Friday, August 29, 2008

A Journal Entry

Here is a journal entry from back when I was single.  I have a digital journal like Doogie Howser, and at this time I wanted to write something inspirational.  I let the spirit guide my thoughts.  Here it is.  It may inspire you, like it has me.

December 23, 2005

one thing thou lackest

I have recently been greatly impressed by the story of the rich young ruler when he approached the saviour and asked what lack I yet? the response was immediate, yet mostly unimportant to me today, the important aspect was "one thing thou lackest" after expounding upon that one thing, what was the young mans response? He turned his back on the call to serve, he left the savior and his opportunity to show his metal. my mind was drawn to the fact that despite this young mans worthiness (easily enough for a temple recommend) he still lacked one thing. many of us here, whether recommend worthy or not, are lacking at least one thing that is holding us back from our various calls to serve.

the half question half prod to gospel action the saviour used, was "if thou wilt be perfect." is perfection our goal. is complete spotlessness our only drive. I am sure that if the young man had asked the savior's help in overcoming his desire for wordly things, that the savior would not have turned his back. However the young man felt guilty that he couldn't give it all up at once and therefore left the savior for good. What good is repentence if it is a one time cure all.

my point in this matter is that we each are lacking in our commitment, yet not in our desire. there is no hope for one who has the potential to be perfect, but no desire to do so. on the other hand there is much hope for one who struggles and struggles yet with great emphasis and love for the saviour exclaims "I want to be good." this simple phrase has helped me see the savior's loving arms through the clouds of my own sins on many occasions. the things that I lack seem to be a stain I cannot remove, yet the lord has promised "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
I struggle, and I'll be the first to admit it. we each have our own challenges, but no one has ever struggled as much as our savior.

the straw that didn't break the camels back

our savior knows us. he knows each of us so well, that it is a true wonder. if you feel that nobody understands what you are going through, or nobody could understand the pains you are feeling, whether physical, emotional, mental, or stress, then look to the savior. you would be right to feel that no mortal fully understands what you are struggling with. Jesus however is there. he lives to help. he is the ultimate encyclopedia of life that we can turn to in our darkest hour. however, this encyclopedia is not one that can be rummaged through by topic. it must come by intense study, prayer, and fasting. I have often felt that my sins are too much to get me into heaven. There was the straw. that one that broke the camels back. The difference in this story is that the camels back won't break. It can't. he has overcome the world. we may try. we may feel that there is no more hope, I have used my last chance. I don't believe god looks at it that way. there is a lyric to one of my favorite christain songs, that has often provoked me to tears. - can I be the one to sacrifice, or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow.

what are we doing to our lives. it is a question that we must each ask ourselves. i pray, that we are striving and loving the way that the lord strove and loved. there may be straws of trials and afflictions placed on our back. they may be mountains of hay, or they may be small bales. the question is, are we going to let it break our back, or make us stronger?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Top Ten Songs

Here is a list of some of my most favorite songs.  Although I narrowed it down to ten, it is impossible to say these are my only favorite songs.

1. America - Simon and Garfunkel
The opening harmony on this song is simple yet beautiful.  The Plot is about two young people that go off looking for America and soon run out of money and food.  The emotion in this song is why I put it at number one.

2. Like a Child - Jars of Clay
My second CD ever was a Jars of Clay CD.  They are a christian pop band that uses a crisp acoustic guitar sound with family-friendly, Christ oriented lyrics to make some incredible music.  This is one of my most favorite songs and one of their greatest.

3. Classical Gas - Mason Williams
This is the second song I ever learned on guitar.  I would often ask people who claimed to be guitarists if they could play this song.  Most of them said no.  I felt that if I wanted to be a guitarist I needed to follow the standard I set for others.  I played it for the Hales Christmas talent show last year.

4. Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town - Pearl Jam
My older brother kept trying to get me to like Pearl Jam when I was younger.  I refused to listen to him until he moved out of the house.  Then as I became a fan I came across this song and quickly fell in love.  I think the reason why I like it so much is because it reminds me of my small town and the "hearts and thoughts [that] fade ... fade away."

5. Sospiro - Franz Liszt
I fell in love with the movie Shine when I was younger, and not because it is about an Australian.  The piano music  and the story line I was introduced to in that film have always inspired me.  This song is especially beautiful.

6. Hide Your Love Away - The Beatles
The Beatles had many hits that were contenders for my top ten list.  This song however is simply a graceful ballad that highlights the Beatles prodigy in song writing.

7. Take It Easy - The Eagles
This song highlights my desire to be more laid back.  It is a pick-me-up feel-good song that has always put me in a good mood.  It also has some incredible banjo playing!

8. I Wonder - Louis Armstrong
This is a gem that I quickly fell in love with.  The jazz styled piano and trumpet are mesmerizing.  Not to mention the thick Louis Armstrong voice that made him so popular.

9. Sunshine of Your Love - Cream
I really began humming the main guitar riff in this song while on my mission.  I didn't even know what song it was, but I knew that when I got home from my mission I would find out what song it was.  I also knew then, long before my first cell phone that it would make a perfect ring tone.  That is all Becca knows this song as.

10. Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal) - Fergie
This one may surprise a few people.  This song reminds me of the humid pacific breezes and the gorgeous scenery of my first deployment.  I first heard this song when I was traveling to the beaches on Guam with some military friends.  It takes me back to the wonderful weather, adventures, and sea breezes of Guam and Hawaii, which is why it is on this list.

If any of you would like to hear some of these songs, you might be able to listen to them online.  If not, let me know and I will try to get you a copy of these great songs.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Live in the World and be not of the World

I have been contemplating this phrase recently.  It seems that we are to avoid the influences of the world while still maintaining standard interactions with the world.  Here is my question:  What is the line between being in the world and not being of the world.  The predicament:  I have been a member of the military for a couple years now.  I am therefore required to interact with people that don't share any of the standards that I do.  It can be extremely degrading sometimes.  We are often told to be examples to others as well.  When I try to be a positive force and encourage others to hold higher standards it often comes across that I'm being a prude and that I'm treating them as less-thans.  This is not very conducive to being a positive example and often backfires in my face.  On the other hand I don't want to participate in many of their conversations because of the negative things they talk about.  So I am often stuck wondering what I should do.  Another example is going to bars with them on deployments.  When I refuse to go and try to encourage others to not drink too much they think I consider myself better.  I have been to several bars with them to be the designated driver and have had some positive conversations with these people that I would consider my friends.  Am I doing wrong by going to the bar?  Should I be more forceful in asking people not to talk about things I don't want to talk about when I am around.  I am asking for suggestions, because I don't feel that I have all the answers.  I hope I get some good feedback on this.