Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Thoughts on Jonah (Old Testament Lesson 33)

Some personal thoughts and ramblings on the story of Jonah. 

I know the story of Jonah is usually shared as a way of teaching responsibility, but I saw it from a different perspective.

I was thinking that the story of Jonah, to some, may not be relatable because they say Jonah was a prophet and didn’t do what the Lord asked. However, yesterday I read (pg 70) that in the old testament when they say someone is a prophet, it means that they were called to prophesy or teach. It doesn’t always mean that they were the president of the church. So Jonah could have been an ordinary member like any of us.

Also, I see the story of Jonah as a story of agency - that we are agents to act and not be acted upon. Jonah chose to not listen to the Lord and doesn’t go to teach the people of Nineveh. He actually goes the complete opposite way. Jonah, seeing that he has endangered others, chose to be thrown overboard. Jonah chose to repent while in “hell” / inside the whale. Jonah then chose to do as the Lord commanded. Jonah chose to be irritated that the people repented and were not destroyed. Then the Lord teaches him about God’s love for all. 

Jonah chose to be thrown overboard.  In my view, this is an act of giving up control. Acknowledging that his use of agency has led to consequences he didn't intend. Now in the water, being tossed in the waves, Jonah's agency is limited, he's in bondage to his choice, and he is swallowed by a whale.

The whale that swallows Jonah is an act of divine love.  A trial or struggle provided by a loving parent to a wandering child.  It wasn't a punishment.  Of course, at that moment, Jonah doesn’t view the whale as an act of love. He identifies himself in “the belly of hell.” However, the whale is likely the only reason Jonah doesn’t drown in the waves. It's an intercession.  This "tender mercy" is an opportunity to reflect, change and apply the atonement.

In life, I can choose to do things my way or I can choose to try and follow God‘s will. If I choose to use my agency unwisely, I limit myself.  As I choose contrary to God‘s will I will always find myself in “hell” - or in other words, I am choosing to separate myself from God and His love. However, our Heavenly Parents and our Savior, Jesus Christ, will always reach out to us when we turn our heart back to them. - "...his hand is stretched out still."  When I choose to repent and re-align myself with God through the power of the atonement, I am teachable and learn of His love for me.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Nebo Half Marathon 2018

While marathon training, Sha and I decided to sign up for the Nebo Half Marathon. It perfectly coincided with one of our long training runs, we'd just need to add a few miles to it.

We arrived at the start line early and decided to run 3 miles around Payson Lake prior to the race start.

Sha and I at the start line!

We took it easy on the run.  We really focused on pacing ourselves to finish the race feeling strong.

Sha and I at the finish line.  We both set a course PR.

My chip time:

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Jared's Birthday

Jared celebrated a birthday!

He and I went shopping to get him a birthday present.  I can't believe how tall he is getting!

Nathan picked out a lovely flower cake for our young man. Ha!

I sure do love this young man.  He's a lot like me which causes fireworks at times, but he's responsible, hard-working and an all-around good person.

A short walk down memory lane...

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Parowan Half Marathon - Yankee Meadow Run

On Saturday, August 4, 2018, I ran the Parowan Half Marathon with my running buddies.

L to R: Jaci, me, Sha and Anna at Yankee Meadow Reservoir (the starting line)

Sha and I after the race.  We both set a PR and were very excited.  The course was beautiful!

 L to R: me, Anna, Sha, and Jaci post race



Pictures from the course taken by Anna.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Isaac's Youth Talk on, The Holy Ghost is Our Guide

The talk Isaac gave in sacrament meeting on July 8, 2018.

This past April in General Conference, Elder Larry Y. Wilson of the Seventy talked about what an incomparable gift comes to those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. That gift is the Holy Ghost. I want to share a story from Elder Wilson’s talk, it says.

During the Korean War, Ensign Frank Blair served on a troop transport ship stationed in Japan. The ship wasn’t large enough to have a formal chaplain, so the captain asked Brother Blair to be the ship’s informal chaplain, having observed that the young man was a person of faith and principle, highly respected by the whole crew.

