Are you a first-timer to LDS Perfect Day! If so, welcome!
Click here to see what this blog is all about and how you can get the most out of it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who's Your Spiritual Foxhole Partner?

Bishop Clay Sannar

What were you doing on Sunday, August 30, 2010?

On that day, my family and I had were returning from a trip to Disneyland.  I remember the California weather that day -- it was nice and pleasant.

Tragically, on that same day, at about 12:30pm, 47-year-old Kenneth James Ward of Modesto, CA walked into an LDS church chapel in Visalia, CA.  At that time, 40 year-old Bishop Clay Sannar was conducting interviews after the three-hour block of morning meetings.  Ward waited calmly outside the bishop's office while the interviews took place.  When Sannar was done, Ward asked to see him.  When Ward and Sannar entered the Bishop's office, Ward shot Sannar in the foot then pulled him into the foyer, where he shot him in the face.  Police later exchanged gunfire with, and killed, Ward.

Sannar was the general manager of a fertilizer company in Visalia. He and his wife had six boys, including a 6-month-old infant.

What isn't known by many is that after Ward brandished his gun, Bishop Sannar's main focus was to get people out of harm's way, at sacrifice to himself.

----------------------------

The week after the tragic events in Visalia happened, I substitute taught the Gospel Doctrine class in my ward.  I explained what happened in Visalia the week before, and described to the class Bishop Sannar's heroic efforts in the last seconds of his mortal life.

I asked them then, and I ask you now: "Who are the TRUE heroes in our midst?"

I ask because I know that someday, things are going to get very dicey.  The scriptures have described how the heavens and earth, evil men and evil spirits, will combine to create a hell on earth that was so catastrophic and horrifying, that prophets of old asked for the vision to close and to be shown no more.  They viewed events that may transpire in our lifetimes, and almost certainly in our childrens' lifetimes.

During those times, I will want a hero closeby, someone who has walked the fiery, hot coals of life in truly heart- and soul-wretching ways, and was still standing before God.  They, like Bishop Clay Sannar, would have my back.  Because I, most certainly, would have their back as well.

I told the class that because of past and present church callings, I have had occasion to interact with apostles, seventy, general auxiliary leaders and many stake presidents.  Although they are all good men, honor their priesthood and should be respected in their callings, I told the class that I would not choose any of them as a hero I could stand beside.

I told them that instead, as the hero I would want closeby, were people in our midst...

...a sister who was horribly sexually abused when she was younger.  Yet despite those tragic circumstances, she allowed God to mold her into a sister who is loving and kind to others, attends the temple regularly and is raising children who are strong and valiant in God.

...a brother and sister who were once hard-core drug users and dealers, who have since cleaned up their lives, were converted to the gospel and have been sealed for time and eternity in the temple.

...a brother who, for the rest of his life, will be afflicted with a very unique and debilitating form of manic depression, yet seeks out ways to improve the lives of others that is truly inspirational.

...a sister who has lived a lifetime of abuse and neglect, yet has a perpetual smile on her face and a relationship with Christ that would amaze anyone who knew the details.

None of these people have significant church callings.  But rest assured, someday when they stand before God, the angels in heaven will quietly bow their heads in quiet reverence for these truly valiant souls who overcame a few things, and will be blessed with all things.

My question to you: 

Who's someone (and you don't have to name them) you would want standing next to you in your spiritual foxholes of the future?

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Blog Reader who Received their Calling and Election -- Part 2

Dear Subscribers,

Below is a "Part 2" of sorts written by "The Blog Reader who Received their Calling and Election".  Enjoy. 
________________________________________________________________________
"Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet."
-- D&C 76:61
"And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true."
-- Mosiah 4:12
Giving Glory to God

I am always wondering, "Who am I, a mere mortal, that I can give glory to God, my Savior?" 

For some reason, I just couldn't figure it out.  Then one morning, I got a lesson on that. 

I was singing a song, a Christian song, thinking of Christ.  Then the Spirit flooded me with all these marvelous examples of how praising Him actually brings glory to Him.  How using our agency to choose to give our lives to Him brings Him glory.  How witnessing of Him brings Him glory.  How living by His words brings Him glory.  On and on the lesson went. 

How absolutely beautiful is this union!  I know it is simple.  It is profound to me.  To know that I, one of the least of the saints, can offer any bit of glory to Him is so humbling and so wonderful.  

St. Francis of Assisi used to say that the birds are always singing songs of praise to their Creator, and that we should do the same.  It would be well for us to remember that whenever we wake up.  It's interesting how even the birds can teach us how to grow closer to God -- hence, "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee..." (Job 12:7)

"Second Nature" to "First Nature" of Discipleship

Also, I was recently considering the Second Comforter that Christ is.  This came up during my recent studies concerned the concept of pondering.

To a certain extent, it is out of our nature to be as Christ is, to think as He does, to feel as He does, to see through His eyes.

Yet, as we begin to follow and to mature in His ways, it may become "Second Nature" to do the above.  Then!  It becomes your "First Nature" as you are filled by Him, and our desires to "want to be" a disciple are transformed into a new being -- one who "is" a disciple.