Heavenly Father

We Are All Special in His Sight

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Nelson Mandela Quote

We Are All Special in His Sight

There is not one person on this earth who is any less important, or any less special than another. We are all children of the same Heavenly Father whose immense love for each of us is incomparable to any other love that we will ever experience in this mortal life. His vicarious atonement was not just for the “special” one, nor the select few, but rather, He willingly suffered and gave His life as a ransom for all humanity.

God does not care about the color of our skin. He does not care about our social status. Nor does He care about the amount of material possessions that we have amassed in this life, or how much material wealth we have accumulated. When He looks upon us, He sees His sons and daughters, and although we are imperfect, He still loves each of us equally and unconditionally. He does not categorize us according to race, culture, life style, religious beliefs, or any type of caste system. Everyone is special and of equal importance in His eyes. That means that the person who lives alone in a shack in the lowest of valleys is of no less importance than the person who lives in an extravagant mansion on the hillside with a view of majestic mountains.

It does not matter if we are Black, White, Native American, of whatever race or culture, slave, free, Jew, or Gentile. What does matter is that each of us matter to Him. God is no respecter of persons, and if we profess to love God and that we are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot be a respecter of persons either.

Let us always be quick to love and slow to judge any of our brothers and sisters. Be thou wise O’ man to never put thyself above others, or to judge another unjustly, For pride and haughtiness often lead to a great fall, and the judgments that we meet to others, may well be the same judgments that one day will leave ourselves being weighed in the balances.

Treat Others As You Would Want to Be Treated

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 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.

 

Stop waiting on God

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8ways2

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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The Prodigal Son Returns Home to the Father

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The Prodigal Son Returns Home

On Thursday evening, 4 September 2014, I was inspired to write and share a part of my life story that I have never shared, at least not with such a large audience as social media venues until now. I felt strongly impressed that the time was right for sharing my account, and that lives would be touched by what I wrote.

To my utter amazement, the article which I wrote titled “The Reasons Why I Left the Church and Quit Religion” has been viewed by over 3,000 people within 5 days of publication, and still going strong. I mention the numbers only in fact not to boast, for I am grateful for the impact and blessing that it has had on the lives of so many people thus far.

This prodigal son has had an incredible journey on his way back home to the Father, and I am eternally thankful that He has never given up on me, even though there are so many times that I have given up on myself. In spite of all of my failures and shortcomings, His arms of unconditional love are always outstretched to comfort me.

Each of us have our own separate journeys, but if we have the want and are willing, we can one day return safely home to the arms of the loving Father who awaits us. Please take a moment to read the article: “The Reasons Why I Left the Church and Quit Religion.” Please feel free to comment in the comment section below.

 

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.