Month: Dec 2013

What Shall We Give? – Mormon Tabernacle Choir

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As you watch this video, ask yourself, “What does Christmas mean to me?” I believe that the greatest blessings of Christmas are experienced in the giving, not the getting. Christmas is not about the brightly colored lights, the lit Christmas trees, or even the packages under the tree. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of the Savior and Redeemer of the world – the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of being overly concerned about whether we will receive that special gift that we have hoped for, let us turn our focus heavenward, and give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the greatest gift ever given to humanity – the precious gift of His Only Begotten Son. There is no gift that can compare to this unspeakable gift. Merry Christmas!

Elder David James Archuleta Christmas Concert at Santiago Temple 2013

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Elder David James ArchuletaElder David James Archuleta is currently serving a two-year full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile. He is scheduled to return home from his mission on 28 March 2014. On, Saturday, 14 December 2013, Elder Archuleta was one of the participants in a Christmas concert held at the Santiago Temple. You can watch the live stream of the concert in Spanish on LDS.org here.

Elder David James Archuleta Christmas Devotional 2013Elder Archuleta sang Sus Manos (His Hands) for his zone’s Christmas Musical Devotional on 1 December 2013 in Buin, the northern edge of the mission. In the picture above, he put his finger on his lips to politely tell someone to “shhh”

Elder David James Archuleta Christmas Devotional 10 December

Elder David Archuleta had a huge concert on 10 December 2013. It was a public event similar to last year, however, this time he performed with a Mormon and Christian chorus. It was necessary to have body guards because the Christmas Concert was at Constitution Square, opposite La Moneda Palace – the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile.

Elder David James Archuleta - November 2013

Nelson Mandela, Race and the Priesthood, and Other Issues

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Mormon Priesthood Authority

Introduction and Caveat

On Tuesday, 10 December 2013, I posted some remarks on my Facebook page about the issue of race and the Priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others). A substantial amount of conversation was generated as a result of the comments that I had made. My first comments were followed by a letter to a friend on Thursday, 12 December 2013. I have here combined both thoughts on this issue into one.I am sincerely grateful for the many blessings that I am continuously proffered as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, therefore, it is not my intent to offend any brother or sister by the comments that I am about to share. It is, however, my sincere hope and prayer that I am able to convey my thoughts in a clear, concise, and understandable way. These are just a few of my personal thoughts on the issue, and I invite the readers of this treatise to share their thoughts. I also ask for forgiveness, if anything that is said here is offensive to anyone in any way. That is not the intent. These thoughts are humbly offered as food for thought.

On 5 December 2013, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement at the passing of Nelson Mandela. At about the same time, the Church released a new study topic on “Race and the Priesthood.” Since then, it seems that the issue of race and the Priesthood restriction which once existed in The Church of Jesus Christ, has become a “HOT” topic of discussion which in some cases has caused the terms “racist” and  “racism” to yet again rear their ugly heads.

This author will admit that an unexplainable “wrong” was seemingly committed against a race of people, but the point that too many people are missing is that the Priesthood restriction was more of an African lineage issue than it was a seemingly all-out attack against the African-American race as some are purporting it to be. It was not the Church’s intention then, nor is it the Church’s intention today, to deny anyone the rights, privileges, and full blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

LDS First PresidencySo, why did the Priesthood restriction take place? When did it actually begin? There are no definitive answers that have ever been given. With that being the case, who exactly are some Blacks expecting to shoulder the blame, and who are they expecting to answer for the things that occurred? Those whom they are demanding an apology from are not necessarily the ones who pronounced the Priesthood restriction, but they are the ones who are striving to build bridges of understanding and forgiveness.

I liken the behavior of demanding a formal apology from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to a Black who approaches the descendants of a former slave owner and demands that they pay restitution and give a formal apology for the wrongs that he believes were committed against his ancestors. Does that seem just and fair? Does that even make rational sense? In reality, is that not a form of “racism” in action? Why should those descendants be demanded to give an apology for something that occurred many years ago and that they themselves had no part in?

