Judeo-Christian Culture: Bible Quotes, Faith and Works

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Bible Quotes, Faith and Works

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Gospel Teachings: Faith in Jesus Christ and Hope for the Future

Gospel Teachings: 

Faith in Jesus Christ and Hope for the Future

Why It Will All Work Out

By LDS.org Blog Staff

Wars. Rumors of wars. Injustice. Hate. Poverty. Turmoil in our families. Shifting morals in society. An ever-present sense of darkness.

There’s a lot to be afraid of in this world that seems to get darker and more complicated each day. And while we shouldn’t minimize the problems and complexities of our day, we also shouldn’t let them paralyze us with fear. Some things we can control. Some things we cannot. But there is an antidote to fear, and it requires us choosing to stand with God every day.

Be Optimistic

President Gordon B. Hinckley was known for his optimism. Some of his most memorable teachings during his ministry were around his belief that we need to “stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.”

This is a man who lived through the Great Depression, two World Wars, Vietnam, political upheaval, the September 11 attacks, and much more, and we can learn a thing or two from his optimism and the source from which it came.

“I have seen a good deal of this earth. I have been in areas where war rages and hate smolders in the hearts of people. I have seen the appalling poverty that hovers over many lands. … I have watched with alarm the crumbling morals of our society.

“And yet I am optimistic. I have a simple and solemn faith that right will triumph and that truth will prevail.”

Our optimism can be more than just a positive attitude. It can be like President Hinckley’s—powerful, emanating from our very beings, and rooted in a firm faith and trust in God.

“It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning,” President Hinckley taught. “If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us.”

Act First in Faith

We can’t see the future. That’s what makes the unknown so scary.  Sometimes sticking with what we know, what we’re comfortable with, what we can see, feels like the safest bet in life. But that’s not how God intends for us to grow. Sometimes life requires us to take a leap of faith, especially when it comes to overcoming our fears.

“The natural man and the natural woman says there is no way I’m taking this step. There is no way I’m moving into the darkness until the light moves and I can see where I’m going,” taught Elder David A. Bednar in the video “Being an Agent to Act.”

But the requirement for faith is that we act first.

“Most of the time we think, ‘Well, give me the power and then I’ll act,’” said Elder Bednar. “But the Savior’s gospel teaches that first we act and then the power comes. We don’t know where to go. We don’t know what to do, but my trust in Him enables me to act.”

As we act, Jesus Christ blesses us with His power. Our faith in Him grows, our confidence increases, and we can then navigate the most difficult circumstances in life knowing that we will never be alone and we will always have His help.

Overcoming fear requires a divine power, and we gain that power as we choose to act first in faith.

See the Long View

Fears are a part of this mortal experience. We’re never going to get rid of them. But having the right perspective can help us to overcome fears as we live with the right “end game” in mind.

War, terror, debilitating illness, death. The fear of those things can paralyze us if we do not have an eternal perspective and knowledge that this mortal life is just a moment in our existence. But we know through the gospel of Jesus Christ that death is not the end. Family relationships can continue for eternity. You can become all that God intends for you to be in this life and the next.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ gives us Hope

When you see life with the long view, with an eternal lens, none of the fears that we deal with in mortality should ever feel unconquerable. The Atonement of Jesus Christ gives us hope. It gives us power to know we can overcome Satan, fight past the darkness of mortality, burst the bands of death, and ultimately become like our Heavenly Father in the heavens above.

There is more to this life than what we can see in front of us. Choosing to live with the long view in mind helps us to keep these mortal fears from taking over our lives and allows us to more fully live by faith.

See how you can draw your family closer to God in these troubled times

Serve Someone Else

When we’re paralyzed by fear, disappointments, and just the wrongs that happen as a result of mortality, it’s easy to feel justified in focusing on ourselves.

But spiritual power to overcome fear doesn’t come in wallowing, self-pity, and inaction. It comes through action and often looking outside of yourself.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson shared a story of how his wife taught this principle while they were presiding over the Japan Nagoya Mission.

When missionaries would come to them filled with fear and doubts, Sister Stevenson would apply her “cookie therapy.”  She would give the missionaries ingredients to make cookies and the instruction to bake a batch every morning. Then, she told them to deliver the cookies each day to someone who needed them. As simple as the “cookie therapy” was, it worked wonders.

Elder Stevenson said very often, the act of thinking about someone else cured the missionary of his or her fears.

“The warm, golden glow that accompanies service and selflessness has the power to melt away doubts and fears.”

Going back to the optimistic counsel from President Hinckley:

It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is.
It all works out. Don’t worry. …
The Lord will not forsake us.
He will not forsake us.
If we will put our trust in Him,
if we will pray to Him,
if we will live worthy of His blessings,
He will hear our prayers.

