Posted by: nmontague | May 25, 2011

A little venting

So I was surfing the web and reading some forums for discussion of recent news and I came across this article. A few weeks ago a 16 year old girl challenged Rep. Michelle Bachmann to a debate. Since then she claims she has been recieving threats, being mocked, being called a “whore”. Why? Because she had the audacity to speak out. I think this is completely messed up.

No one, especially not a 16 year old girl, should be attacked or criticized for being willing to engage in the political process. It doesn’t matter what your politics is, our freedom to speak freely is a gift and all people should be allowed to peaceably give their own viewpoint without concern for threats, personal attacks, or intimidation tactics. Freedom of speech only works if we are civil towards each other. We can disagree with what someone else says, but that doesn’t mean we should be mean, uncivil, or even worse, violent towards them.

Yet, not only are annonymous people threatening this girl, instead of people being mature and acting like adults and condemning it, I see people fighting over what party is more to blame for these ridiculous tactics. I mean What the heck?! People are seriously going to turn this into a reason to engage in partisan politics?! I mean don’t we have enough of these pointless disputes on issues that are actually important, but now people are going to argue over a girl getting threatened? Is it too much to ask to put aside the partisan bullcrap to condemn this type of behavior no matter what “side” is behind it?!

So far, it looks like I’m the only person on the thread who thinks that. I really have a hard time believing that I am the only person out there that feels that way. I know the anonymous nature of the web provides a platform for people to show their worst, to reveal who they really are inside. But I hope there are still people who won’t put up with this nonsense. Because if there aren’t, then I am seriously concerned with our future as a people. I know that a majority of our culture needs to significantly change who they are, be born again and put off this pride and contention. But I can’t imagine there aren’t people who already have.

If there are, please let me know. We need to network and bring about real change in this world. Or else things will get very messy. I suppose I need to be alittle more patient. But this lack of civility is just bothering me tonight.

Posted by: nmontague | May 4, 2011

Osama Bin Laden – dead

I’m probably not the only person who was surprised to hear about Osama Bin Laden’s death on Sunday night. He has long been a threat to peace and safety to the world, not to mention individual liberty. However, there are a lot of odd circumstances surrounding his death, and I am concerned about the reaction by society at large.

There is no question that Bin Laden was a dangerous and wicked man. However, I can’t take joy in his death, no matter how justified it was. I don’t want evil people killed. I want them to repent and become good people. I don’t take joy or pleasure in seeing people meet their Maker unprepared to meet Him. And the fact that so many people are taking pleasure in it concerns me a lot.

I understand feeling relief he cannot perform more evil in the world. I understand the feelings of the victim’s families who are resting now that justice has been served. I am glad they can. But I cant help but mourn that we needed to kill someone for it to happen. That someone would give up their right and potential to do real good in the world and instead do evil during their days. But should we really be celebrating someone’s death? Aren’t we supposed to love our enemies as ourselves? Should we be reveling in the fact that our military had to kill someone or be praying that our hearts and the hearts of our enemies change so that our military doesn’t have to kill them?

It’s not only the reveling in the violence and celebrating of death that bothers me, It’s the boasting about it. There are so many people boasting about how awesome “we” are for bringing Bin Laden to justice. How nothing can stop us. This pride, hubris, boasting, whatever you want to call it, is very dangerous. I wasn’t really ever worried about Bin Laden succeeding in destroying our country because I believed as long as we remained a moral and upright people that we would have the protection of Divine Providence watching over us.

But now that Bin Laden is dead, I, ironically, am seriously concerned with the future of our nation in a way I haven’t before. When we turn away from God in such a way that we desire violence against our fellow man and boast in our own strength, we are leaving the protection of Divine Providence. Unless we let go of our pride and seek love for our fellow man, The Spirit of the Lord will withdrawl from us. Before we are aware we will be left to fight against the evils and trials in our lives without the assistance of Divine Providence. Does anyone honestly think we can turn away from God without destroying ourselves or subjecting ourselves to our enemies?

