Usually when the word ‘ANNIVERSARY’ is used our first thought is about years of marriage. But today we all have an ANNIVERSARY that we did not plan but have experienced world-wide. One year ago, during the month of March, our lives changed drastically. I remember by March 15, 2020 my wife and I were not allowed to attend Arizona State University’s baseball games. In fact, the team was no longer allowed to play for the rest of the season. Now this is a big deal to us! When we met in 1963, we discovered we enjoyed many of the same things in life. We loved God, we loved music, we loved the outdoors, we loved sports. But most of all, we both loved attending ASU baseball games.
Our love for Arizona State Baseball has been intertwined with our personal love for each other. After marrying on August 31, 1963, we attended games regularly. We watched Rick Monday (Los Angeles Angels radio announcer) play center field for ASU in 1965. He was drafted to the MLB. Monday was replaced by Reggie Jackson (Mr. October), in Arizona State’s center field. These are great memories from our past. We loved the other sports, but baseball is our favorite.
Now we fast-forward to last year and the ‘Lockdown’. Not only were we not allowed to attend games. There were no more games! This was extremely hard on the fans and the team. Arizona State had the best team since 1988. It probably would have been the national champion for 2020. We will never know. Our five best players were drafted into Major League Baseball. We were terribly upset. Like everyone else in the nation we had to live with a new reality. Our lives changed and we had to adapt.
This new reality was and is COVID-19. We have all lived with this for one year. I was reminded of this when it was announced by two states that some restrictions were being lifted. Then I received an email from the Arizona State Baseball program that in-person attendance would be allowed beginning March 5. We are excited! We can watch baseball in the stadium again.
Everyone has now experienced one year of life-rearrangement. How long will it be before we are back to ‘normal’? I would like to put this into perspective with a new thought. How will I conduct myself with other Christians when the special social requirements are over?
It appears the ‘lockdown’ is beginning to relax. Think about all the new ‘social skills’ we have been required or expected to practice:
Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds-plus.
Do not touch your face.
Take your temperature before leaving home
Stay home if you feel sick.
Stay socially distanced, 6 feet or more from others.
Wear face masks where required.
Disinfect surfaces you touch.
Avoid social gatherings.
Do not hug or shake hands with all but your family.
Wear masks and socially distance even after vaccinations.
These suggestions or requirements have changed personal attitudes and actions toward people we see in public. Many of us might share our immediate knowledge of COVID-19 cases we are closely aware of. Some cases were fatal.
Our society seems to have divided into three identifiable groups:
A portion still live with fear and concern until vaccinations are complete.
Another segment has been vaccinated and no longer fear or have been vaccinated but are living very cautiously.
A third group do not fear, or may think it is not a major problem, or think the event is a political medical control illness.
This major event in our world will be over in the future. The big question is, what will this do to our society and relationships? Which group do we fall in? How will we treat each other? Will we ever go back to ‘NORMAL’?
I believe there is a bigger question. In our Christian community of friendships, we all will have friends or acquaintances in one of the three groups. I would like to make suggestions about personal Christian conduct:
Do not be judgmental.
Do not joke about this event or make light humor.
Do not be offensive about vaccinations, pro or con.
Be positive and supportive of others.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 8 the evangelist Paul was dealing with church problems which were causing unrest or division in the congregation. The subject was about meat sacrificed to idols, which was later served for food. Some people in the congregation with previous pagan backgrounds were offended by eating a congregational meal which included this meat. Paul used this occasion as an example about the interaction of Christians with different opinions. Quoting Paul: Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights (opinions) does not become a stumbling block to the weak (or different opinions). Although a difference of opinion is not necessarily a weakness, we need to love and appreciate our friends and associates with different opinions about this illness. We do not need to allow it to divide. Christian conduct is especially important. How does the world see me and my conduct?
Gary Keating, General Manager
FEAR Or TRUST?