God doesn’t want us to fail. Because of Jesus Christ, no failure is final. No fear in this mortal life need paralyze us. Faith can overcome fear. And if we trust that it does, we can move forward knowing that in the end, “it will all work out.”

How to help strengthen the faith of the rising generation

Motivation Music: Faith and Works

Motivation Music: Faith and Works

keyoldBut be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. ~James 1:22,25

why

“Motive” by Jordan

Listen to Jordan’s award-winning album free at Spotify

Missionary Work: Gospel Teachings

Dinner Talk Topics for Friday

Missionary Work: Gospel Teachings

 

Called to Serve

By Grace Gordon

Jesus-calling-the-fishermenCalled to serve Him, heavenly King of glory,

Chosen e’er to witness for his name,

Far and wide we tell the Father’s story,

Far and wide his love proclaim.

 

Called to know the richness of his blessing—

Sons and daughters, children of a King—

Glad of heart, his holy name confessing,

Praises unto him we bring.

 

Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;

Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing.

God our strength will be; press forward ever,

Called to serve our King.

Dinner Topics Newsletter: Faith and Works

August 2016 Dinner Topics Newsletter: Faith and Works

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Epicworld Dinner Topics!

eternal-perspective3-picture-quote “YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOOK FAR TO SEE SOMEONE WHO IS WORSE OFF THAN YOU ARE,” as my mother used to say. What does that have to do with this month’s theme, Faith and Works? Sometimes the best way to keep on in the faith is to lose ourselves in the work.

There are several kinds of work, and all good work builds and ennobles the spirit.

childwkgardenFirst, the kind of work that Adam was blessed with—the work of sowing and harvest that keeps the world going, industry, economy—the kind of work that more than 90 million Americans wish they had.

Second, creative work, which is a process, not an event. Creativity involves a wide range of work, from cultural arts to web design, but not to exclude the multitude of talents in between, such as building character, keeping families strong and happy, educating, inventions, technical support—the ways to be creative are infinite.

youthservingThird, team work. Faith, love, service, and steadfastness are the role of the wise team leader who understands that the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

Fourth, the labor of love—like this blog, which is a labor of love for me. Do I get paid for it? No, but I love doing it. I hope your life is culturally and spiritually richer for it.

All of these good works are part of the Lord’s great labor of love, which is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. Because of love, God sent His Only Begotten Son to provide our way to our heavenly home. It was love that empowered the Savior to complete the infinite sacrifice that would atone for all our failings, saving us by grace, because we can never do enough to save ourselves.

Faith, prayer, and repentance are a kind of work, too. We are admonished to “bring forth works of repentance.”  Prayer is a kind of work, a means for obtaining the highest of blessings.

covenant4-true-faithAnd faith is a monumental work—the kind of work required to keep going despite great obstacles, to trust in God when all around you are doubting, to stand for what is right, even if you stand alone. But the more we exercise faith, the stronger it becomes.

My faith has gotten me through some very painful situations, and I am confident it will continue to do so. Yours can, too.

Keeping true to the Faith,

Christine

Thanks for visiting. Come often, stay late.

 

Highlights

  • Defining Moment: Utopia fails because only Christ is perfect, not man
  • Parenting: What if your teen refuses to go to Church?
  • Truth about Hillary: D’Souza’s book and movie, Hillary’s America; Clinton Cash, the movie
  • Moral Solutions: A plan to defeat jihad
  • History: How Persia changed its name to Iran—the Nazi connection

News Updates and Current Events: Truth will Out!

The daily news is happening and changing so fast, we will need to squeeze in additional posts, for the TRUTH must be exposed, among all the liberal lies that proliferate in the left wing media. Please keep yourself informed, for the sake of our families and our country. TRUTH is our most powerful weapon against the destructive forces of evil.

New Category: National Security

Stress Relief Tip of the Month: Service

youth-serveSomeone once said to a great missionary who was homesick: “Forget yourself and go to work.” Sometimes the best way to forget our own troubles is to serve others.  “When you are in the service of your fellow beings you are in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17) “Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25) We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find! ~Spencer W. Kimball

 

Theme Quotes for August: Faith and Works

 

lighthouse2Live so that those who know you who don’t know Christ will want to know Christ because they know you. ~Anon.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16

 “Forget yourself and go to work.”

“When you are in the service of your fellow beings you are in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17) “Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find! ~Spencer W. Kimball

Faith precedes the miracle. ~ Spencer W. Kimball

Shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? ~Isaiah 29:16

And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. ~ Isaiah 32:17

quote-Isaiah-eagles-wingsIn every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. ~Acts 10:35

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. ~Romans 8:28

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. ~1Corinthians 15:58

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work. ~Exodus 20:9-10

Let us all press on in the work of the Lord, that when life is o’er we may gain a reward.