We may succeed at weakening and destroying ourselves where Osama Bin Laden failed. That choice is up to us though.

I am also alittle concerned about all the circumstances this went down. There are variants of the stories of what happened. Which one is true? Why was the body disposed of so quickly? How did they get DNA results so quickly and where did they get the DNA to compare the results to? Why are we getting multiple stories about how much the Pakistanis knew? Why is the administration debating whether to release photos now? Are they honestly expecting us to believe that no one brought up the question of showing photos during the months prior to the mission? And if they are only thinking about this now, how competant are our leaders? What about the leaked reports of Al Qaeda threatening to use a nuclear weapon of Bin Laden was killed? Is there any credibility to it? Is this something we should be concerned about?

I find there are lots of questions that are bothering me. I don’t know that there is some grant conspiracy going on here. But some of these things don’t make sense and I hate things not making sense. But there are three things I think we need to remember after all this, even if we never get answers to these questions:

1. We need Divine Providence to protect us if we expect a long future.

2. We turn away from that protecting influence if we are too busy boasting in our own strength.

3. We turn away from that protecting influence if we are celebrating death and being casual with matters of life and death.

If we are going to survive the times coming, we need to have a humble heart. We need to be able to love others, including people we may now consider our enemies. We need to stand in Holy place and Holy places are where Holy people are found. Some people might not like what I’ve said, but I can’t keep silent on something this concerning to me. Otherwise, my conscience would condemn me.

Posted by: nmontague | April 2, 2011

Personal ministries

I’ve been pondering a lot about personal ministries tonight. I think that God has a plan for everyone who lives and that we have the privilege and the responsibility to figure out that purpose and bless the lives of others with our time, talents, and money in a way that is pleasing to God. This is our ministry. We do this in part, through the work we do everyday. Our careers aren’t just a job, they are a way to glorify God by serving our fellow man if we treat our efforts at work the right way. This is in part what used to be called the “protestant work ethic”. Obviously, as I’m not protestant, I do think there are still good principles found in the PWE and these good principles can be found in the scriptures.

Work seems to be a very important part of any personal ministry. And while I believe that our job/carreer can be part of our personal ministry, I don’t think that’s only aspect of it. I think we are supposed to work outside of our time at our jobs as well. We are supposed to be engaged in service of others and make attempts to lift their lives through our service and our friendship with them.  We live in a culture that tends to encourages idleness and amusement rather than our moral and religious obligations to God and our fellow man.

Whatever the work we do, it can bless us spiritually if it’s done in the right mindset.

First, the work of our personal ministry must be done to bless others. If we do work where we delibrately hurt others or try to take advantage of them in some way, we are not doing the right work. If we do engage in work that blesses others, if we do it with the wrong mindset, basically, to get financial gain or personal glory rather than to build up the Lord’s Zion and bless others, than we likewise get no Spiritual benefit. We are not ministering to others, we are seeking to only benefit ourselves. Our efforts must be focused on blessing others to get the fulness of the blessings we can recieve ourselves and to make sure that our efforts are completely blessed by the Lord.

Second, we must work of our own free will. We have been given agency from God to make choices in our lives. And in order to recieve the spiritual blessings to ourselves and to have the spiritual help to lift others, we need to be blessing and ministering to others of our own free will. This is why it’s important that we have the freedom to do this rather than outsource our efforts to a government program. Especially the so called entitlement programs. When government uses force to take from people to give to others, we lose much of the power to fix the real problems our society faces that we might otherwise have if we choose to personally act for ourselves.

