God the Father

That Old King James

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Old King James Bible

In my young 56 years of life I have been blessed to read that volume of Holy Writ nine times in its entirety. Each time that I read from its pages, I am forever amazed at how even though I have read the same passages numerous times, I still learn many new and wonderful things. I also find that as I grow older and continue on this pilgrim journey, my understanding of certain passages of scripture is heightened, and my testimony of the Savior about whom the volume is written is confirmed. It is enlightening to experience how different passages take on whole new meanings as I enter different seasons of my life and I continue to liken the scriptures unto myself.

There are some people who may ask why I would repeatedly read the Bible in its entirety. “Isn’t once enough?” they might ask. I answer their question with a question (something that all of my teachers said that I should not do) — Why Not? And as far as once being enough, well, no it isn’t because I am reminded that we are to “Study to shew [ourselves] approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

As I grow older with each passing year I am reminded, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (1 Peter 1:24). However, the Prophet Isaiah declared, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). And the Psalmist exhorted, “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

I bear solemn witness and testimony that the Word of God never grows old. It is always fresh with new insights for all those who will take the time to read and feast upon its words. In the sacred name of Him whose Word is “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (see Psalm 119:105), our Lord and savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Refuting the Empirical Argument of Atheism

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C.S. Lewis on Atheism


Dr. Ravi Zacharias at Princeton University – Why I’m Not An Atheist

Defining the terms

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.

Theism is the belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one God as the creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to His creation.

Deism is the belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.

Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious belief.

Ideology, in the Althusserian sense, is “the imaginary relation to the real conditions of existence.” It can be described as a set of conscious and unconscious ideas which make up one’s goals, expectations, and motivations. An ideology is a comprehensive normative vision, meaning that it is a set of standards that are followed by people, government, and/or other groups that is considered the “norm”.

Christian vs Atheist

Storms in Life

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The Storms of Life

We all face those times in our lives when the dark storm clouds seem to roll on for an eternity, the clap of the accompanying thunder is ever deafening, and the brilliant lightning is blinding. There are those times in each of our lives when it seems that the storms will never dissipate and the sun will never shine again leaving us feeling melancholy and forlorn.

I have been through many storms in my life in which I could not apprehend the slightest possible way that I could embrace any sense of serenity to return some type of normalcy to my life. It has always been during those moments in my life that the gale force winds of adversity tend to rock my foundation and alter my course causing utter turmoil, chaos, and confusion. Nevertheless, through it all, I am constantly reminded that our Heavenly Father is not the author of chaos and confusion. He is a God of peace and order. He is El Shaddai, “God Almighty.” He is El Elyon, “the Most High God.” He is El Roi, “the God Who Sees.” And He is also El Yisrael, “the God of Israel.”

Some of you are swimming upstream against the current at this very moment, or the turbulent waves of life are tossing your ship hither and yon , and there are storm clouds overhead, but take heart in knowing that He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us, and He will never give us any more than we can possibly bear. The Psalmist declares in Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The Psalmist further exhorts in Psalm 46:1-7:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

So, even though there are times when we feel that there is no hope for the storms of life that we are facing (economic challenges, emotional challenges, physical or spiritual challenges), we can put our total faith and trust in Him, knowing that He is Immanuel (God With Us), and that we never have to face any storm or walk alone in this life.

Karlyn Kay Stebbins
February 21,2015

Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:

Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.

The Wayward Child of God

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How to Pray for a Wayward Child

There has been something placed upon my heart. When you are a parent you want the best for your children. You do your best to teach them good morals and standards so that they can live a life that is pleasing to their Heavenly Father. You hope that what you teach them in the days of their youth will carry with them into their adult years. Sometimes, however, it may not seem as though the gospel lessons that you taught while doing your best to raise them in a Godly home with structure, morals, and standards has any positive influence in their lives. And so, as a parent you feel devastated and ask yourself, “Why would my son or daughter choose the path that they are on when I spent so much time teaching them the right way to go?” You find yourself in despair over the matter and soon begin to feel as though you have in some way failed in your duty as a parent.

There is a verse found in Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”This verse not only applies to parents in raising their children, but it also applies to each of us as members of the Church because we are all children of God. The Church teaches us Godly principles to live by as we follow Jesus Christ’s commandments and are faithful to the covenants that we have made. When we are disobedient to God’s commandments and deny the covenants that we have made, we deny ourselves great blessings from the Lord. I am a witness of this as I have been a wayward member of the Church, and have found myself being disobedient to God’s commandments and not living the covenants that I have made. I cannot rationalize or prove the things that I have done as being right because they are not. God gave us commandments and covenants for a reason, and if we choose to live contrary to those things which we know are true, we can find ourselves falling into an empty pit of nothingness.