~ Evan Stephens

compasschoosewhotofollowThose who have the precious gift of faith must fight for good against the combined forces of an enemy bent on their destruction. ~Larry Y. Wilson

The true King has true followers—humble servants who are able to see through all the lies and deceptions of the enemy. ~Larry Y. Wilson

Each of us faces a choice. We can choose to see ourselves as the Lord’s servants and humbly seek to know what He wants us to do. ~Larry Y. Wilson

 

Classical Music this month will be provided by: Enesco and Debussy

 

August Preview

The Dinner Topic Theme for August: Faith and Works

Defining Moments

“Defining Moments” is a monthly feature. Kind of a fancy name for a glossary. When I was growing up, we had a huge dictionary on a tall, narrow, rolling table. Whenever we asked the meaning of a word, we were told to “look it up.” We still do that. You’d be surprised at some of the interesting things you find in the dictionary, especially the 1828 American Dictionary. Now, with all the twists and spins that politicians and the media do to common words, it’s valuable to go back to the original meaning. It can make for interesting conversation, too.

 

This month: Utopia

See more Defining Moments

Featured Topics

 

faith-works2The Parenting Value for this month: Courage

Famous Birthdays: Raoul Wallenberg, Georges Enesco, Jedediah Morse, Claude Debussy, John Locke

Bible Stories: Parable of the Sower

Character Education: Spiritual Crocodiles

  • Encouraging Quotes

Culture Wars: European Union critics praise America first immigration policy

  • Enjoy comic relief with A.F. Branco’s brilliant cartoons

parable-sower3Faith:  Do you Believe?

  • Choices

Family: What if your teen refuses to go to Church?

History: How Persia became Iran—the Nazi connection

Literature: Work— Adam’s Blessing

  • Creative Work—A Process, Not an Event
  • Team Work
  • Labor of Love

Moral Solutions: A plan to defeat Jihad

constitution2National Security: Whistle-blower exposes White house support of “Armies of Darkness”

  • Shariah law vs. US Constitution

Truth Zone: Watch Movie: Clinton Cash—Clinton Corruption exposed

  • Felon vote privileges struck down;
  • the disturbing Islamist ties of Hillary’s VP pick

Please Vote for our Site and help us reach more readers. Do you enjoy this web site? If you do, please consider voting at the link in the right-hand sidebar beneath the Follow button. If we can be listed in the Top Sites at “Christians Unite!”—we can reach more people who think like you do. You can vote more than once—any time you appreciate a post with Christian content. This keeps us up toward the top 10 so we get referrals.

Thank you for your support.

bigpicture2

This is a must-read if you want to take America back:

Truth Zone: America First— Donald Trump Foreign Policy

What’s Best for America? Defeat the Left!

 

Big Picture—What do Americans really Want?

They want their country back, and will do what it takes

What about compassion for American Citizens?

This year, this section will contain Truth Zone posts. The mainstream media is now blatantly lying, savaging only those Americans who speak truth and truly want to protect our country. They ignore history and facts. The wicked take the truth to be hard.

 

Pray that God will raise up someone who understands that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Pray that we would be transformed back to a nation that honors God. ~Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association

It isn’t about ideology anymore.  It isn’t about conservatism and being thoroughbred conservative.  It’s about stopping what has been put in play by Barack Obama and the Democrat Party.  A majority of the American people continue to hear Barack Obama and the Democrat Party and Hillary Clinton, and they know that if this party continues to win, the things that have been done that damaged this country are going to continue. ~Rush Limbaugh

TRUTH: Immigration moratorium is already part of U.S. law. There is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about it.

Truth Zone: History Facts and Immigration Laws

 

Ongoing

1. Let Us Educate Ourselves

2. Home Education—Let’s Teach our Children!

culture-war3-reagan“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”–Ronald Reagan

Seeing the widespread injury done in any given week, (many incidents go unreported), stay aware of important news and insights at Epicworld Dinner Topics.

Traditional Bible-believing parents may have to consider withdrawing their children from public schools to protect your family spiritually and financially from the rising tide of persecution and ruinous lawsuits by anti-Christian fascists.

If it is not possible for you to home school, try to teach your children Judeo-Christian values at home. The easiest way to do this is to tell stories and discuss principles at the family dinner table. I hope these dinner topics help you with this vital effort. Just don’t give up! Our precious children are worth fighting for!

3. Study the U.S. Constitution!

Start your free Constitution 101 course today.

christianquote3-ten-com-lawThe U.S. Constitution is the key to securing liberty for all Americans — yet very few know exactly what it says, and what freedoms it protects. Hillsdale College is dedicating this year to educating millions of Americans about this critical document. That’s why the College is offering its most popular course, “Constitution 101” for free, when you sign up now. 