For example, if we voluntarily give our time, talents, and money to our fellow man to lift them up, it is an edifying experience. We are blessed and enriched by our service. The recipient of our service is blessed and edified. They recognize our efforts as a gift and have the opportunity to be grateful for recieving it. However, when a government takes the time, talents, and money of one person in order to benefit the other claiming they are entitled to it, their action creates resentment because the giver’s efforts were taken from them by force and the recievers, instead of recognizing the gift for what it is, are told they are entitled to the benefits. Do either party really benefit from this forced transaction the way they would if the giver gave of his own free will and the reciever recieved recognizing the gift?

One method creates unity, gratitude, and love in society. The other resentment, idleness, and division. I contend that our society would be far better off with the voluntary method of ministering to the needs of our society.

At the beginning of Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge argued that he was already forced to help the poor through his taxes. Were either the poor or Mr Scrooge really benefitting from that arrangement? It was when he later realized that he should give voluntarily and minister to those around him with need that both he and those around him were blessed.

We need to start doing this now. Obviously the burden of government taxation and spending may limit our ability to provide money and perhaps even time. But we need to provide more time and effort to building our communities and ministering to those that need help around us despite what the government does to burden us. I don’t believe the burden of government will be lifted from us until after we’ve learned how to govern ourselves and lift up our fellow man of our own free will.

Finally, I would point out that sometimes those that are need are not those that are poor in the materials of the world, but those that are spiritually poor and needy. That can include people who might actually have a lot of wealth who need to be ministered to for the various problems in their life. They may be those who have not yet learned that they need to serve others but who have comfortable lives. The wealth and station of a person, or the lack their of, does not determine whether they are spiritually poor and needy.

Now this may be a new concept for some, or at least one not often thought about. But my contention here is that in order to fulfill our personal ministries, we need to stop looking at people and dividing them into groups of wealthy, middle class, poor, etc. We should see them as our brothers and sisters. It shouldn’t matter if they have $.10 to their name or $10,000,000, we should be willing to serve them and help build up Zion by building up our fellow man. If we are to have no poor among us, we likewise will have no rich. And I think that has less to do with what we produce and more to do with how we divide people in our mind. We need to stop looking at people as rich or poor. If others need to recieve our ministering, we should provide it.

Like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot about personal ministries tonight. Mine in particular. I fear I may have been neglecting it recently. And I think it’s about time I start working again. Learning how to work hard, smarter, and more patiently with others. I’d like to see us all united together and reconciled with God and our fellow man. And I think that requires us to work, to do so voluntarily, and see people are our brothers and not in the station or for the wealth they have. I am going to commit to work harder on my personal ministry and I would encourage everyone of every faith or denomination who has the opportunity to read this to do the same. It’s time to forget ourselves and get to work.

Posted by: nmontague | March 17, 2011

Thoughts on non-violence

Non-violence is the principle I’ve been trying to work on this week on my virtue rotation. To help impliment it more in my life, I’ve been trying to eliminate violent media from my life for the week. I’ve also been avoiding violent books, comic books, video games, anything with violence involved. It’s been an interesting experiment so far. I’ve realized I have alot of violence on my thoughts, much more than I realized. Mostly just thinking of fighting. Not actually doing anything. But often I find that i keep myself entertained with thoughts of some sort of fight I’ve seen on tv or created in my head. I don’t think I’ve ever realized the amount of violence Ive surounded myself with. I checked Netflix and found that most of my movies were martial arts or violent movies. I don’t really like that.

Needless to say, recognizing this has been an eye opener. I realized that I need to discipline my mind more. I need to be more careful with what I care to watch. It hasnt been as difficult to eliminate violent media as I thought it would be. I thought I’d have more of a desire for it, but I really don’t as much. After the earlier mentioned Netflix revelation, I added some more non-violent media to my movies. I find that many of them are more education. I feel a stronger desire to find uplifting and edifying media to watch and listen to.

I’ve been asking myself alot of questions about non-violence. Much of it is, to what extent do I take it? I mean doing it for a week right now is one thing. but would it be something that should be applied all my life? Should I abandon all the media in my life even though I do enjoy it sometimes? Is there a time when violence is appropriate? My inclination is to desire to discipline myself to turn the other cheek. To embrace non-violence. But there is the practical side of me who thinks that there are times where it’s appropriate and where even God has commanded men to defend themselves with the use of force.