Ensign Blair wrote: “Our ship was caught in a huge typhoon. The waves were about 45 feet [14 m] high. I was on watch … during which time one of our three engines stopped working and a crack in the centerline of the ship was reported. We had two remaining engines, one of which was only functioning at half power. We were in serious trouble.”
Ensign Blair finished his watch and was getting into bed when the captain knocked on his door. He asked, “Would you please pray for this ship?” Of course, Ensign Blair agreed to do so.
At that point, Ensign Blair could have simply prayed, “Heavenly Father, please bless our ship and keep us safe,” and then gone to bed. Instead, he prayed to know if there was something he could do to help ensure the safety of the ship. In response to Brother Blair’s prayer, the Holy Ghost prompted him to go to the bridge, speak with the captain, and learn more. He found that the captain was trying to determine how fast to run the ship’s remaining engines. Ensign Blair returned to his cabin to pray again.
He prayed, “What can I do to help address the problem with the engines?” 
In response, the Holy Ghost whispered that he needed to walk around the ship and observe to gather more information. He again returned to the captain and asked for permission to walk around the deck. Then, with a lifeline tied around his waist, he went out into the storm. 
Standing on the stern, he observed the giant propellers as they came out of the water when the ship crested a wave. Only one was working fully, and it was spinning very fast. After these observations, Ensign Blair once again prayed. The clear answer he received was that the remaining good engine was under too much strain and needed to be slowed down. So he returned to the captain and made that recommendation. The captain was surprised, telling him that the ship’s engineer had just suggested the opposite—that they increase the speed of the good engine in order to outrun the storm. Nevertheless, the captain chose to follow Ensign Blair’s suggestion and slowed the engine down. By dawn the ship was safely in calm waters. 
Only two hours later, the good engine stopped working altogether. With half power in the remaining engine, the ship was able to limp into port.
The captain said to Ensign Blair, “If we had not slowed that engine when we did, we would have lost it in the middle of the storm.” 
Without that engine, there would have been no way to steer. The ship would have overturned and been sunk. The captain thanked the young LDS officer and said he believed that following Ensign Blair’s spiritual impressions had saved the ship and its crew.
I have a story of my own that I would like to share

Last year, when I was on trek, we were doing a hike by Dan Jones Cove.  While we were walking, I decided to go to the back where my dad was, and two other youth and one of the missionaries were. I was walking with them for a while when one of the youth had to go to the bathroom. Me, my dad, the missionary and the two other youth stopped and waited for one of the youth to go to the bathroom off in the bushes. When he got done we started walking again to catch up with the rest of the group, we didn’t make it that far when the youth that needed to go to the bathroom realized he didn’t have his wallet. We turned around went back to where we stopped before and started looking.

My dad and I decided to walk back farther to see if he had dropped his wallet farther back. While we were walking my dad had the idea that we should pray. So we prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help us find the wallet. When we finished the prayer we kept walking, we finally arrived back at Dan Jones Cove. I told my dad that I remembered seeing the person that lost his wallet sitting near a rock wall. My dad started looking around and then pulled himself up to a ledge where someone could sit, and he looked at the ledge, and there was a big crack in the rock. My dad looked down inside of the crack and saw the youth’s wallet sitting at the bottom. We got the wallet out and said a prayer to thank Heavenly Father for helping us find the wallet. We walked back to where the rest of the group was and met up with the two youth and missionary on our way there and returned the wallet.

In both of these stories, God helped by sending the Holy Ghost to guide us to fix the problem.

To receive revelation from the Holy Ghost, we have to be worthy. Elder Wilson said that we must be making an effort to align our lives with God’s commandments to be directed by Him.

In the first story Ensign Blair didn’t ask God to fix the problem, but instead, he asked God to know what to do to be part of the solution. So instead of asking God to fix all of our problems we should ask how we can fix the problem with his help.

In the second story when we prayed, we asked what God to help us find the wallet instead of asking to have the wallet turn up. We had to keep looking, and when we got back to the cove, the Holy Ghost helped me remember where the youth was sitting so we could find it.

In First Nephi chapter 15 verse 24 it says, "And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction."

This means that we need to listen and do the things that the Holy Ghost is telling us to do and that we need to not get distracted while doing it. If we do these things, then we will never perish, and it is harder for the adversary to tempt us.


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