The Poetic Corner: Another Ship That Sinks

Another Ship That Sinks

as days go by, it seems to me

that life’s no more a mystery than how we breathe

or why we see the rising of the sun

what’s simple and what’s beautiful

is waking up without a thought of self

but to help someone

 

i haven’t always been the best

of making the day worth it when i rest

my head

i think instead too much

of my own fears

returning years of chaos to my thoughts

 

my plans that span across the week

the good i’ll do, the way i’ll think

they end up as a ship that sinks

forever lost under the deep

and while i drown in ocean blue

wondering what i must do

thinking that i can’t be saved

i am no good, i’m just a slave to sin

within myself

 

i lift my gaze, see through my tears

from where i kneel there’s something near

a picture frame rests there for me

and suddenly it’s all so clear

my plans, my hopes, my thoughts, my dreams

in all these ways i missed one thing

the Savior of the world, my King

 

without Him i can only fall

though i think i try so hard

but i left him far behind

and this is why…

 

Jesus, You are everything

Savior, Friend, my only King

without You I can do nothing

I’m just another ship that sinks

 

Jesus, You are everything

the Light, the Life, the air i breathe

without You I can do nothing

I’m just another ship that sinks

 

Jesus, You are everything

the only way i’ll be happy

without Your grace I am nothing

I’m just another ship that sinks

Hypocrites!? Yes, we are.

I’ve heard a lot of different excuses for not coming to church. Some are better than others. Some are lengthy, others to the point. Some are humorous and creative, others are cliche and unimaginative. There’s one thing, however, that they all have in common. They’re excuses, not reasons. One that I’ve heard quite a few times is “everyone there is just a hypocrite!”

To a degree that is true. Hypocrites attend church. But church is not for perfect people. To those people, I usually wantto respond with something like, “Yeah, I know. So what? At least they go to church. You really think you’re any better than them? You’re not. You’re just as much of a hypocrite as them by bringing that up. Get the beam out of your own eye before you start pointing out the motes in the theirs!”

That’s not the best way to respond of course, so I keep those thoughts to myself. But it’s true. As King Benjamin says in the Book of Mormon, “are we not all beggars?” We all depend upon the same God to provide for us, whether it be food, clothing, shelter, etc. We are all on equal ground. Yes, there are hypocrites in the chapel Sunday morning, but if we’re using them as an excuse to not attend Sunday services, are we really any better than they are?

Eternal life is too precious a gift to let it depend, unncecessarily, upon the actions of others. Our Father in Heaven will not excuse our sins of ommission (things we should do that we don’t do) because the guy sitting two pews behind was a jerk.

James, in the New Testament warned us,

Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned. (James 5:9)

The Savior also warned,

 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)

Before we point the finger at others, we must first examine ourselves. I speak also to myself, ’cause I’m certainly not perfect at this. But I do know that this is true. We are all sinners. We may sin differently, but we’re all sinners nonetheless. So don’t bother yourself with what so-and-so did or what what’s-her-face said to you. You can hold it against them all you want, but tearing down others doesn’t elevate yourself to any degree. You’re only jumping aboard their sinking ship.

So if you aren’t going to church because you think they’re all hypocrites, take a step back and see that we are all hypocrities. We must look at ourselves and do what we know to be right.

A Little To Eternal

When Jesus feeds the five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish we of course are in awe at such a miracle. We think of the great power and mercy of the Savior, and the way he tests the disciples by asking them what should be done to feed such a great number of people. What we often overlook, however, (myself included) is the young lad who offered those five loaves and two fish.

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? (John 6:8-9)

Obviously, the lad was willing to offer up what small substance he possessed, and I believe it’s safe to assume the Savior asked the boy’s permission to have his food, as well as thanked the boy graciously for his small offering. And a small donation it was. Five loaves of bread and two fish among five thousand? That would only feed a few of them, if they were going to eat until they were filled.

Yet that was all Jesus needed. With that scanty meal He created an endless feast.

How are we like the young lad? Well, it’s easy. We can only offer so much. We may have a task at hand, a metaphorical five thousand, and we may only have five loaves and two fish to complete the task. It’s not enough. It’s all we have but it’s just not enough. Thankfully, the Savior can step in for us. He doesn’t expect us to provide for the five thousand. He understands that it’s just too much for us to handle alone. We’re just young children. Butwhat we do have He expects us to offer.