Elijah Abel Mormon Priesthood

Elijah Abel was ordained an Elder by Joseph Smith, the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The certificate of ordination is dated 3 Mar 1836. In December 1836, Elijah Abel was ordained a Seventy. The Ordination was performed by Zebedee Coltrin according to the ordination certificate.

 

Another very important point that many people are forgetting is that in spite of the Priesthood restriction, Blacks continued to join The Church of Jesus Christ and were allowed, and did indeed hold, callings in the Church. Also, it should be carefully noted that prior to his martyrdom, Joseph Smith ordained a few Blacks to the Priesthood. It bothers me that some Blacks who have been faithful members for many years, are suddenly joining the ranks of those who are demanding the Church to give them a formal apology. The question that begs an answer is, “After they have received their “apology”, then what?” What is next? If the ones who are demanding the apology would pause to think about what they are doing, would they not have to come to the honest conclusion that their actions could be construed as the actions of racists?

Have there been errors, perhaps even some grave errors, made throughout the Church’s history? Absolutely there have been. Why? Because the leaders are imperfect mortals who are prone to faults and error. This is not news to our Heavenly Father, and it should not come as surprise to any of us.

Jesus ChrstMy personal concern with all of this is that too many people see religion in general as Black and White. However, religion is not a Black and White issue. Those who get tangled up in that chaotic web are missing the entire message of the Gospel. That is what is truly missing in these discussions – the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are too many “Christians” who decry that they have been wronged and focus solely on the supposed wrongs, and seemingly dismiss the teachings of the Savior Himself when He taught that all men will know that we are His disciples by our love for one another. Notice that He did not mention anything about race or the color of our skin. I don’t personally feel much love radiating from those who are up in arms over this issue.

Do I think that it was right that Blacks were denied the Priesthood? No, I do not, but at the same time, I do not know all the reasoning behind it. And regardless of what others may be saying, God did allow it to take place. What were His reasons? None of us can answer that question because we cannot begin to know or comprehend the mind of God.

It does, however, sadden me that some of the discussions that are buzzing about are filled with hatred towards another, bitterness, contention, and yes, dare I say, racism. Racism by any other name is still the same. I see too many “Christians” lashing out in anger and trying to find someone, anyone, to blame for their anger. As a result, their displaced anger is turning into hatred, almost to the point that the tone of some of what is being said would lead one to believe that perhaps some of those whose anger is raging have intentions of leaving the Church because of this issue. In my humble opinion, a person who is willing to throw away blessings that he has received because he does not agree with something is insanity at best.

Blacks Receive the PriesthoodNone of us can turn back the hands of time and make things the way that we wish they would have been. We cannot eradicate from the annals of history the injustices of slavery, the inhumane actions that occurred during the Civil Rights movement, or even the Priesthood restriction. Those events occurred. There is no way to deny that, but WE can either choose to pitch our tents in the lands of the past and play in the mud of what we believe to be transgressions against us, or we can take up our tent stakes and move forward to lands of hope, brighter tomorrows, and forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the key. By now demanding an apology after all these years, have those who are demanding said apology truly forgiven those whom they believed trespassed against them? I believe that so long as people harbor malice and content in their hearts towards another; so long as they continue to “demand” apologies; so long as they refuse to forgive, they only hurt themselves by stifling their own spiritual progression.

As a 55-year-old Black man who has been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 10 March 1998 when I was baptized in Reykjavík, Iceland, I have enjoyed the blessings of serving in several leadership positions. I have also been respected for my service in those positions, and there are people who look to me as a person who is not afraid to teach and preach the gospel as it should be taught and preached, or to discuss issues in a loving, caring way as the Savior Himself would do. There are other Black leaders in the Church who have also been proffered such blessings.

