Monday, April 13, 2015

Recipients of Radiation

"Every person who lives in this world wields an influence, whether for good or for evil. It is not what he says alone, it is not alone what he does. It is what he is. Every man, every person radiates what he or she is. Every person is a recipient of radiation. The Savior was conscious of that. Whenever he came into the presence of an individual, he sensed that radiation. . . . He was conscious of the radiation from the individual. And to a degree so are you, and so am I. It is what we are and what we radiate that affects the people around us.

"… As individuals, we must think nobler thoughts. We must not encourage vile thoughts or low aspirations. We shall radiate them if we do. If we think noble thoughts, if we encourage and cherish noble aspirations, there will be that radiation when we meet people, especially when we associate with them.

"No matter what you are people will feel and recognize this. You radiate, you can’t hide it. You may pretend something else, but that will not affect people."

President David O. McKay, Teachings

My mother-in-law shared this quote today and I loved it so much I had to share it too. I don't really know what else to say about it--he says it so well that I don't really have anything to add. Who we are, what we say and do and choose to be matters--not only because of what it does for ourselves, but for what it can do for others. My life has been forever changed for good by individuals who radiated goodness and sincere love for the people around them. And the cases I am thinking of specifically, right now, they were people that I hardly knew. It had nothing to do with a deep knowledge of them or a wealth of shared experiences with them. It was because they practically shone, they were so full of light.

There is still so much about me that is selfish and not quite right and I wonder sometimes how I know what exactly I am "radiating." I feel like Isaiah 32:17 has the answer:

"And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever."

I have decided that this is going to be my "go-to" scripture to assess if I am progressing and becoming more like these people who have so positively influenced me through their Christ-like examples. Do I feel peace? Do I feel quietness inside myself? Do I feel assurance with who I am or about the words I just spoke or the thoughts I am thinking. Quietness, peace, assurance: they are what you feel when you are doing what is right. And people who feel that quietness, peace, and assurance are radiant. I know it is a process and it takes time (ugh, more of that patience that is required.) I know it takes a lifetime and longer of work. And I know what it really is, divinity, the love of Christ, shining through us. And I also know it can't be faked.

Feed My Sheep, David Koch
Who loves the story of Peter and his enthusiastic leap into the water (found here), depicted so perfectly above. Now that I think of it, that wasn't his first time getting out of a boat in the middle of the sea and heading towards Christ. Hmmmm., I will have to think a little bit more about the parallel between the two events...Sorry, this post is kind of disjointed and random. I need to get more sleep.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Constantly Raining

After several years of significant drought, our area has received much needed and appreciated rain this spring. It has been a joy to pull the umbrella out of the closet and use it as I dash in and out running errands. As I snapped it up the other day, I found myself thinking about a beautiful rain analogy that President Dieter F. Uchtdorf used as he spoke to the women of the Church last fall. He said:

"Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up. But the commandments aren’t like that at all. In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.
His commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help for us to close the umbrella so we can receive the shower of heavenly blessings." (Living the Gospel Joyful)
Since then, I have tried to keep my umbrella closed and be more aware of and grateful for the many wonderful blessing that my loving Heavenly Father rains down on me.
who is loving the sunshine today

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Throne of Grace

Hebrews 4:16 says

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

I've thought on this verse a lot recently. Why does Paul say that we will receive mercy when we come to the throne of grace? It seems like we should be receiving grace. Is he just trying to pack multiple positive traits of Christ (whose throne it is) into one verse? Probably not. The following is my interpretation of this verse.

If I am coming to Christ for grace (which the LDS Church defines as the enabling power of Christ), I am making a personal admonition that I need him, and believe he both can and will help me. And because I make that admonition, because I try to work with him rather than by myself, he not only grants me grace in time of need, but also is merciful in the long term.

A great example is when a man with the palsy is brought to Christ, and Christ both heals him of the palsy and forgives him of his sins (Mark 2:1-12, and video below). Seeking Christ for healing is approaching the throne of grace; having the palsy cured is receiving grace in time of need; and receiving a forgiveness of sin is mercy.

It's my belief that if I seek Christ's grace, he will help in my time of need. And additionally, he will have mercy on me through the long run because I sought him.

--Who needs all the grace and mercy he can get.