“Give me what you can,” He might say, “and I’ll make up for the rest.” Such is the Atonement of Christ. With Christ, we can help feed the five thousand. The tasks before uscanbe accomplished and miracles can happen. So if you can only offer a little, offer it anyway. Give what you can to Christ and let Him multiply it. You can play a part in a miracle.

The Poetic Corner: Another Light

Another Light

the world may not be what we want

but it’s okay, we all feel that way

at least once a day

our lives may not be what we planned

but it’s alright, we’ve still got time

to work on this, our lack of faith

 

the sun may be behind the clouds

but if we try, our eyes can see

the silver lining just beyond

and if the darkness spreads abroad ’til we can’t walk

using our sight

we’ll run and let our guide be another light

oh, there’s another light

 

oh, there’s another light

when the doors are shut right in your face

you’re out of place and suddenly it’s night

reach for the ember in the corner of your mind

make it a fire, let the Savior’s warmth keep you alive

oh, another light

He’s a light that never fades

nothing else can take His place

 

you wonder how you’ll make it through another week

of uncertainty

but you always do

you can’t explain the emptiness inside your soul

and how it fills

until it’s full

God’s in control more than we know

 

we may not have everything

but what we have is what we need

not a light of the world

there’s another light

He’s all we need

and that’s fine with me
Let’s face it, more often than not, life is not how we want it to be, and it usually doesn’t go as planned. Whether in our own lives, the lives of our family and friends, or the lives of those around the world, the world seems to be fighting against us. What guidance does the world offer? Nothing that results in much good. Most of the time, when we follow theworld’s guidance, we end up in a darker situation than where we started.

So what do we do when we can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel? Thankfully, there’s another light. This light is Jesus Christ. His light is eternal and never fades. His light can penetrate any darkness. It leads us into His presence, whereas the “wisdom” of the world only leads us into the chains of Hell.

We read in the first epistle of John, chapter 1 verses 15 through 17,

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The wisdom of the world will pass with time, and everything and everyone that is allied with it will pass as well. If we expect to get through this life, we need to cling to the only Light that can brighten any path.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:5-6)

Only in Christ we have life and light. The world cannot offer such things to us because Jesus Christ is truly all we need. If we rely on His light to guide us, everything will be taken care of. We may not have everything the world has to offer. We may not have a nice car, or a big house, or a large bank account, but it’s alright. These things will pass anyway. What matters is that we hold on to Jesus Christ. He is another light. Through Him we can have all we’ll ever need in life.

Forgiving Ourselves

Forgiveness is a strange concept to many of us. It’s straightforward, yet can be very difficult at times. Forgiving others is hard enough, but often we find it impossible to forgive ourselves. Whether it’s out of insecurity or a need to receive the pity of others, we hold things over our own heads, sometimes for years and years. Forgiving ourselves, however, is a commandment.

In the Doctrine and Covenenants, the Lord commanded,

I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10)

“All men” means exactly that, all men. This includes ourselves. The Lord has also said that if we are not willing to forgive, He will not forgive us. The same applies to forgiving ourselves. We are commanded to do it, and we must do it if we expect forgiveness from the Lord.

If you truly feel like you have not been forgiven, go to your Heavenly Father in prayer. Ask for forgiveness and for a confirmation of it from the Spirit. When we are forgiven, Satan does not want us to recognize it. He would rather have us feel miserable and incapable of doing good. A lot of the time, when we have done something wrong we convince ourselves that that means we cannot do any more good, that we cannot help someone. This is not true, but when Satan gets us to think that way, he hinders us from doing the good that we are capable of doing.

This is partially why refusing to forgive oneself is such a grievous thing to the Lord. We use it to excuse ourselves from the Lord’s work. We use it as an excuse to be idle, lazy, or apathetic. This is not the Lord’s way. The Lord’s way is to forgive ourselves, or others, and move on, doing good to others.

In the most recent General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles advised,

It is never too late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time. Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late.

Refusing to forgive ourselves is denying the healing power of Jesus Christ’s atonement. I echo Elder Holland’s counsel, to you and myself, to not procastinate the fellowship of the Lord’s labor. He has work for us to do, and if we are carrying unncecessary weight upon our shoulders, we need to remove it and give it to Him. Let Him take your burdens so you can work to your fullest.