Because I know in my heart that the Church is true, I have repented and have come back to it, all the while experiencing the joy of knowing that my waywardness has been forgiven.

Karlyn Kay Stebbins
January 31, 2015

Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:

Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.

The Almighty Orchestrator

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When I Lose Hope

Life is full of questions, uncertainties, and inconsistencies. I am sure that there have been times in all of our lives when we have asked the question, “Why did this happen to me?” Or, “Why do bad things happen to animals, innocent children, and genuinely good people?” As I am progressing on my journey to discover who the real Karlyn Stebbins is, I am learning that I can ask “Why this?” or “Why that?” all that I want, but the truth of the matter is that there are some questions that will never be answered in my lifetime. I am beginning to realize that the real question is not “Why?”, but rather the real question that I should be asking myself is “What is God orchestrating in my life?” In other words, what is His plan for my life? What is my real purpose?

This suggests a scripture found in Isaiah 61:3 which has meant a lot to me in my life, and I also believe is one that we all need to give some attention to. The scripture reads:

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Sitting around and persistently asking “Why?” for every situation that occurs in life, especially those things that are a part of our past, can eventually cause us to become stagnant and can also seriously hinder our spiritual progression. This reminds me of the words of a poem called the “Serenity Prayer” :

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.

What this prayer is basically saying is that we cannot change people, places, things, past events, or future situations that we may encounter. However, we can change our attitude about and our outlook on life. We have to arrive at a point in our life when we finally realize that the things that may have occurred in the past were unjust, but the million dollar question is whether we are going to stay stuck in the past, or change our perspectives and move on with our life as best we can. This may involve taking some actions which may take us out of our comfort zone. But, another thing that I am learning is that if we are uncomfortable taking healthy actions which eventually lead to being part of a solution, then we are growing and truly progressing on our journey.

There is a saying, “Get off the cross, someone else needs the wood.” What that means is we need to stop acting like people are always out to crucify us and us alone, when that is not necessarily the case. For years I have kept myself “on the cross” and that has not provided any solutions to problems in my life either.

Our real purpose in life is to be of greatest service to God and to the people around us. Life itself is ever-changing, but through it all, God remains constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We must learn to call on and rely on Him during our times of challenges and struggles. He never changes, but the question is, “Are we willing to change for Him?’

Karlyn Kay Stebbins
January 31, 2015

Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:

Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.

 

Mormon Temples Under Construction

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Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. “The Holy Temple- A Beacon to the World,” President Monson April 2011. You can read the full text of President Monson’s message or watch the video of the message.

When the Córdoba Argentina and Payson Utah Temples are dedicated in 2015, they will be added to the list of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 140-plus operating temples throughout the world. The Córdoba Argentina Temple will be dedicated 17 May 2015, and the Payson Utah Temple will be dedicated 7 June 2015. They are two of 14 temples under construction and featured on the infographic below.

Stop waiting on God

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A highlight of growing up is being able to move out of your parents’ house and become an independent young man or woman. You find an apartment, a decent job that will pay the bills and you make lifelong friends.  As a rite of passage into adulthood many make adventurous trips either for leisure or to help those in need. They learn to make all their own decisions with the intent of solidifying a belief in themselves.

This doesn’t mean they don’t rely on their Mom or Dad for choices that are difficult and are life-altering.  A “fork in the road” decision always presents as a challenge, but we don’t have to face them alone.  We have the ability to call home, email, facebook, text or Skype with those who have come before us.  But in the end we don’t let others make choices for us.

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I believe the same concept follows us spiritually.  We should counsel with our Father in Heaven.  We should pray to God who knows…

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For Such A Time As This

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To Everything There Is A Season. . . . .
“To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Webster’s dictionary defines the word pioneer as “a person who plays a leading part in the early development of something.” Therefore, in the truest sense of the definition, as the only person in my immediate family who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am a pioneer. And so, I would like to take just a few moments to share some of my thoughts about being a pioneer member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1 we are taught, “To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven.” I strongly believe that I am the person that has been chosen, and given the responsibility by my Heavenly Father for such a time as this to lead the rest of my family to the saving knowledge of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a responsibility that I dare not take lightly.

I am reminded of the words of President Lorenzo Snow:

You exert a certain degree of influence, and be it ever so small, it affects some person or persons, and for the results of the influence you exert you are held accountable. You, therefore, whether you acknowledge it or not, have assumed an importance before God and man that cannot be overlooked.” (JD, 18:299).