What’s the difference between non-violence and cowardice?

I don’t know that I have many insights in this right now. Mostly questions on this post. I am currently playing 10 questions for the Dalai Lama. Different then my usual media, but I think I am going to watch more things that are edifying like this. I don’t know if Ill swear off all violent media. But i think perhaps cleansing myself of it to some degree might be wise.  Maybe some of you have some ideas on the subject?

Posted by: nmontague | February 28, 2011

The Devil went down to Georgia

I was singing “The devil went down to Georgia” to myself in the car the other day and a thought occured to me. If you aren’t familiar with the song, it’s a pretty fun song about a bet between a country fiddle player named Johnny and the devil. The devil sees the boy, bets him a fiddle of gold that he can beat him in a contest and they two face off. It ends with the devil admitting defeat and giving Johnny his fiddle of gold.

Thing is, while I was singing it and thinking about it, I realized something: The devil won.

See, in order to win the fiddle contest, the  devil had Johnny committing several sins. In fact, in the song, Johnny even admits what they are doing might be a sin. But he does it. Why? Greed, pride. He wants the fiddle of gold. He wants bragging rights over the devil. And he gambles, and by doing so ends up losing his soul to those sins.

There are two principles I really see coming from this:

1) When you deal with the devil, you never win, even when you think you have. By getting Johnny to take the bet, the devil put him in a no win situation. If the devil won the fiddle contest, he would have won Johnny’s soul as a term of the bet. But even losing, the devil get’s Johnny’s soul because of sin. The only way for Johnny to win here is to not deal with the devil.

2) Watch what the other hand does. The devil had Johnny fooled into taking the bet. And while Johnny was focused on winning the contest, through music, he didn’t realize he lost his soul through other means. He wasn’t on guard against what the devil was really up to. Which wasn’t winning his soul through a bet, but by convincing him to sin. He saw what the devil was doing with the contest, but missed that his other hand was up to no good as well.

Now, you might say, “that’s nice, but what does it have to do with me?” Yeah, Johnny wasn’t a real person. However, the devil is real. And we will all be confronted by him in a unique way tailored to us. So how do we deal with him when he comes convince us to give up our souls?

In order to learn that, we need to look to the Saviour. He is our example of all things. And even He had a time where He was tempted by the devil. Shortly after He was baptized the Savior was fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. When He was at His weakest, the devil came to tempt him. First with food, then vanity, then power. (Or it could be power than vanity. I believe the Gospels have it in different orders). The point is how did Jesus Christ overcome the Adversary?

1) He quoted scripture. He knew the word of God and rebuked his enemy with it.

2) He commanded the devil to leave. Christ didn’t sit around and have a conversation with the devil. He told him to go away.

Now, how does that help us? Well, we can do the same thing! Of course, first we have to study the scriptures. We have to pray and know the will of God. We have to know them well enough to have them written on our hearts and so that we can recite them in times of need. They will strengthen us against the Adversary. And then we tell him to leave. We don’t sit around and try to deal with him. We turn to God and get the devil out of our lives.

Posted by: nmontague | February 26, 2011

Practice what you preach

I was watching today’s episode of the Glenn Beck Program at The Daily Beck and it has me thinking quite a bit tonight. Tonight’s show had a discussion between a few of the members of the New Black Robe Regiment on living faith in America. It was focused on faith in God, mostly among Christians and Jews in America, though I think the principles can be applied even with other faiths.  You can watch the episode at the Daily Beck or here if you have time:

In the middle of the show there was a discussion on the 10 commandments. Apparently few people even know what the commandments are. I have to agree with the conclusion they had on the show when they stated that our nation would be a far different place if we all kept those commandments. I’d like to encourage anyone who reads this to study the 10 commandments. Memorize them. They might not be able to be displayed in various public places, but that doesn’t mean we can’t write them on our hearts and display them in our lives through our actions. To help in your efforts here are the 10 commandments:

1. I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain

4. Remember the Sabath to keep it Holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

5. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

6. Thou shalt not murder

7. Thou shalt not commit adultry

8. Thou shalt not steal

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

All of these commandments can be found in Exodous 20.