In an article I read, the author suggested that the American society has developed a “culture of fear.” Throughout history, governments have been able to control their people through fear. Most of us have read about the many cruel governments in our history books. After Jesus death, we learned about the Christians who were terribly persecuted. Mohammed swept through the country with the battle cry, “Convert or die.” Then in more modern history, the Nazis persecuted anyone who did not agree with their philosophy especially the Jews. The communists around the world were famous for their cruelty to those who would not give up their religion and join the communist party.
Governments are not the only groups that can instill fear into a culture. Many religious groups do the same – especially cults. Doris Hanson just wrote in her current newsletter of the fear instilled into the polygamist community to conform to their way of life with “threats of God’s wrath and destruction for not measuring up to their requirements.” You can read more of her newsletters at www.shieldandrefuge.org. The letters are very informative. Many people won’t leave Mormonism for fear of losing family and friends or not being able to make it on the outside without the support of their organization. We have also known people who would not convert from Judaism for fear of losing the support of their family.
Besides governments and religions controlling with fear, anxiety can run rampant and control our personal lives with the fear of death; fear of sickness; fear of lack of money; fear for our children; fear of government; fear of being alone; fear of crowds; fear of heights; fear of water; fear of evil; and much more that we could mention. When Jesus’s disciples were on the lake in the storm and were scared, Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
The answer, of course, is trust in Jesus! One scripture that is worth memorizing is John 16:33. Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” If fear is ruling your life, I encourage you to go to Bible Gateway.com, and look up the words fear, afraid, anxious, trust , etc. Memorize the scriptures which are meaningful to you. Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. The Bible is the best place to start on that path of renewal.
Romans 15:13 –“ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Become ready, willing, and able to witness over the ‘long haul’. This evangelism works best over time, friendship style. I remember Bart, a co-worker I got through to. At this time, I knew little about how to win LDS to Jesus, but made a friend and got started. Bart gave tours at ‘Temple Square’ in Salt Lake City once a month, and was as stubborn as they come. Over the course of 5 years, we became good friends. Often, he would bring up his loyalty to his Church, and I would seek to develop objectivity as much as possible. Over this time, Bart started doing thinking for himself and began to think on his convictions from ‘different’ points of view, and “lost his testimony” of Joseph Smith. Bart transferred to a different state, and I have not seen him since 1988. I believe he became a Christian, and look forward to seeing him again.
I was learning a lot about witnessing in my friendship with Bart. The longer I kept myself in contact with My friend, the better the chance to see him become BornAgain. See you next time – happy fishing
|1. Obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Mormon Church. (Articles of Faith by James Talmage, p.92)|
|2. Righteous effort brings exaltation and ability to live with Heavenly Father in the highest of three heavens (Articles of Faith, p.91)|
|3. The resurrection of Jesus gives release from physical death only. (Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph F. Smith, Vo.1 p.138)|
|4. The blood of Jesus does not alone for certain sins. (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol, p.135)|
|1. A prophet is the head of the Mormon Church. (Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R, McConkie, p.283)|
|2. The prophets words are received as from the Lord’s own mouth. (“Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophets”, by President Ezra Taft Benson, BYU Devotional Assembly, Feb. 25, 1980)|
|3. Prophet needed for continued revelation. (Article of Faith No. 9)|
|1. The Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, the Bible, and the prophets words are all considered scripture. (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 512, 682)|
|1. The law of commandments was abolished in Christ’s flesh on the cross. (Ephesians 2: 13-16)|
|2. We cannot earn salvation, it is given by God’s grace…we must accept it. (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 5:24, Titus 3:5, Phillipians 3:4-9; II Corinthians 11:3)|
|3. The death and resurrection of Jesus guarantees to those who accept it, release from spiritual death and salvation of our souls. (I Peter 1: 3-9, II Corinthians 5:17-21)|
|4. Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1: 7-9, Colossians 2:13)|
|1. Christ is head of His Church, the body of believers. (Ephesians 1:22, 5:23, I Peter 2:7, I Corinthians 12: 12-14 , Colossians 1:18, 2:18-19)|
|2. Jesus’ words are received. (John 8:31-32, Hebrews 1: 1-2)|
|3. John was the last prophet. The revelation of Jesus Christ is all we need. (Luke 16:16, Hebrews 1 1:102, Revelation 1: 1-3)|
| 1. Holds only the Bible as God’s divine Word and sufficient revelation for these days. Adding to God’s Word will bring reproof. (Proverbs 30:5-6; John 8:31- 32, I Timothy 1: 3-4, Acts 20:27; Isaiah 8:20, II Timothy 3:14-17, John 5: 38-39, Luke 24:27,|
I Timothy 6:3-5)
|True Riches |
After the week of villagers dancing and parading in front of the king and gaining an unprecedented cultural orientation, it was time to hit the high seas, visit the hidden people of the remote islands, and express the love of Jesus to them.