Even if a “formal apology” from The Church of Jesus Christ is given to Blacks, this author believes that it will still not be enough for some. Even if more Blacks are assigned to speak in General Conference, it will still not be enough for some. Even if more Black members were to be added to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, it will still not be enough for some. Where does the vicious cycle end? If a person looks long and hard enough, he can find “fault” and a reason to “blame” for anything. If, however, a person wants to partake of the blessings of the Gospel and the joy and the peace that it brings, he can find that as well. The main focus needs to be on the things that matter most, and the higher ground needs to be sought in this and all other matters.

This author also believes that there are too many “Christians” who are looking for a “perfect” Church – a church where no fault is ever  found. Name any Church out there, and if a person looks long and hard enough he will be able to find issues that he disagrees with. Another problem perhaps is that there are too many people who are entangled in a power struggle. They want to be the ones in charge of everything. It is like the women who argued over wearing pants to Church; then they argued over being able to give the opening and closing prayers; then they argued over not being ordained to the Priesthood or even allowed to attend the Priesthood Session (which by the way, can now be viewed online as it is taking place). Give this careful consideration: Pants, Prayer, Priesthood – – – -> POWER. This author believes that the proverbial handwriting is on the wall.

It is understandable what people are saying and where they are coming from, but a lot of hearts are in the wrong place. Too many “Christians” are wanting to return to the days of the Roman Colosseum and throw those whom they are in disagreement with to the lions. However, throwing them to the lions is not enough, they want to stand by and applaud and cheer as the lions devour them. What a glorious day it will be when we can all sit down at the welcome table together, bury our weapons of hatred and racism towards each other, and vow to war against each other no more.

As a 55-year-old Black man who has faced many struggles in his life, and who has been blessed to overcome those struggles, and to enjoy the blessings of the Lord, I choose to emulate the love of my Savior, and to live at peace with all humanity. I choose to put my trust and confidence in Him. I choose to rely on the arms of Jehovah. For my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ precious blood and His righteousness. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.

I am satisfied to know that whatever the reasoning behind the Priesthood restriction, the Lord knows all about it and allowed it for reasons known only to Him. I will not sit and speculate as others have done and are now doing as to the reasons. At the end of the day, does it really matter what the reasons were? I choose as a 55-year-old Black man, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 15+ years, to be thankful for the full blessings of the Gospel that I am proffered, to include the blessings of being a Priesthood holder. I do not have the time, nor will I take the time to play the “blame” game. Instead, I choose to be thankful and to enjoy the blessings thereof.

What Other Readers Have Said

Brian Skinner – “Very good post.”


Natalie Bagwell Taylor – “Thank you Keith! Margaret Young said something similar this weekend about forced apologies. I feel so strongly that I must teach my children to move forward and help create the Zion that we long for!”John L DeLand – Mr. Brown is a noted author and spokesman for our Lord Jesus Christ. He studied for the ministry with the Baptist Church.

Andrea J. Rasmussen – “You have a beautiful way of expressing the thoughts of your heart. Thank you for sharing that. I am a white mother of an African American daughter. I intend to print your thoughts and share them with her!”

Melissa Reed Escobar – “I agree….”

Caralyn D. Mcauley – “I think this comment, especially the last paragraph is one of the best witnesses I have ever heard. This issue was the first to be thrown at me when I joined the Church. When I was told it was from God…I pushed away all the flack and accepted it the same as I accepted the description of the Lamanites…I could not go forward spiritually IF I CHARGED GOD FOOLISHLY. The blacks I met in the Church were like this dear man…with testimony of the God who loves us and governs all things. If we want to find a reason to hate or fight and quarrel…we will surely find it…if we want Light and Truth we will surely find that. Forgiveness is a huge key that unlocks the Heavens….leave it on the Lord’s doorstep.”