It is the last remaining safeguard of our precious freedoms! A good way to do this is to study the monthly Constitution series from The 5,000 Year Leap. To access this series of posts, type US Constitution Series in this site’s search bar. Also, look for posts that refer to the Constitution in current events.

Thanks for all you do,

C.A. Davidson

Parents’ Resources

biblical-worldview2-christianNEW PAGE! If you miss the newsletter, or just want an inspirational message on cultural topics, you can visit our new Inspiration Page Topics include Biblical Worldview, Eternal Perspective, American Dream, and more.

New Categories! Character Education, Patriotism It is hoped that with these more specific categories, it will be easier for you to access our vast and growing archives of valuable information.

Our Mission to Rescue the Birthright: Support Character Education for Young Adults

Now you can support the Culture of Liberty and help us reach and train more of the rising generation in our cherished Judeo-Christian values. Be a Patron; Please See our Donate Page

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FOLLOW US! To receive each newsletter and latest updates, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right hand corner of this site. Thank you.

Critical Thinking: Defining Moments updated

Updated: The most powerful weapon in the world—work for victory for American liberty: how to fight evil effectively

Bringing History Lessons to Life

Unleash a love of learning in your child with hands-on history materials!
Featuring timelines, maps, Lap Books™, and history studies designed for your child to live the lessons!

http://homeschoolinthewoods.com/

Epic Heroes Quest

Plus—Empowering keys found in each dinner topic; Preparing for the Epic Journey of Life;

Epic Hero resize medEpic Heroes in Training 

Parent Resources

Comments and Contact

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You are always welcome to share my posts! Please just link back to Epicworld Dinner Topics

 

Culture Wars: Pray for America with Active Faith and Works

Pray for America with Active Faith and Works

Culture Wars

GOPStopObamaPIXMr. Trump pulled a political stunt that thoroughly discredits his integrity, in my opinion. That said, let’s remember that most of the candidates would still be better than any of the candidates on the Left. We must focus on getting a real Patriot back in the White House to replace the traitor who is now in there. All Americans want is to STOP THE DESTRUCTION of our beloved country. With all his faults, I am still prepared to vote for Trump if he’s nominated, rather than give the election to more of the treasonous leftist agenda, because I still think that Trump is not a traitor. However, Ted Cruz is the one candidate with integrity, and is the most preferable. Against the betrayal by our own party in Washington, “We the People” are virtually powerless, except we do have the Lord on our side. I keep praying that God will support the right man for our time, but we must do our part. If illegal immigration isn’t stopped, nothing else matters. We will have no country. So if you stay home, you are only aiding the destruction of this country, by ceding it to the enemy, and we may end up past the point of no return.This election is our last chance to save America from the destructive forces of the Left.  Do you really want to be responsible for the end of all we hold dear,and bequeath evil to your children, all because you didn’t see the bigger picture and refused to push back against the real enemy?

Keep in mind that the prayers of the righteous spare the nation. ~C.D.

CruzConservatismTed Cruz validates my point, as follows:

CRUZ: For far too long, Christians have been staying home, have been ceding the public square to non-believers. And when we look at the state of the country, when our heart weeps at what’s happening to the country and we wonder why is it that the federal government is waging war on life, is waging war on marriage, is waging war on religious liberty. Is it any wonder when 54 million evangelical Christians stayed home in 2012 and did not vote? If we allow our leaders to be selected by non-believers, we shouldn’t be surprised when our leaders don’t share our values.

Rush Limbaugh:

There isn’t perfection in a candidate.

And it’s amazing; back in 1992, don’t forget, you had a conservative electorate, which felt betrayed then by George H. W. Bush. “Read my lips: No new taxes.” He eventually made a budget deal with I guess it was Foley, whoever the Democrat Speaker of the House was at the time, and we got our tax increase and all that stuff that H. W. Bush said running as Reagan’s third term ended up being compromised.

There isn’t perfection in a candidate. There’s no utopia, there’s no perfection anywhere.

I think the pursuit of perfection in candidates has been one of the reasons that we’ve been losing.

The biggest and most destructive force in this country today is the Democrat Party. They’ve got to be beaten. They’ve got to be stopped. This Democrat Party that we’re up against today is not the Democrat Party of 20 years ago or further, 25, 30, 40. The Democrat Party today has been totally taken over by ultra left-wing radicals, international left-wing radicals for whom the United States of America is an obstacle, for whom the United States of America is a problem, for whom the United States of America is largely disliked. And they have power now. And you see what they’re doing with the power.