And so, I have a responsibility to be a positive influence on my family. Along those same lines, I must also set the example that I wish my family to follow. I am reminded of the words of President Harold B. Lee:

You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. You must be sure if you would rescue the man that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul.” (CR, April 1973, p.178.)

One of the ways that I can be a positive influence and set the example that I should before my family, is by having and maintaining a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel. I must always be ready to give an answer for not only what I believe, but why I believe it. This principle is taught to us in 1 Peter 3:15-17:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you of the reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience that whereas they speak evil of you as evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

On 10 March 2014 I celebrated my 16th year as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Never would I ever have imagined that one day I would be a member of the Lord’s true Church.

I was raised in a good Christian Baptist home with a dear mother who made sure that her four children were nurtured in the good Word of God. I grew up in a home where it was understood that if mom was going to church on Sunday, than so were you. There was no argument, discussion, or debate. From a very early age as I grew to love and appreciate the blessed Scriptures, my focus was set on one day fulfilling my grandmother’s dream and what later became my own personal goal of becoming a Baptist minister. But the Lord had other plans.

Through all of my years of being taught righteous principles as a youth and later teaching Sunday school classes and training in Bible College to become a Baptist minister, the Lord was preparing me for a greater work that He had for me to do. I am so grateful that I yielded to His will for my life instead of pursuing the path that I had chosen. I am a living testimony that if we will but “Trust in the Lord with all [our] heart; and lean not unto [our] understanding and in all [our] ways acknowledge Him . . . He shall direct [our] paths” (see Proverbs 3:5). In the words of one of my favorite hymns:

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. I tremble to know that for me he was crucified. That for me a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died. Oh it is wonderful that he should care for me. Enough to die for me. Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

I am thankful for the callings that I have received over the past 17 years – Activities Chairman, Single Adults Representative, Youth Sunday School Teacher, First Counselor in the Young Men Presidency (Ward level), member of the Stake High Council, a counselor in two Bishoprics (as Second and then First) Counselor, High Priest Group Leader, Ward Mission Leader, Ward Missionary, Teacher for High Priest Group, Gospel Doctrine Teacher –  and for the lessons that I have learned from each of them. Each of those lessons has helped to strengthen my testimony and have given me a stronger desire to do those things which the Lord would have me to do. Even more so, I am grateful that a loving Heavenly Father would call me to serve in these capacities and it is my humble prayer that I will always be willing to serve wherever the Master would need me to serve. May I always be willing to serve with the attitude of Nephi:” I will go and do the things which the Lord have commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7, Book of Mormon).

Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taught me that living the True Gospel is not in thinking about myself all the time, but rather it is about  serving others. Being a member has also given me a greater understanding of the importance of, and appreciation for, family history work. The work that I have begun on my family history has sparked a great deal of interest in my family. It has also opened many doors of opportunity to share my faith and my testimony with family members, prayerfully planting seeds that will one day soon, yield a rich harvest.

As I look back through the pages of my family history, I can see the hand of God at work. I come from a heritage that is rich with people who dedicated their lives to being community leaders, educators, defenders of this great nation in several wars, and ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think it is no coincidence that I would grow up to also have a thirst for education, to honorably serve my country, and most importantly to have a sincere love for the Gospel. It was all part of the Lord’s plan. I believe that every stepping stone along the way was setting the pathway to bringing me to where I am today. As I prepare family names to take to the Temple, I know that the Spirit of Elijah is present and that the Lord, as well as my ancestors, is pleased with the work that I am doing.

I will close with the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are a favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory, “the dispensation of the fullness of times,” when God will gather together all things that are in heaven, and all things that are upon the earth, . . . when the Saints of God will be gathered in one from every nation, and kindred, and people, and tongue, when the Jews will be gathered together into one, the wicked will also be gathered together to be destroyed, as spoken by the prophets; the Spirit of God will also dwell with His people, and be withdrawn from the rest of the nations, and all things whether in heaven or on earth will be in one, even in Christ. (HC, 4:609-610.)

I testify to you of the hope that is in me and that hope is Jesus Christ and the knowledge that I know that His Church is the True Church and that His Gospel is truth. I further testify that I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and that President Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet in these the latter days. I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that as the pioneer member of the Church for my family, as I continue to share my testimony of this Gospel, others will want to follow in my footsteps to learn of that blessed hope. The windows of opportunity are open and I am willing to do the work which the Father has for me to do. That I may do so humbly and by His perfect will is my prayer. In the sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.