Rayma L. Parcher – “Thank you so much for your comment…I agree”

Niya St-Hill – “I respect your perspective, but this is how I feel on the matter. First of all, since you mentioned slave masters…let’s not forget that they used the same Bible to justify slavery, and their gross mistreatment of our ancestors. Even with the abolishment of slavery, black people never really had the full rights and privileges of white people. I think that they deserved more than just an apology, since they basically built America, 40 acres and mule was a more than fair request, but they didn’t get that either. There is no “bandwagon” brother, all an apology says is that they care, it shows empathy. Spencer W. Kimball in his 60 minutes interview, when asked about the history of the church towards black people replied very nonchalantly, “look, it’s behind us.” I felt very disappointed with that answer because that was his opportunity to address the situation with a response that showed he actually did support the black members of the church worldwide. Brigham Young used very foul, and offensive language when he spoke about black people. He insulted our physical features, and insinuated a down right disgust…for his fellow brethren in the “true church of Jesus Christ”. If it was simply a matter of, “hey, we are just following order here”….those words would never have brewed in his heart to spew out with such bitterness. Despite all of this, black membership in the church has been growing strong. Some feel like you, and others have their own feelings about it. Whether they were wrong or right we will all find out, just as the wheat and the tares shall grow together.

Fabrício Conceição – Dear brother Brown. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am also a black man, a priesthood holder and I agree with you in many points. About the ban of black men as priesthood holders, we have to consider that the Gospel has had and still has restrictions and we do not understand fully why. In the time of Christ and of the first apostles, the preaching of the Gospel was restrict only to the people of Israel. Such a restriction was banned by Paul. Black men have been prohibited to be ordained to the Priesthood and women, as far as I know, have never been ordained as priesthood holders. Nevertheless, I think that an official apology from the Church for its attitude towards black people would be adequate and welcome, though I think the Church does not have any obligation of doing so, for I see it as a past and overcame subject.

I’m grateful for having a testimony of the restored Gospel and for being a priesthood holder. It’s time to enjoy the blessings we have through the Gospel.

Brad Parkinson – I have really been thinking about the apology discussion. Having a biracial family has caused me to be very careful about these thoughts. Brother Keith I hope that my son will face such challenges as you have. I am very grateful that you have shared your thoughts. I can tell that you have felt inspired to share this with all of us. I believe that you have been inspired. I thank you again.

David Grant (CEO, More Good Foundation) – Great post, Keith! In a way you remind me of many of the saints that entered the valley in 1847. I believe it was by the next year there was a huge celebration during the 4th of July on Main Street where they honored America, the land that allowed them to be harassed, beaten, expelled, murdered and robbed when they should have been protected. Somehow, in ways that I cannon fully appreciate, they shared a longer view of things. Maybe it was their certain belief in revelation given in the Book of Mormon and D&C. I would someday like to review the speeches given around that time.

I had one other thought. It is sad that today there are more slaves than there ever have been in the history of the world, and that only counts physical slavery. It seems like the energy and thought time spent seeking an apology would be more efficaciously spent putting a dent in human trade through activism. If you really hate slavery oppression and bigotry, there is more to do going forward that there is to do going back.

Can’t wait for you to come visit again.

Take care!

Gary Hartman – Keith, your messages are so clear and benevolent to all of us and I am so glad you proffer your writings to so many. I think this message coming from a Black man who has grown up with the prejudice and hatred that many of us White people never see or hear about lends credibility to true issue. Namely we are all sons and daughters of Heavenly Father and we need to start acting like it. Martin Luther King had a dream for all of us, not just a few. I believe Nelson Mandela had the same dream of equality as witnessed by the astounding life he led.

The only reason to look to the past is to be sure we do not make the same mistakes. Hatred begets hatred, it always has and always will. We need to look to the future and make those dreams become reality. It did my heart good to see the outpouring of sympathy from the entire world for Nelson Mandela. Integration does not start in the streets, or the schools, or the workplace; it starts in the heart. If we truly get our hearts in the right place then issues disappear. We have to start somewhere, if not here, then where? If not now, then when?

By the way, my family came from Germany in 1750. They were a wealthy family in Germany and through a series of misfortunate circumstances they lost all their possessions in travel to this country. So when they landed in Philadelphia they could not pay the passage fee and were forced to indenture all their children except for the baby, which was my great-great grandfather. The family never saw each other again. Through intensive genealogy research I have never been able to reconnect the family. A sad story but I look to it to strengthen me not to find fault of blame.