It’s key that if we practice a faith, we need to live it to the best of our ability. We may stumble and fail sometimes. But the key is to make the effort. That way we can be honorable people by practicing what we preach. Another interesting part of this episode of the show was the beginning discussion pointing out that in some moral areas athiests are doing better than Christians.

What is the point of professing a belief if you don’t live it? How does it profit you to believe in something you don’t do? You might believe that drug use is wrong, but if you still light up every day, what’s the point of the belief? It has no power in your life.

In my experience, there is power in living what you believe. Life can get difficult sometimes and we need every bit of Divine power we can get. God wants us to be happy. That’s why He gives us the counsel and commands He does. It’s time we evaluate our lives, determine what we need to work on and get working on it.

Posted by: nmontague | February 5, 2011

Faith and coercion

I was watching Glenn Beck earlier. He had a guest one, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, who is a faithful Muslim working against the radical Muslims who use violence to enforce their religion. At the end of the show he said something that was interesting:”Faith is negated if it’s coerced.”

Now, this is something I’ve always believed. You can’t force people to have faith. But the way he phrased it has me thinking. In order for real faith in God to flourish, people need to be able to free to choose what they believe. You could put a gun to someone head and tell them to believe (or conversely not to believe), and they may say everything you want to hear, but that doesn’t change their hearts. You can manipulate the environment they are in. Push them toward faith or a certain religion. You can ban all other religions. You can threaten to take their lives. You can kill people they love. But none of that will ever force people to have faith (or again conversely, not to).

True religious faith requires that the person choose it voluntarily. You can’t change someone’s heart with threats of violence. You may force them to hide who they truly are. But you can’t force them to be someone different.

Thinking about it now, I realize more why Gandhi (Yes, I know I talk about him alot) associated truth with non-violence. It’s because you can’t convince someone of the truth with violence. First, you can’t use violence to help people find truth, because using violence to force people to see things your way leads not to them changing their hearts, but hiding who they really are. If you are hiding who you really are, how on earth can you ever find the truth? It creates lies, not truth.

Second, using violence demonstrates a lack of confidence in your own heart. If you own heart. It demonstrates fear, not faith. Fear of being wrong. If you seek the truth, you have nothing to fear, because if you are wrong about something, you change your mind. Your quest in life is to align yourself with the truth rather than forcing others to align with you. If you are filled with fear instead of faith, how on earth can you possibly convince others to accept what you don’t have. You’re “faith” is meaningless. It’s negated.

Third, on a practical matter it makes sense. What do you think would be more persuasive at changing someone’s heart? Having a gun to their brain or convincing them to accept it without the use of force? Which do you think will have more power in their life?

Faith is supposed to be a principle of power. We cannot access that power if it’s not embraced voluntarily. If there is no change of heart, it doesn’t benefit us.

So what then is the way to empower our lives and the lives of others? First, you need to have freedom to seek the Truth. Then you need exercise the faith to embrace the truth. And if you ever want to have power to help others do likewise, you need to do it with “pursuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, by love unfeigned, by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy and with guile.” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-42).

It makes me ask myself an important question. Do I have enough faith in God to leave my life in his hands? Enough to do no violence to another human being even if it costs me my own life? It’s a matter of faith and charity. Something to ponder right now.

But I do know two things:

1) Zion can only be built when we have the freedom to choose it.

2) The charity necessary for Zion cannot be achieved if we have violence in our hearts towards anyone.

