Saturday, June 19, 2021

Enduring and Learning from Afflictions

I'm a little worried. It's so hot where I live right now, and yet, it's not even Summer yet. I'm not sure how hard this Summer is going to be, and I'm not looking forward to it.

Still, I suppose that afflictions, including uncomfortable amounts of heat, are a part of life and an essential part of our spiritual progression. We came to earth partly so we could experience afflictions and the growth that they can bring.

I suppose I should look forward to the coming Summer and the growth experiences I'll have during it. After all, we were excited to come to Earth. Perhaps I should consider myself fortunate that I get to experience some of life's character-building experiences, including heat waves.

Thankfully, I know I'll get through it. I've been blessed with a good deal of comfort and resources that will help me endure the heat of the current heat wave and the coming Summer. I hate to think about how hard this Summer will be for those who aren't as fortunate.I'd like to help them. Maybe I'll manage to think of a way in which I can.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to keep my chin up. Yeah, we're dealing with some unpleasantness right now, but that's life. You endure it, learn from it, and move forwards. Here's hoping that this heat wave and the heat of the Summer might give me something to learn from and help me become a better person.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Team Robarts

When my family attends social events and stays long enough to see the cleanup crew starting to get to work, we usually join them. We've gotten pretty good at it. We take out garbage, clean up messes, and put away tables and chairs. We tend to be fairly diligent about it, and all we need in return is the fuel we need to keep going. We're the best free labor that refreshments can buy. We are Team Robarts. We do good and do it well. And frankly, I'm proud to be a part of the Team. It's work, but it's good work, and I'm proud that we're happy to do it.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Missing Hymns

Today, I was reminded how much I love singing hymns, perhaps not so much in a church setting, but just on my own, where I can sing whatever hymn(s) I feel like singing and take the time to think about the lyrics. I used to sing hymns a lot when I went to the Temple, but I stopped doing that around the time I started to write down my thoughts instead. Frankly, until today, it had probably been several months since I had sung hymns and really meant what I was singing, with maybe one or two exceptions some time in the last few months. The hymnal is full of important messages, both to say and to hear, and I've been missing them.

The scary part was that I hadn't realized I was missing them. Perhaps it was something like the boiling frog, but in reverse. I didn't realize how cold I had been gradually getting until I sang a hymn that warmed my heart. I'm glad this happened. I'm glad I was reminded today of how important hymns are to me, and I'm glad to have them back in my life. I had forgotten how much I need them. Now, I just need to try not to forget again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Bearing the Standard

Tonight, we read about what an ensign is and about several examples of ensigns, including us. 

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

As part of being a light to the world and letting our light shine before others, we should do our best to maintain high moral standards, especially in pubic. This is, of course, far easier said than done, but it's important to try. We can't lead others to the light of the Gospel unless we ourselves are living by it. If we want to help others find the Gospel path, we have to be on it ourselves. Rallying others around the standard of the Church requires us to uphold those standards.

It's important to help others find the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but, to that end, it's even more important to live it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Deeds and Rewards

D&C 64:11 And ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.

The context of this verse was the injunction for wronged individuals to forgive those who have wronged them, trusting that God would reward the wrong-doer(s)'s evil deeds with punishment, but really, God rewards everyone according to their deeds. Those who do good receive additional blessings. Those who do evil are punished. That's justice. Everyone is rewarded according to their deeds.

There have been times when I tried to negotiate with God, agreeing to keep certain commandments or perform certain acts of service only if He would give me certain blessings for doing so. I now realize that I may have been wasting my breath. God always blesses those who do good. I may not have gotten the exact blessings I wanted, but God knows what I need and want, and He was bound to have blessed me with something. I didn't need to negotiate. The fact that I'd be blessed was a given. People are always rewarded according to their deeds. The only exceptions are wrong-doers who repent.

We don't really need to worry about making sure we or others get their just desserts. God's got it covered. Thanks to the Final Judgement and God's granting of various blessings, both here and hereafter, justice is basically a given. All people will be rewarded according to their deeds, whether they be good or whether they be evil. So, let's do good deeds and not worry too much about the past deeds of others. God sees all our deeds and will reward everyone accordingly.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Lifted to Tuna

My brother's cat, Velox, likes tuna, but she doesn't like being picked up, so when the tuna she was looking for was up on an appliance, and she didn't know where it was, she was in a bit of a bind. Fortunately for her, my brother picked her up, despite her protest, and got her to the tuna she wanted, even though that wasn't necessarily how she wanted to get there.

I imagine that this situation plays out fairly often with us. We want blessings, and God knows how to get us those blessings, but unfortunately, the way to get the blessings isn't always as smooth or pleasant as we would like. There are times when, through various afflictions, God helps us get the blessings we want, despite the temporary discomfort we have to experience to get them.

If we really want the blessings we're looking for, we should learn to trust God enough to get us to them, even if the path to our blessings is harder than any that we would willingly choose to follow. We should learn to let God lift us up to the blessings He offers us, even though that means letting our feet leave the ground. We have to give up some of our comfort and control, but what we get in exchange is worth it. In the end, Velox was grateful enough for the tuna to be willing to forgive my brother for picking her up. When we receive our promised blessings, I'm sure we'll be grateful enough for them to forgive God for whatever He had to do to help us get them.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Thank God for Unnoticed Blessings

I didn't stain any of my church clothes today. We were having dinner, and I spilled some salsa on my shirt, and I didn't notice, but I had to go to the bathroom, and that's when I noticed that I had spilled salsa on my shirt, and I was able to clean it up before any stains set in. Naturally, you could call it a coincidence that I had to go to the bathroom immediately after spilling on myself, but I'm not sure that it was. God is very good at being extremely subtle. He can pull strings and work miracles in ways that seem like mere coincidences. Granted, I'm not sure why He does this. Being a bit more open about His influence would make it easier for people to have faith in Him. But I'm sure He has His reasons for making His blessings subtle enough to go unnoticed.

This experience has made me wonder how many blessings God gives me that I don't notice. How many times has He saved me from problems that I never had because He spared me from them? How many times has He worked miracles that seemed like coincidences, luck, or just nature taking its course? How many ties have I failed to thank God for blessings I didn't even notice receiving?

I should thank God more often, and I should serve Him more, to partially pay Him back for the blessings He thanklessly gives me. I'm sure I receive far more blessings than I notice. I should make a point to thank God for the blessings that go unnoticed.