I dropped out of Face Book because someone kept trying to hack my account. But I did want to respond and voice hope for our future (TOGETHER).

Gary

As for Me and My House – We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

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Charles Dickens - Tiny Tim - ChristmasAs a boy growing up in a Baptist home, I was raised on the principles of the Holy Bible – the Word of God. I was taught that the real reason we celebrate the Christmas season is not because of the brightly colored lights, the beautifully decorated houses and trees, or even the packages under the tree. I was taught that Christmas is the time of year when we remember the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ – the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I was taught that it is His birthday, not mine, and so my focus should be on Him, and not my own selfish desires as I anticipate if I got that one special gift that I asked for. I was taught that Jesus Christ – the Son of the True and Living God – the Light and the Life of the world – is the best gift given to humanity by the Father Himself. He gave to the world His Only Begotten Son. There is no GREATER gift.

It is for those reasons that at this time of year, I am forever amazed, and perhaps I shouldn’t be, at the number of people who claim to take offense when the two little words “Merry Christmas” are spoken. What is it that offends them so much? People have no problem with someone saying “Happy Kwanzaa” or “Happy Hanukkah”, but yet “Merry Christmas” supposedly offends them. It seems to be the politically correct thing to say “Happy Holidays” which the average person can accept without any objection. Personally, I say that it is yet another ploy to take the name of CHRIST out of EVERYTHING.

I make no apologies to anyone for choosing not to be politically correct. I choose. as a Christian, to stand up for what I believe. Everyone is free to express their holiday greetings as they see fit, but as for me and my house, We Wish You A Merry Christmas! And if that should offend someone, well what more can I say? In the words of the Dickens’ character, Tiny Tim, God bless us everyone!

Pinterest Board – Published Articles by the More Good Foundation

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Pinterest Board - Published Articles MGFI invite you to visit my Pinterest board where I host the articles that I have written for the More Good Foundation. To date, 326 of the articles that I have written have been published, and several have been translated into foreign languages. There are now 221 people who follow the postings on the board. Instructions for viewing the articles are included at the top of the board. Please feel free to leave comments.

No Greater Gift

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Key Verses: John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:16 is a very familiar Scripture verse to all of us. For some of us, this is the very first verse of Scripture that we ever committed to memory. Many Sunday school lessons and sermons have been based on this passage of Scripture. The entire Gospel message can be summarized with these words — For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son . . .” Let us take a few moments and look at three important principles taught in this passage of Scripture.

First, let us notice our Heavenly Father’s great love toward us. His love is an unselfish and an unconditional love. So many times we place conditions on our love for others — I love you when; I will love you if; or I love you because. All too many times our love is reserved for that group of people who fit into our little clique or who have a certain social status. Those who do not live up to our standards or requirements are often despised and rejected. However, our loving Heavenly Father is no respecter of persons. He loves both the righteous and the unrighteous. For God so loved the world. . .

Second, let us notice our Heavenly Father’s love in action. For God so loved the world that he gave. . .” There are certain times of the year such as Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries when the spirit of giving seems to be magnified more than at any other particular times of the year. During those times shopping malls and department stores are full of people running about trying to choose that just right gift for that special loved one or friend. Many people will even go into great debt to bring happiness to those that they love. However, the fact remains that we cannot put a price tag on true love. If we truly love someone, we must show it by our actions. We must be willing to give of ourselves.  We must be willing to give up something that we hold dear if need be. Our Heavenly Father demonstrated the greatest act of love ever known to man. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. . .

Third, let us notice the significance of our Heavenly Father’s gift of love to the world. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not peri sh, but have everlasting life.God looked down upon this wicked world and saw the condition that humanity was in. Because of His great love and compassion for humanity, He desired that none of His children should perish and so He made a way possible for humanity to be saved from their sins and to be able to return to Him some day. This great unselfish act of love was made possible by the giving of the greatest gift of all to the world — the gift of His only begotten Son. Wrapped within that precious gift was yet another gift — the gift of eternal life. All that is required of humanity is to accept the gift by believing on the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He, who receives and accepts the gift of the Son, shall receive as his reward the gift of eternal life.