Posted by: nmontague | January 27, 2011

Virtue list – Industry

I mentioned before how I was looking at Ben Franklin’s list of virtues he would work on every week. I thought it was a good idea and I wanted to try it in my own life with virtues I wanted to develop. I did it for a while and then fell out of habit. However, with the start of the new year I’ve come up with a list of virtues I want to practice and basically put 1 on every week of my 2011 weekly planner. I have a total of 13 virtues, so I should go through every virtue 4 times this year (except 2 since i started 2 weeks late). I think this will be a good thing for me to work on in the long run and I am hoping that I can get alot out of this time around.

This week’s virtue is Industry. I felt like I had a good idea what Industry was, but as I’ve thought about it this week, I realized I don’t know as much as I thought I did. While I was driving home from work the other day, I was pondering industry and thrift. (Thrift was last week’s virtue. Personally I think I failed miserably at it, but then that’s the entire point of this exercise. Develop something each week and get better). I was particularly focused on the relationship between thrift and industry. Usually I think of Industry as focused more on hard work. But I realized while I was thinking that while thrift focuses on using our finances carefully, industry has to do much with using our time wisely. I had never thought of industry this way and I realized that this opens up alot more areas to this virtue. Because quite frankly, I don’t use my time wisely.

I think it was either that evening, or the next day, I looked up Mr. Franklin’s virtue list because he has industry on his list as well. His goals for Industry were:

  • “Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”
  • Again, it hit upon industry in a way I didn’t think about before.

    So it seems to me that Industry requires hard work. A strong work ethic. But it’s also about just using our time wisely. Getting rid of things in our life that are unnecessary and spending our time doing things that are good and useful.

    I wanted to share what I’ve learned, because I am convinced that if we want to solve the problems we have in this nation, in this world, we have to start by focusing on building virtues, or also what I’d like to call “Christ-like” attributes. The Gospel shows us a way to live to help bless our lives and the lives of others.

    Now if only doing these things was as easy as learning about them, this world would be a much better place. I don’t think we’d have any economic problems if we all practiced industry well.


    1. Develop a list of attributes you wish to develop this year. Seek God’s help in this process. And then dedicate every week of the year for a specific attribute, focusing on that one. Customize this list to your personal desires and weaknesses.

    2. Work on a plan to use your time more wisely.

    3. Develop a strong work ethic and a love for it.

    Posted by: nmontague | January 13, 2011

    Healing through faith

    I just thought I’d share this story President Faust shared on faith. Just remember, with faith all things are possible and our wounds can be healed.

    At Haun’s Mill, a heroic pioneer woman, Amanda Smith, learned by faith how to do something beyond her abilities and the scientific knowledge of her time. On that terrible day in 1838, as the firing ceased and the mobsters left, she returned to the mill and saw her eldest son, Willard, carrying his seven-year-old brother, Alma. She cried, “Oh! my Alma is dead!”

    “No, mother,” he said, “I think Alma is not dead. But father and brother Sardius are [dead]!” But there was no time for tears now. Alma’s entire hipbone was shot away. Amanda later recalled:

    “Flesh, hip bone, joint and all had been ploughed out. … We laid little Alma on a bed in our tent and I examined the wound. It was a ghastly sight. I knew not what to do. … Yet was I there, all that long, dreadful night, with my dead and my wounded, and none but God as our physician and help. ‘Oh my Heavenly Father,’ I cried, ‘what shall I do? Thou seest my poor wounded boy and knowest my inexperience. Oh, Heavenly Father, direct me what to do!’ And then I was directed as by a voice speaking to me.

    “… Our fire was still smouldering. … I was directed to take … ashes and make a lye and put a cloth saturated with it right into the wound. … Again and again I saturated the cloth and put it into the hole … , and each time mashed flesh and splinters of bone came away with the cloth; and the wound became as white as chicken’s flesh.