Betrayal-GOP-pc-liberal-treason-Sam-Cliff“If people’s lives are so dire that they’re considering suicide, that they have no money, that they can’t get jobs anymore, that they can’t find health care, they’re being priced out of everything — Christmas isn’t Christmas anymore — you can hit ’em all day with how great one philosophy is over another, and it isn’t gonna register.

“The majority of people in this country feel a profound sense of betrayal by the Republican Party, and there’s a deep resentment that a bunch of faceless, nameless money brokers, lobbyists, and donors are shaping the future of the country by virtue of neutering the Republican Party.”

conservatism1-levin It’s really simple, my friends: I don’t want to destroy anybody who could defeat Hillary Clinton. I don’t want to damage anybody who could defeat the Democrat Party. It’s no more complicated than that. ~Rush

It isn’t about ideology anymore.  It isn’t about conservatism and being thoroughbred conservative.  It’s about stopping what has been put in play by Barack Obama and the Democrat Party.  A majority of the American people continue to hear Barack Obama and the Democrat Party and Hillary Clinton, and they know that if this party continues to win, the things that have been done that damaged this country are going to continue. ~Rush Limbaugh

Active Faith and Works

Pray as if everything depends on God and work as if everything depends on us.

As respected Christian leader Tim Wildmon notes:

faith-works2I believe America in many ways is like a very sick person who is about to die if proper medicine and treatment are not quickly administered. The medicine: a Christian revival that brings millions of people to Jesus Christ. The treatment: for Christians to stand against evil and for righteousness in government and other places in the name of the Lord.

Someone once said that, as believers, it is our job to pray as if everything depends on God and work as if everything depends on us. That may not be exactly theologically correct, but you get the idea. God reigns, but He gives us responsibility to do what we can as His agents of change.

Pray that God will raise up someone who understands that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Pray that we would be transformed back to a nation that honors God. ~Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association

Gospel Teachings: Faith Works!

Gospel Teachings: Faith Works Wonderfully!

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I pray that we will focus on “the simplicity that is in Christ” and allow His grace to lift and carry us.

Is the Gospel Working for You?

Not long ago I saw a quote that made me stop and think. It went like this: “Tell a man there are trillions of stars in the universe, and he’ll believe you. Tell him there’s wet paint on the wall, and he’ll touch it just to be sure.”

Aren’t we all a little bit like this? After a recent medical procedure, my very capable doctors explained what I needed to do to heal properly. But first I had to relearn something about myself I should have known for a long time: as a patient, I’m not very patient.

Don’t Ignore Reliable Truth

bednar-truth-192x192Consequently I decided to expedite the healing process by undertaking my own Internet search. I suppose I expected to discover truth of which my doctors were unaware or had tried to keep from me.

It took me a little while before I realized the irony of what I was doing. Of course, researching things for ourselves is not a bad idea. But I was disregarding truth I could rely on and instead found myself being drawn to the often-outlandish claims of Internet lore.

Sometimes, the truth may just seem too straightforward, too plain, and too simple for us to fully appreciate its great value. So we set aside what we have experienced and know to be true in pursuit of more mysterious or complicated information. Hopefully we will learn that when we chase after shadows, we are pursuing matters that have little substance and value.

Discerning Spiritual Truth

When it comes to spiritual truth, how can we know that we are on the right path?

One way is by asking the right questions—the kind that help us ponder our progress and evaluate how things are working for us. Questions like:

“Does my life have meaning?”

“Do I believe in God?”

“Do I believe that God knows and loves me?”

“Do I believe that God hears and answers my prayers?”

“Am I truly happy?”

“Are my efforts leading me to the highest spiritual goals and values in life?”

faith-works1Profound questions regarding the purpose of life have led many individuals and families throughout the world to search for truth. Often that search has led them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to the restored gospel.

I wonder if we as Church members might also benefit from asking ourselves from time to time: “Is my experience in the Church working for me? Is it bringing me closer to Christ? Is it blessing me and my family with peace and joy as promised in the gospel?”

Alma posed similar questions to Church members in Zarahemla when he asked: “Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? … [And] can [you] feel [it] now?”1 Such contemplation may help us to refocus or realign our daily efforts with the divine plan of salvation.

Many members will answer with great warmth that their experience as a member of the Church is working exceptionally well for them. They will testify that whether during times of poverty or prosperity, whether things are pleasant or painful, they find great meaning, peace, and joy because of their commitment to the Lord and their dedicated service in the Church. Every day I meet Church members who are filled with a radiant joy and who demonstrate in word and deed that their lives are immeasurably enriched by the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

But I also recognize that there are some who have a less-than-fulfilling experience—who feel that their membership in the Church sometimes isn’t quite what they had hoped for.

This saddens me because I know firsthand how the gospel can invigorate and renew one’s spirit—how it can fill our hearts with hope and our minds with light. I know for myself how the fruits of the gospel of Jesus Christ can transform lives from the ordinary and dreary to the extraordinary and sublime.

