Monday, September 2, 2019

The Gift

There was a High School teacher by the name of John Christianson who had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Mr. Christianson's math class.

Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he sat in the very back of the room. He was also the first to leave after the class was over.

One day, Mr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. After class, Mr. Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, "You think you're pretty tough, don't you?"
Steve's answer was, "Yeah, I do."
Then Mr. Christianson asked, "How many push-ups can you do?"
Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."
"200? That's pretty good, Steve," Mr Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?"
Steve replied, "I don't know... I've never done 300 at a time."
"Do you think you could?" asked Mr Christianson.
"Well, I can try," said Steve.
"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it," Mr Christianson said.
Steve said, "Well... I think I can... yeah, I can do it."
Mr Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do them this on Friday."

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room.
When class started, Mr Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited, it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start the weekend.

Mr. Christianson walked over to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want a donut?"
Cynthia said, "Yes."

Mr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"
Steve said, "Sure," and jumped down to the floor from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Mr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk..

Mr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person in the row, and asked, "Joe do you want a donut?"
Joe said, "Yes." Mr. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?" Steve did ten more push-ups, and Joe got a donut.
And so it went, down the first row, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut. And down the second row, till Mr. Christianson came to Scott.
Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When Mr. Christianson asked, "Scott, do you want a donut?"
Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own pushups?"

Mr.Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them for you."
Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."

Mr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"
Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"

Mr. Christianson said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, and my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk.
Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Mr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Mr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"
Jenny said, "No."

Then Mr.Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?" Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.
By now, the students were beginning to say "No" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Mr. Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. So Robert began to watch Steve closely. Mr. Christianson started down the fourth row.
During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters along the sides of the room. When Mr. Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Mr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.
Steve asked Mr. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch the floor on each one?"

Mr. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your pushups. You can do them any way that you want." And Mr. Christianson went on.
A few moments later, Jason came looked in the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!"
Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."

Mr. Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him."
Steve said, "Yes, let him come in."

Mr. Christianson said, "Okay, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"
"Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?" Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.
Mr. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.
The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Mr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?
Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."

Mr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"
Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Mr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?"
Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, "Mr. Christianson, can I help him?"

Mr. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, he has to do it alone, Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?"

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Mr Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, pleaded to the Father, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit." With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died.

And like many of those in that classroom, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten, even though the price of the gift has been paid." 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.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Who is the man, Jesus?

We have all been taught about the man Jesus, and his role as Savior and Redeemer of the World. What do we do with this knowledge?

In Deuteronomy we are told: "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

While most rely on an Ecclesiastical Leader to minister to their congregation, it ultimately becomes our individual responsibility to spread the Good Word of Jesus Christ. Within the walls of our own homes we must foster an atmosphere for learning and understanding what it means to be Christian. We must share our knowledge with our children and their children.

I bear testimony that Jesus Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane for me, and for all of us. That he endured the pains of death to show us the way to return to our spiritual home.

God Lives! and Jesus is the Christ, and our Savior, of whom I bear solemn testimony, in his great name, Amen.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter

Every night before we went to bed, my mother would say, “Good night—I love you. See you in the morning.” That’s still true. Because of Jesus Christ, on the Resurrection morning we will see each other again in bodies free from disease and from pain. Our tears of sorrow will become tears of joy—and what a glorious morning that will be.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Profound gift

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, to set at liberty them that are bruised. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. Father, the hour is come. Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thy will be done. Into thy hands I commend my spirit.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 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.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Pressing the "Reset" button

In every relationship, we open ourselves up to being hurt or misused or misinformed at times. So I have developed a mental “reset” button. My reset button means I recognize the potential hurt—“Ok, that was snappy or unkind”—and then decide that I don’t need to hold on to it forever.
When I start to build a judgment or put people in a box or harden my heart against them, I mentally press this reset button and think, “Give that person another chance.”
A few months ago, a situation at work left me in tears. It took a few days, but then I allowed my heart to press the reset button. In this case, my reset button helped me value another’s opinion but also acknowledge that we needed boundaries on how differences of opinion were expressed.
When I got out of sorts with a friend, it took a few months, but I found I could eventually press my reset button. We spoke about what happened and decided to give things another chance. Even though the relationship is different, I was able to forgive and ask for forgiveness.
When I left a Church meeting and felt like I had been chastened by those I had hoped to feel strengthened by, I hit the reset button. I chose to support the love and direction behind what I had received instead of the way it had been delivered. Then I allowed myself to still love and support those who were trying their hardest to support me.
Our Heavenly Parents and our Savior give us endless opportunities to start over, and surely I can do that for others too. I can let the Savior’s power work in my life to help me let go.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Fear not ye … for he is risen

I have understood why Mary Magdalene was found weeping at Jesus’s empty tomb, overcome with grief and sadness because she didn’t know where His body had gone. But just like Mary, I have also received help when I needed it most.
For Mary, help came as an appearance from an angel. He said, “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen” (Matthew 28:5–6). She also saw Jesus Himself (see John 20:14–18).
For me, help came as a simple verse of scripture: “For I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).
I found that scripture almost exactly a year and a half after my nephew passed away. I was sitting in the kitchen with his older sister, Kate, one morning when God placed that little verse in our path. I was amazed that even at the young age of 8, my niece understood this scripture was promising her and her grieving family hope and help in their time of need.
Every Easter season my mother taught us about Jesus’s final days on earth. She would hand each of us an Easter egg, and we would open them one after another to reveal the simple objects inside. One egg contained coins, representing Christ being betrayed for a few pieces of silver. Another egg contained a nail, representing His being hanged from the cross. The final egg, however, was always empty, representing His Resurrection from death.
As a child I felt disappointed every time I received the empty egg. It seemed like a lesser gift than the others. The older I get, however, the more I realize just how grateful I am to have been given the empty egg time and time again.
We will all face times filled with the disappointment and even the devastation that initially comes from receiving an empty egg. We will be tempted to ask for a different one, a redo. But the lesson of my youth was that the egg was not empty because it had been overlooked; it was empty because death had been overcome.
So, to all who have lost a loved one, lost their will to move forward, or lost their feeling of connection with God, I hope you remember: “Fear not ye … for he is risen.”

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Keep the Sabbath Holy

The Lord has given the Sabbath day for our benefit and has commanded us to keep it holy. Observing the Sabbath shows our commitment to honor and worship God and keep our covenants. It will bring us closer to the Lord and to our family. It will give us an eternal perspective and spiritual strength. The Sabbath also allows us to rest from our physical labors and worship the Lord.

My house of worship recently decided that we would change to 2 hours on Sunday instead of three, encouraging the family to spend more time at home worshiping and making the home a bit of heaven.

How much time do you spend on the sabbath making your home a dwelling place where Jesus Christ would want to visit ?