Tuesday, May 14, 2013

See 'Dat!?!

Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson had a conversation in, "Bohemian Scandal", one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles literary classics:

“You see, but you do not observe." Sherlock says. He continues with, "The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room.”
“How often?”
“Well, some hundreds of times.”
“Then how many are there?”
“How many? I don't know.”
“Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now, I know that there are seventeen steps, because I have both seen and observed."

C'mon, How Could You Miss It?!

We can glance at life and the things before us, or we can perceive and comprehend the nature and significance of in its fullest. In short, we can GET IT. Though not all people will for normal everyday things, we all have the capacity to truly observes spiritual and gospel related things, even if we are not Sherlock Holmes. True observation is hard work, you must decide where your priorities lie. And then, we will have the spirit to help us as we seek it.

David A. Bednar gave a talk entitled, "Quick to Observe". The focus is on Mormon, one of the principle compilers of the Nephite record we know today as the Book of Mormon. When reading the first chapter of Mormon we find the following:
And now I, Mormon, make a record of the things which I have both seen and heard, and call it the Book of Mormon.
And about the time that Ammaron hid up the records unto the Lord, he came unto me, (I being about ten years of age, . . .) and Ammaron said unto me: I perceive that thou art a sober child, and art quick to observe;

Because of his being quick to observe, he was given the record at the age of 24 for safekeeping and upkeeping. That is kind of a big deal. It was pretty much the most important charge he could possibly have received as the Book of Mormon was meant for us here today, scripture to be brought forth unto "the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations" (Title Page of BoM), and essentially the only evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and thus the Mormons not so crazy.

... However I Still Can't Vouch For The Weird Green-Jello Fixation The General LDS Community Has

So exactly what does it mean to be, "Quick to Observe"?

As used in the scriptures, the word observe has two primary uses. One use denotes to obey or to keep—as is evident in verse 6 of section 54 in the Doctrine and Covenants:  
But blessed are they who have kept the covenant and observed the commandment, for they shall obtain mercy.
 The second use of the word observe suggests to look or to see or to notice—as we learn in Isaiah 42:20:  
Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.
Thus, when you and I are "quick to observe," we promptly obey or look or notice. An old football coach once told me, "Don't tell me you know, show me you know."




You really just don't get it... do you?

One more quote as food for thought:
I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.

I'll let you figure out a way to make this relevant to this topic. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Are You Ready? Or Will You Let It Slip Away?

What does General Conference mean to me?


For surely, sometimes we need to ask such questions of ourselves to really understand what to say.

I know it doesn't fit on my blog, and maybe that is the point...
General Conference can be likened unto the Sermon on the Mount. The Savior taught amazing words of wisdom, parables, principles and doctrine. What He did prompted commitment, soul searching, and a coming unto knowledge that could only come through the Spirit touching hearts. It prompted repentance, for no heart can be touched by the spirit and not turn towards something better.

The Savior need not be at General Conference for it to be like the Sermon on the Mount. A living Prophet and Apostles, all called by the Lord himself, have ascended the mountain height through prayer and careful guidance from the Spirit to bring the messages as humbly as they can that He would have them share.

Does God cease to speak to man?


I know that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has spoken to man all throughout biblical history through the mouths of His servants the prophets. I know that he continues to do so today.

As I go with an open mind and a question I want answered, inviting the Spirit to work with me, I will hear the message that God has for me individually. I know the margins of my notes will be filled with the most precious and personal revelation that I could ever hope for, and that as I observe those things given to me that I will find an increase and be ready for more when next conference is called to order.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Come And See

In this video the Savior talking with Nicodemus, one of the local teachers who is held at great respect. He talks of baptism, His mission as the Savior of the world, and the struggle that man faces between darkness and light.

But my favorite concept He teaches is that of coming to know spiritual things for ourselves.

He says,
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
All We Are Is Dust In The Wind... Dust, Wind, Dude!
Alright, so that might need some additional scripture to clarify a little bit. Lets go to Corinthians!

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man recieveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

So the long and the short of it is this: How do we really come to understand how it feels like to get an answer to a prayer? Or how can we learn principles that are spiritual in nature so that they actually become a part of who we are?

Tell Me!!!!!
Experience it for yourself!
And then compare what you know with what comes your way.

Think for just a second or two... how would you tell me what salt tasted like?

(still waiting)

You have tasted it thousands of times, you probably remember many times where too much of it ruined a perfectly good meal, and yet when it comes to describing it you simply must experience it to get it.

Same thing with the Spirit. When you pray or read the scriptures or go to church, really anything that invites the Holy Ghost to testify of truth, you have the opportunity to feel the spirit and know it for yourself. Many times it takes repeated attempts and then someone else perhaps pointing it out to you before you have your, "Oh, THAT'S what that is!" experience, but once it comes then you understand it.

Once you have that basic experience and understanding, then you can do as is said in Corinthians and "compare spiritual things with spiritual". It can be like the Savior expressed, feeling the wind and knowing the sound of it, but not knowing where it comes from or how you know it.

And in the same way, I can say as the Savior that, "I speak that I do know, and testify that I have seen". I have come to know that God is my loving Heavenly Father and that Jesus Christ is His son, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I know it by the power of the Holy Ghost. I tasted salt in a spiritual sense and I cannot quite explain how I know, but I do. By that same token, I have read the Book of Mormon and prayed to know if it is true and I have received a witness and confirmation from the Spirit of God that it is a true record of Gods dealings with the people who lived anciently on the American continent. I know that we have a prophet on the earth today, Thomas S. Monson, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the church that Jesus Christ has reestablished in these days prior to His second coming.