    “Having done as directed I again prayed to the Lord and was again instructed as distinctly as though a physician had been standing by speaking to me. Near by was a slippery-elm tree. From this I was told to make a … poultice and fill the wound with it. … The poultice was made, and the wound, which took fully a quarter of a yard of linen to cover, … was properly dressed. …

    “I removed the wounded boy to a house … and dressed his hip; the Lord directing me as before. I was reminded that in my husband’s trunk there was a bottle of balsam. This I poured into the wound, greatly soothing Alma’s pain.

    “‘Alma my child,’ I said, ‘you believe that the Lord made your hip?’

    “‘Yes, mother.’

    “‘Well, the Lord can make something there in the place of your hip, don’t you believe he can, Alma?’

    “‘Do you think that the Lord can, mother?’ inquired the child, in his simplicity.

    “‘Yes, my son,’ I replied, ‘he has showed it all to me in a vision.’

    “Then I laid him comfortably on his face, and said: ‘Now you lay like that, and don’t move, and the Lord will make you another hip.’

    “So Alma laid on his face for five weeks, until he was entirely recovered—a flexible gristle having grown in place of the missing joint and socket, which remains to this day a marvel to physicians. …

    “It is now nearly forty years ago, but Alma has never been the least crippled during his life, and he has traveled quite a long period of the time as a missionary of the gospel and [is] a living miracle of the power of God.”

    Posted by: nmontague | January 7, 2011

    Blessed are the poor in Spirit

    At the beginning of the New Testament in the Book of Matthew, early in the ministry of our Savior Jesus Christ, is one of his most powerful sermons. The Sermon on the Mount. Parts of it are likewise mentioned in the Book of Luke. In the Book of Mormon, after the resurrected Savior appeared to the people there, one of the first things He taught them was the Sermon on the Mount.

    The Sermon starts with the Beattitudes. The first of which is:

    “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

    Now it’s interesting how things seem to just come together sometimes. It was from reading Bonhoffer that I decided that I should be studying the Sermon on the Mount more. Let it influence my life more. And focus on coming closer to the Lord this year. I finished that yesterday. After returning it to the library, I went to the book store and found Glenn Beck and Dr. Keith Ablow’s new book The Seven: Seven Wonders that Will Change your Life. I finished it this afternoon.

    Now you may be asking yourself, what the heck does this have to do with the Sermon on the Mount, specifically being poor in spirit. I’ll get to that. Others may be saying. “Glenn Beck! Eww!”  I will only respond, this is not a political book and I would hope that you would consider having an open mind. The book is interesting because Glenn provides the background of how he went from being a depressed, alcoholic drug abuser with sever emotional problems from his mother’s suicide to being happy with his life. Dr. Ablow discusses 7 principles from a psychiatric standpoint that can help others apply the same principles in their own life.

    But as I was reading this book, I also happened to read the Sermon on the Mount that I quoted. “Blessed be the poor in Spirit”. I realized that that’s exactly what these two are trying to do in their book. They are trying to reach out to the poor in Spirit and point them in the direction of God. So God can help them find their place. So individuals can learn God’s will for them in their life.

    I thought the timing of all this was very coincidental. Which is also rather amusing since the Book goes into details about how there are no coincidence. Everything happens for a reason. And I am really starting to believe that. I mean, I think I always did, but I’m not really sure it was a deeply ingrained belief.  But considering the “coincidences” I’ve had today, I am much more convinced.

    I think there are many of us who are Poor of Spirit. I think I’ve been feeling that way alot lately. Facing my lowest points in life thus far. I’ve been realizing how important it is to be focusing on my relationship with God. That perhaps the reason Ive been so down is because I’ve been feeling a disconnect there that I’m not very happy with.

    I am simply amazed at the Tender Mercies the Lord provides me to help me see what was in front of me the whole time and I just hadnt notice. If you have a chance, read the book. I am confident that you won’t regret it. And that things may be tough, but blessed are the poor in Spirit. God is there for you.

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