But why does it seem to work better for some than for others? What is the difference between those whose experience in the Church fills their souls with songs of redeeming love2 and those who feel that something is lacking?

As I have pondered these questions, a flood of thoughts came to mind. Today, I’d like to share two.

Simplify

quote-simplifyFirst: are we making our discipleship too complicated?

This beautiful gospel is so simple a child can grasp it, yet so profound and complex that it will take a lifetime—even an eternity—of study and discovery to fully understand it.

But sometimes we take the beautiful lily of God’s truth and gild it with layer upon layer of man-made good ideas, programs, and expectations. Each one, by itself, might be helpful and appropriate for a certain time and circumstance, but when they are laid on top of each other, they can create a mountain of sediment that becomes so thick and heavy that we risk losing sight of that precious flower we once loved so dearly.

Therefore, as leaders we must strictly protect the Church and the gospel in its purity and plainness and avoid putting unnecessary burdens on our members.

And all of us, as members of the Church, we need to make a conscientious effort to devote our energy and time to the things that truly matter, while uplifting our fellowmen and building the kingdom of God.

One sister, a Relief Society instructor, was known for preparing flawless lessons. One time she decided to create a beautiful quilt that would serve as the perfect backdrop to the theme of her lesson. But life intervened—there were children to pick up from school, a neighbor who needed help moving, a husband who had a fever, and a friend who felt lonely. The day of the lesson approached, and the quilt was not completed. Finally, the night before her lesson, she did not sleep much as she worked all night on the quilt.

The next day she was exhausted and barely able to organize her thoughts, but she bravely stood and delivered her lesson.

And the quilt was stunning—the stitches were perfect, the colors vibrant, and the design intricate. And at the center of it all was a single word that triumphantly echoed the theme of her lesson: “Simplify.”

Brothers and sisters, living the gospel doesn’t need to be complicated.

It is really straightforward. It could be described like this:

  • Hearing the word of God with earnest intent leads us to believe in God and to trust His promises.3
  • The more we trust God, the more our hearts are filled with love for Him and for each other.
  • Because of our love for God, we desire to follow Him and bring our actions in alignment with His word.
  • Because we love God, we want to serve Him; we want to bless the lives of others and help the poor and the needy.
  • The more we walk in this path of discipleship, the more we desire to learn the word of God.

And so it goes, each step leading to the next and filling us with ever-increasing faith, hope, and charity.

It is beautifully simple, and it works beautifully.

Brothers and sisters, if you ever think that the gospel isn’t working so well for you, I invite you to step back, look at your life from a higher plane, and simplify your approach to discipleship. Focus on the basic doctrines, principles, and applications of the gospel. I promise that God will guide and bless you on your path to a fulfilling life, and the gospel will definitely work better for you.

Start Where You Are

faithjourney2My second suggestion is: start where you are.

Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not “more” of something—more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly, or capable. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve. God created us to grow and progress. But remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and turn us to Christ, who will “make weak things become strong.”4 Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying.

I learned in my life that we don’t need to be “more” of anything to start to become the person God intended us to become.

God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you. All you need is a willing heart, a desire to believe, and trust in the Lord.

Gideon saw himself as a poor farmer, the least of his father’s house. But God saw him as a mighty man of valor.5

When Samuel chose Saul to be king, Saul tried to talk him out of it. Saul was from one of the smallest tribes of the house of Israel. How could he be king?6 But God saw him as “a choice young man.”7

Even the great prophet Moses felt so overwhelmed and discouraged at one point that he wanted to give up and die.8 But God did not give up on Moses.

My dear brothers and sisters, if we look at ourselves only through our mortal eyes, we may not see ourselves as good enough. But our Heavenly Father sees us as who we truly are and who we can become. He sees us as His sons and daughters, as beings of eternal light with everlasting potential and with a divine destiny.9

The Savior’s sacrifice opened the door of salvation for all to return to God. His “grace is sufficient for all [who] humble themselves before [God].”10 His grace is the enabling power that allows access into God’s kingdoms of salvation. Because of His grace, we will all be resurrected and saved in a kingdom of glory.

Even the lowest kingdom of glory, the telestial kingdom, “surpasses all understanding,”11 and numberless people will inherit this salvation.12

But the Savior’s grace can do much more for us. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we aspire to something unimaginably greater. It is exaltation in the celestial kingdom. It is life eternal in the presence of our Father in Heaven. It is the greatest gift of God.13 In the celestial kingdom, we receive “of his fulness, and of his glory.”14 Indeed, all that the Father hath shall be given unto us.15

quote-uchtdorf-discipleshipExaltation is our goal; discipleship is our journey.