My commitment to you is to experience it to see for yourself if it's true. Read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true. Here, I'll even give you a link where you can get a free copy, no obligation:
Free Book of Mormon!

It is an invitation to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in your heart the message it contains, and then to ask God if it is true. Those who do will receive a witness from the Spirit because God answers prayers. It is an invitation to feel the Spirit that comes with it and to know for yourself its worth.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Spirit Or... What?

"How do I know if it is a real spiritual prompting or something else?"

The question is a deep one!
It has far reaching effects, but it has a somewhat simple answer!

The Book of Mormon (Moroni 7:16-17) talks about The Light of Christ which is given to every man, saying:
That which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticith to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one.
Some would call it a conscience, I would personally consider it more of that natural tendency within all of us to follow and go towards light and truth and ultimately to follow Jesus Christ. When we are faced with a choice, there are always good and bad choices (or good and better... either way, im not picky). The Holy Ghost in those times will provide additional guidance and support to those who seek it in such times.

With me so far?

So the short answer to the question, "is it a prompting and should I follow it?" is based off a quote from President Hinckley:
“That’s the test, when all is said and done. Does it persuade one to do good, to rise, to stand tall, to do the right thing, to be kind, to be generous? Then it is of the Spirit of God. . . .If it invites to do good, it is of God. If it inviteth to do evil, it is of the devil. . . . And if you are doing the right thing and if you are living the right way, you will know in your heart what the Spirit is saying to you. You recognize the promptings of the Spirit by the fruits of the Spirit—that which enlighteneth, that which buildeth up, that which is positive and affirmative and uplifting and leads us to better thoughts and better words and better deeds is of the Spirit of God”
The whole reason this blog is called "A Spark Of The Light Of Christ" is because I know that this is within all of us and that we get little flashes of goodness and inspiration to do and choose right, no matter who or where we are. Furthermore, as we courageously follow those things we think and know to be good, we will be able to distinguish more perfectly the promptings we receive and increase in our ability to follow with exactness. Whether you are using baby steps or taking strides as a spiritual giant, the filter of the mind (does it persuade to do good?) and the heart (does it feel right?) use the same formula.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Getting The Hang Of It

"And we would ask that Elder Donohue bear his testimony, and we'll proceed from that point."


"Wait, what?"


I bear my testimony, those things I believe and know of a spiritual nature, quite a bit as a missionary. Where before it may not have felt natural to just say whats on my mind or my heart, I now can't honestly see myself going a day without even the smallest declaration of the hope that is within me. (1 Peter 3:15)

That being said, doing so on the fly with just a tiny bit of heads up publicly in church is still not one of my strengths.

As I took the few minutes available to try to think about what I wanted to say and how I would say it, I started to psych myself out just a tiny bit... a precursor to being tongue tied. I do that quite a bit. But then a small voice somewhere within me came and said,
"Just be yourself."
Yes! That's the right answer, perfect! Thats what i'll do, i'll just be myself. Just be me...

Well, who the heck am I?!?

Thankfully the voice came again,
"You are a child of God."

And that felt like a pretty good place to start a testimony! And so I bore my testimony starting with that and for the most part feel that I said what I wanted to say and it all went peaches and cream.

The more I reflect on that statement, "You are a child of God", the more I sense a deeper understanding with it. It speaks volume of the relationship that we have with our Heavenly Father, it hints at our divine potential, and gives the feeling of peace and comfort knowing that there is someone who loves us and is looking out for us.

Elder L. Tom Perry once said,
"I can think of no greater teaching to our children than that of the power of prayer. We should do it by example, and take our children daily before the Lord and give them the peace and assurance that can come from knowing they are a child of our Father in Heaven."

Awwwwwww :)
I just want to +1 that statement by saying that I know of this truth because of prayer. No spiritual truth can be discovered and understood except through revelation, and the foundational and central truth of our God is always deepened through constant communication through prayer.

And that... is my testimony.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rhyme and Reason

We all got skills.

Heck Yes We Do!

Some of us are really good at painting, others are really good at basketball, some are amazing at playing guitar and singing, and yet others are the person you always go to if you need to talk to someone. Whatever our personal skillset, we have been given our talents with the intent to use them for the good and joy of those around us and ourselves. We have been given the ability to choose. With that we have also been given the ability to improve what we have, those things we are first-class at and especially the things we are inept at.

Jesus told a story somewhat along these lines in Matthew 25.
A man travelling into a far country called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents (or pieces of money), to another two, and to another one; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
Later, the master came back for the report of what had been done with what he had given them during his absence. The two who had worked with their talents were able to have doubled what they were given. The last had done nothing and had nothing to show for it either, and so his talent was taken and given to another.

Ouuuccchhhh.... That Had To Hurt
This story makes me sad! I look at this story in terms of our personal "talents" and not as money, and when I do I feel bad for the guy who didn't do anything with what he had. I know for me that sharing my talents and working to improve them bring me the most happiness I ever get in life. And whenever someone does something like write amazing songs and play them for me (one such experience is very much on my mind right now), it blows me away and I can't help but appreciate and love the person who has God given talent they've worked hard at and so passionately shared.


But what if it had never been shared?
And do you really fully enjoy that which you have if you keep it all to yourself?
For that reason, I feel bad for the poor guy who buried the talent he had instead of being willing to take a chance and shoot for the stars.
And for those who strive to inspire and serve others with that which they have been given,

"Divine favor will attend those who humbly seek it."

Time and effort and faith... As we are patient and dilligent, through Christ we can turn our weaknesses into strengths and bring that thrill and joy to others and ourselves.