Of all the gifts that we may ever receive and are thankful for, may we always be found giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for His precious gift to the world, the Divine Gift of His Only Begotten Son – – – For There Is No Greater Gift!

This message was originally prepared on Christmas Eve 1999 as a Christmas letter to my family and friends and was titled “The Greatest Gift of All” and is hereby revised as this is more than just a Christmas message. Though this message only focuses on John 3:16, a careful examination of the verses found in John 3:16-17 will show that these verses are the very central theme of the entire Gospel message. In these two verses truth is revealed about the purposes of the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Of all the gifts ever given to humanity, there is no greater gift than that of God, our Heavenly Father, giving His Only Begotten Son to the world – to live humbly among men, to serve and not be served, to give His life as a ransom for all, and to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man through His Glorious Resurrection. Of all the testimonies that we give of Him, this is the greatest testimony that we give of Him – He lives! And because He lives, we too shall live, and we shall one day behold Him and know Him just as He is – our Lord, our Master, our Savior, and Our King.

7 December 1941 – Lest We Forget

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Sunday, 7 December 1941

This is an actual photo that was taken on the morning of Sunday, 7 December 1941, the day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The picture was sent to me by a friend.

 

Today is National Pearl Harbor Day. On Sunday morning, 7 December 1941, at approximately 7:55 AM Hawaiian time (2:55 AM, Monday, 8 December 1941 in Japan), the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise military attack against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It would be this attack that would lead the United states into World War II.

The attack was intended as a preventative action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific fleet from interfering with military actions that the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. There were simultaneous Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.[1]

7 December 1941 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

This is another actual photo of the events that occurred at the United States naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941.

 

The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but one were later raised, and six of the eight battleships returned to service and fought in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship,and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured. [1]

Almost three-quarters of a century has passed since these horrific events occurred. All of this took place 72 years ago, some 17 years before I was born. My mother was 4 years of age and my father was 6 years of age when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

While serving on active duty in the United States Navy (March 1981 – March 2001), I visited Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on several occasions and visited the sites where the events of that infamous day of 7 December 1941 occurred. I have also visited the Arizona Memorial and have always been reminded of the hefty price tag placed on the freedoms that we so dearly cherish. I humbly salute all men and women who have served and are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. I was officially and honorably retired from the United States Armed Forces on 1 September 2010.

7 December 1941 Pear Harbor, Hawaii

This is another actual photo of the events that occurred at the United States naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941.

 

Sunday morning, 7 December 1941 will always be, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated, “a date that will live in infamy.” As we remember and reflect upon the events of that day, I believe that the question we should ask ourselves is, “Can history repeat itself?” In some ways I believe that it can. How soon so many Americans have fallen asleep and forgotten the tragic events that occurred on our homeland shores on 11 September 2001. Lest We Forget. . . . Lest We Forget!

 

Spiritual House Cleaning

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Spring CleaningIf we are honest with ourselves, all of us have some spiritual “house cleaning” that we need to do. “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And I absolutely love Paul’s dissertation on the subject in Romans 3:24-26,

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Therefore, none of us have the God-given right to point fingers at anyone to pronounce them to be a “great sinner” when we are guilty of sin and stand in need of forgiveness. Furthermore, if we were to conduct a thorough spiritual inventory, we would also discover that within us is a tendency to be boastful and proud, and if we are not careful, we find ourselves standing in the place of the Pharisee and crying out, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:11,12).  Instead, our spiritual attitude should reflect that of the publican, who “standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Thus, the Apostle Paul exhorts, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith” (Romans 3:27).

Each of us stand in the need of forgiveness. Remember the words of the Master. Said He, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). “Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also” (Romans 3:29).

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15).

– Corrie Ten Boom: How to Forgive

– James E. Faust: The Healing Power of Forgiveness