As you exercise a little faith and begin your walk as a peaceable follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, your heart will change.16 Your whole being will be filled with light.17

God will help you become something greater than you ever thought possible. And you will discover that the gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed working in your life. It works.

It Works!

Brothers and sisters, dear friends, I pray that we will focus on “the simplicity that is in Christ”18 and allow His grace to lift and carry us during our journey from where we are now to our glorious destiny in our Father’s presence.

As we do so and someone asks us, “How is being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints working for you?” we will be able to say with pride, in all humility, and with great joy, “It works wonderfully! Thank you for asking! Would you like to know more?”

Dinner Topics Newsletter: Faith and Works

August 2015 Dinner Topics Newsletter: Faith and Works

faith-works1Dear Friends,

Welcome to Epicworld Dinner Topics!

MY MOTHER USED TO SAY, “You don’t have to look far to see someone who is worse off than you are.” What does that have to do with this month’s theme, Faith and Works? Sometimes the best way to keep on in the faith is to lose ourselves in the work.

There are several kinds of work, and all good work builds and ennobles the spirit.

parable-harvest-wheatFirst, the kind of work that Adam was blessed with—the work of sowing and harvest that keeps the world going, industry, economy—the kind of work that more than 90 million Americans wish they had.

Second, creative work, which is a process, not an event. Creativity involves a wide range of work, from cultural arts to web design, but not to exclude the multitude of talents in between, such as building character, keeping families strong and happy, educating, inventions, technical support—the ways to be creative are infinite.

Third, team work. Faith, love, service, and steadfastness are the role of the wise team leader who understands that the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

Fourth, the labor of love—like this blog, which is a labor of love for me. Do I get paid for it? No, but I love doing it. I hope your life is culturally and spiritually richer for it.

All of these good works are part of the Lord’s great labor of love, which is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. Because of love, God sent His Only Begotten Son to provide our way to our heavenly home. It was love that faith-works2empowered the Savior to complete the infinite sacrifice that would atone for all our failings, saving us by grace, because we can never do enough to save ourselves.

Faith, prayer, and repentance are a kind of work, too. We are admonished to “bring forth works of repentance.” Prayer is a kind of work, a means for obtaining the highest of blessings. And faith is a monumental work—the kind of work required to keep going despite great obstacles, to trust in God when all around you are doubting, to stand for what is right, even if you stand alone. But the more we exercise faith, the stronger it becomes.

parableofsowerHighlights

Bible Story: Parable of the Sower

History: Correcting Governor Christie’s mistaken perception about compromise and the Founding Fathers

Watch for the posts that will answer these questions: Which political party was founded to abolish slavery? Which political party fought a war to perpetuate slavery? The answers may surprise you.

Heroes of History who made a difference: Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat responsible for saving thousands of Jews from the Holocaust, gave his life in so doing, and was awarded high honors from U.S. and Israel.

William Wilburforce worked tirelessly for decades, finally ending slavery in England by legislation instead of war.

Dinner Talk Topics: Four articles on work, with corresponding round table discussion questions.

Thanks for visiting. Come often; Stay Late.

Don’t give up; Let’s keep working for Liberty,

Christine Davidson

NOTE: The Tea Party is doing all it can in a political sense. However, to be realistic, at the end of the day, America will not be saved in Washington D.C. The sad truth is that politicians on both sides of the aisle are betraying real Traditional Values.

We will also be tracking the work of Heritage Foundation, which is highly effective, not only in informing Americans, but also in educating members of Congress, as well as influencing them to put principle above self-serving politics. Please scroll down to see Alert! ACTION UPDATES after the featured topics.

News and Updates:

New Categories! Bible Story, Critical Thinking, Culture Wars, Gospel Teachings, and Truth Zone. It is hoped that with these more specific categories, it will be easier for you to access our vast and growing archives of valuable information.

Some of you have been requesting a “donate” button. It is now available on the right hand sidebar, or on our Donate Page. There is a way you can support the Culture of Liberty and help us reach and train more of the rising generation in our cherished values. Funds will go toward our Mission to Rescue the Birthright.

Follow us, and Vote for Epicworld Dinner Topics

You can get the monthly newsletter and post notifications. There is a button on the upper right-hand corner of my blog that says “Follow.” Simply enter your email there and you can receive the monthly newsletter and email notifications every time a topic is posted. You can follow me on FaceBook on my Epicworld Dinner Topics page, and on Twitter at Epicstoryteller. But the best way is to use the follow button on this blog.

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Theme Quotes for August: Faith and Works

lighthouse2

Live so that those who know you who don’t know Christ will want to know Christ because they know you. ~Anon.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16

“Forget yourself and go to work.”

