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Showing posts from October, 2011

Pray for These

I am constantly reminded of how incredibly horrific life can be. The terrors of mankind and nature are revealed everyday on the news and in TV shows--fictional and documentative. As I hear survivors and witnesses of such disturbing events share their experiences, I cannot help but feel compassion, pain, and sorrow for them.

Every one of these people is a child of God, known and loved and not forgotten by Him. Let us remember them in our prayers. Pray for all the children who are being physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. Pray for all the women who have been raped, murdered, and mutilated. Pray for all the innocent victims of terrifying civil wars. Pray for all the people lost or injured in unforgiving wildernesses. Pray for all the fearful people caught in natural disasters and freak accidents. Pray for all these people to be blessed with comfort, peace, hope, temporal salvation if it's God will, and spiritual salvation if it's not.

Challenge: Next time you pray, ask…

Who Are Christians?

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are frequently labeled Mormons/the Mormon Church or Latter-day Saints/the LDS Church. No matter what people call us, they never reference Christ, the Son of God, whom we worship and for whom our church is named. We are never called Christians.

Who are Christians? According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, a Christian is "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ." There are many things wrong with this definition: 1.) it implies that to be Christian you only need to profess belief, 2.) the belief is in Christ's teachings, not in Him, and 3.) there are many interpretations of what His teachings are. The last problem is why people do not consider us Christians. The first two are why I don't consider many people Christians.

Of course, to be Christian you need to believe in Christ. We do. We believe He is the Son of God and atoned for our sins. We worship Him and only Him--not prophets,…

Random Acts of Kindness

Service does not have to be big or time consuming. Sometimes the best service is small, random acts of kindness. These little but meaningful acts brighten other people’s day and make them feel loved. Try one of the following ideas to surprise a stranger, friend, neighbor, or family member.
FOR STRANGERS: Put coins into a parking meter running low. Return stray shopping carts in the parking lot so that they don’t damage cars. Pay for something for someone waiting behind you in line. Give up your seat on a bus or in a waiting room. Hand out or randomly leave treats for students studying in the library during midterms and finals. Hold open the door for people and help them carry in packages or other loads. Give $5 gift cards for fast food places to homeless people. Smile and say hello! FOR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS: Doorbell ditch, leaving behind treats, a small gift, or a kind note. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway, weed their yard, or wash their car. Buy or make a lunch for your roomma…

The Power of Service

I received this story from my father, who got it from his bishop. It has been edited for usage and clarity. Names have been changed for privacy:

This is an amazing story, a miracle really, that happened right here in the loving Lake Elsinore Ward.
There was a very less-active man married to a very active woman: the Smith family. They lived in Horse Thief and had three little children. Sister Smith held callings and juggled her kids and was as active and faithful as could be. What an example she was. Brother Smith was a good guy, but just didn't care much for the Church. 
They asked us to help them move out when Brother Smith found his dream job across the country on the East Coast. As always, our sweet priesthood brethren and our Relief Society sisters jumped in without hesitation to assist in the move. 
The Lord works in mysterious ways! Here's the rest of the story as written in a Facebook message from Brother Smith: 
"Hello Bishop Johnson! Thanks for accepting my friend re…

How to Teach the Scriptures to Toddlers

Teaching scripture stories to toddlers is important for instilling them with faith in God, gospel knowledge, and power to do what’s right. But it’s not easy for them to understand the scriptures and they have short attention spans, so try the following ideas to help them learn better.
If your toddler has difficulty cooperating during family scripture study, let them read their church books while the family reads from the scriptures. They will learn that it is a special time to read about the gospel. Try reading toddler books about scripture stories together before bed.Retell scriptures stories in your own words at a toddler level. To get little children involved, have them do something (like clap) every time they hear a certain key word (like faith). Or make little happy and sad faces for them to hold up when they hear the words “happy” and “sad.”Read the Church's scripture stories for children. After a few sentences, read the corresponding verses from the scriptures. Remember Eld…