Little did we know we would experience some of the wildest adventures of our lives. But before we left Vava’u there was a lesson we needed to learn.
Journal entry: Bad start today. The blahs have me. Jumped rope on deck for 30 minutes to feel better. Finished audio tape to kids and took film to be mailed before we leave the island. Met rest of crew at wharf and went to village across the harbor to visit a lady Marlene had met. A widow named Laka Laka.
Laka Laka’s house was appalling. It was supported on stilts and half of the floor was caved in. It was barely there. We visited awhile with her and then left to walk about the village and meet others.
A couple of hours later on our way back to the dinghy, we saw a man with a defeathered chicken in his hand near Laka Laka’s house. He watched until he thought we weren’t looking and then thrust the limp creature through a hole in the floor.
As we talked with the people who lived close to Laka Laka’s house, we saw her neighbors come, one by one, and give her food. We could see the smoke from her cooking fire billowing out from inside.
“You going to party at Laka Laka’s?” her neighbor asked. Well, we didn’t know—but now we did. She had prepared a feast for us in a hurry, with the help of her neighbors.
As we approached Laka Laka’s house, she invited us in to sit on the floor covered with a grass mat. A tablecloth on top of the grass mat was set with six plates. In the center was yam, pineapple, some kind of meat wrapped in taro leaves, fried chicken (the one passed through the floor), corned beef on top of canned spaghetti, and a pitcher of juice with three glasses—the only ones she had.
Laka Laka and her children did not eat. She sat near and fanned flies off the food with a dishcloth. When we were finished she handed us a cloth to wipe our hands.
“We must leave now, Laka Laka.”
“You take this to boat,” she insisted as she sacked up the leftover food.
“No, please, keep this for your family.” But she would not hear of it and shoved the black plastic bag into our hands.
We had already paid for the evening meal at the Vava’u Guest House, but could not refuse Laka Laka’s generosity.
Silence hung heavily over the dinghy on the way back to the Amazing Grace. We had experienced true hospitality from a woman who had nothing.
I will never forget Laka Laka. All my desire for comfort and pettiness melted away in the face of this woman whose only desire was to honor those who came to visit her. No matter that she had nothing—she honored anyway.
Now we could meet the “hidden people” of the remote islands—but with one difference. We thought we were bringing something to them. No. We were the ones poverty stricken—these people possessed true riches.
To order this book go to: http://www.judy.robertson.com
|I have nearly finished reading the book. Judy is an excellent writer, to the point I feel like I am in Samoa-without the humidity! pc|
When Mormon missionary Micah Wilder set his sights on bringing a Baptist pastor and his congregation into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he couldn’t have imagined that the entire trajectory of his life was about to be changed – forever.
Micah’s passionate effort to convert these Christians was met by a surprising challenge: to read the Bible through the eyes of a child, letting the Word speak for itself. He learned of a God whose love didn’t have to be earned, and he wrestled with the radical idea of God’s mercy for the remaining 18 months of his mission. As he struggled to reconcile the teachings of his Church with the truths revealed in the Bible, he encountered the true character of Jesus for the first time—and awakened to his need for His grace.
Passport to Heaven is a gripping account of Micah’s journey from living as a devoted member of a religion based on human works to embracing the divine mercy and freedom that can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Pre-order now at:https://amzn.to/3ogdx5w
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