The Poetic Corner: That Easter Morn

That Easter Morn

 

the bitter cup, a lonely road

this path He walked, His love to show

for us our pains upon Him laid

for us our sins He freely paid

for you and me…

Gethsemane was the place prepared to free

those who’ve won and those who’ve lost

in summer’s warmth, in winter’s frost

no matter where, no matter what

He bled so He could strengthen us

this is what i’ve seen in me

the love of Christ in Gethsemane

 

a single cross, a barren hill

His sacrifice, His hearbeat still

like Moses raised the serpent up

so Christ hung on the cross for us

raised up for you, raised up for me

He died for all on Calvary

and all who turn and look to Him

can cast away their pain and sin

and all with open eyes to see

are filled with Spirit wind to breathe

it’s what i’ve felt

it’s what i’ve seen

upon the cross on Calvary

 

a stone rolled back, an empty tomb

the risen Christ, the dead renewed

the grave, its maw a fleeting thought

for Christ the Lord has conquered death

he died for us, yet now He lives

His breath of life can breathe within

to lift our heads and take our sin

to raise us too and live again

 

i know that my Redeemer lives

the joy this brings i can’t begin

to ever think i could describe

just how this truth affects my life

my breath, my strength, the love i feel

is only here because He’s real

in Him my spirit is reborn

because He rose that Easter morn

To keep the emphasis on the poem, I’ll make this simple. I love my Savior and I know that He lives. Jesus Christ atoned for the sins and pains of all mankind. Male and female. Rich and poor. Everyone. He did so because He loves each and every one of us unconditionally. I can’t fully comprehend how that works, but I know it’s true. Jesus Christ lives, and because He rose from the dead, we will be redeemed from death as well. Because He suffered for our sins, we may repent and be forgiven. Our sins can be washed away.

The eggs and such are great. They are part of the fun, but this Easter season, reflect upon this important truth: Christ did die for us, but now He lives for us.

Wolves Don’t Make Good Fruit

The 182nd annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was held over this last weekend. It is composed of five sessions, each of which are two hours long. Two general sessions and a priesthood session on Saturday and two more general sessions on Sunday. General Conference is basically when the prophet of the Church, his two counselors, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other general authorities of the Church come together and offer talks of encouragement and counsel. This is done in the conference center, located by Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The conference center fills to capacity, and members of the Church around the world (over 14 million) watch or listen to the conference via radio, internet, cable, or satellite.

It’s a wonderful opportunity, and something that only recently I’ve come to truly appreciate. The speakers are inspired men (and sometimes women). They speak under the unfluence of the Holy Spirit. They are servants of the Lord, and the words they speak in General Conference are the Lord’s words. For this, I’m grateful. Every person, no matter who they are or what circumstances they may be in, can benefit from the counsel given during General Conference, especially from the prophet Thomas S. Monson.

Many times, when I tell someone there is a living prophet on the earth, a modern-day Moses, they like to quote the book of Matthew in the New Testament and say, “Jesus talked about false prophets. Ravening wolves He called them.”

Yes, indeed He did, and He also said that “by their fruits ye shall know them.” Those same people often seem to forget that very important verse. So what’s a simple way to find out if this Thomas Monson fellow is truly a prophet called of God. Hmm… maybe…. listen to him speak? That’s pretty easy. Heck, you could even read his biography if you wanted to really study it out. But you don’t have to.

If you listen to him speak, and he really is a prophet, you will know. The Spirit will witness to you of that fact, if you are in the right state of mind to receive it and your heart is open to the possibility. The same goes for the rest of the speakers. The Spirit can testify that the words they speak are true. The Spirit can also testify that the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles areactually apostles like Peter, James, and John of the New Testament.

This last General Conference was awesome. I actually took notes! I’m not usually one to do that. The “notes” typically end up becoming doodles of some kind, but not thistime! These were legit notes, and I most definitely got a lot more out of the messages than had I not taken notes. But the notes are not what’s important. What’s important is the Spirit that was felt. I encourage you to visit lds.org and watch or listen to some of the conference talks that were given. I can promise you strength, comfort, and insight for your life’s struggles if you do so.

Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. His counselors and the twelve apostles are also called of God to receive revelation for God’s children on the Earth. If Moses was back on the Earth today, would you not want to hear what he had to say? Well, he’s not, but there is someone on this planet that holds the same power and authority as Moses. Listen to his words and see for yourself if he speaks for the Lord.