. 3 days after His death. He arose. His body and spirit came back together in a perfect form. He conquered the unconquerable. He conquered death. A women named Mary saw Him. She told others and they did not believe. Yet, Christ himself came and appeared unto them. I know Christ lives. This is why we can have happiness in our lives. No matter what problem you have, Christ overcame it. Trust in Him.