“When you are in the service of your fellow beings you are in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17) “Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

living-gods-truthWe become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find! ~Spencer W. Kimball

Faith precedes the miracle. ~ Spencer W. Kimball

Shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? ~Isaiah 29:16

quote-hales-live-religionAnd the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. ~ Isaiah 32:17

In every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. ~Acts 10:35

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. ~Romans 8:28

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. ~1Corinthians 15:58

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work. ~Exodus 20:9-10

Let us all press on in the work of the Lord, that when life is o’er we may gain a reward.

~ Evan Stephens

Stress Relief Tip of the Month: Service

youth-serveSomeone once said to a great missionary who was homesick: “Forget yourself and go to work.” Sometimes the best way to forget our own troubles is to serve others. “When you are in the service of your fellow beings you are in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17) “Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25) We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find! ~Spencer W. Kimball

Classical Music this month will be provided by: Enesco and Debussy

August Preview

The Dinner Topic Theme for August: Faith and Works

Defining Moments

“Defining Moments” is a monthly feature. Kind of a fancy name for a glossary. When I was growing up, we had a huge dictionary on a tall, narrow, rolling table. Whenever we asked the meaning of a word, we were told to “look it up.” We still do that. You’d be surprised at some of the interesting things you find in the dictionary, especially the 1828 American Dictionary. Now, with all the twists and spins that politicians and the media do to common words, it’s valuable to go back to the original meaning. It can make for interesting conversation, too.

This month: Capitalism

See more Defining Moments

Featured Topics

parable-sower3The Parenting Value for this month: Courage

Famous Birthdays: Raoul Wallenberg, Georges Enesco, Jedediah Morse, Claude Debussy, John Locke

 

Bible Stories: Parable of the Sower

Culture Wars: De-Fund Planned Parenthood

Multiculturalism and Moral Relativism

An amusing anecdote illustrating the farce of the Greek bailout

Faith: Church and State

Be Genuine, Avoid Hypocrisy

History: The truth about compromise and the Founding Fathers

Which political party was founded to abolish slavery? Which political party fought a war to keep slavery?

Literature: Work: Adam’s Blessing

Creative Work—A Process, Not an Event

Team Work

Labor of Love

truth2momentTruth Zone: The real Unemployment figures

The real economy

The truth about the outrageously extravagant pensions enjoyed by government officials, for the rest of their lives

Moral Repair Plan—always looking for reasons for optimism:

In these days when Truth is endangered by political expediency, it is important that we learn to discern Truth from Error, fraud, or downright deception. Now, a new category: Truth Zone

And as always—current events, updates, and analysis

teapartyresults6Alert! Action Updates

Tea Party News: Keep GOP Primary a Fair Vote

Heritage Foundation

Heritage Foundation Plan of Action: Defend Family, First Amendment Freedoms

Moral Support: Plan of Action to defend First Amendment Freedoms

 

magnifying-glass-lightoftruthTruth Zone:

Fact Check vs. Media Blackout: Obama Iran Deal, Illegal Alien Crime, Trump and McCain

 

Parents’ Resources

New Categories! Bible Story, Critical Thinking, Culture Wars, Gospel Teachings, and Truth Zone. It is hoped that with these more specific categories, it will be easier for you to access our vast and growing archives of valuable information.

Our Mission to Rescue the Birthright

Read about the Birthright

Support our Mission: Character Education for Young Adults

 

New! Our Mission to Rescue the Birthright: Support Character Education for Young Adults

New! Now you can support the Culture of Liberty and help us reach and train more of the rising generation in our cherished Judeo-Christian values. Be a Patron; Please See our Donate Page

 Defining Moments update

 The most powerful weapon in the world—work for victory for American liberty: how to fight evil effectively

New! Unleash a love of learning in your child with hands-on history materials!
Featuring timelines, maps, Lap Books™, and history studies designed for your child to live the lessons!

http://homeschoolinthewoods.com/

knightonhorseEpic Heroes Quest

Plus—Empowering keys found in each dinner topic; Preparing for the Epic Journey of Life;

Epic Heroes in Training 

Parent Resources

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Ongoing

family5prayingdinner1. Seeing the widespread injury done in any given week, (many incidents go unreported), stay aware of important news and insights at Epicworld Dinner Topics.

Traditional Bible-believing parents may have to consider withdrawing their children from public schools to protect your family spiritually and financially from the rising tide of persecution and ruinous lawsuits by anti-Christian fascists.

 

If it is not possible for you to home school, try to teach your children Judeo-Christian values at home. The easiest way to do this is to tell stories and discuss principles at the family dinner table. I hope these dinner topics help you with this vital effort. Just don’t give up! Our precious children are worth fighting for.

 

  1. Study the U.S. Constitution! It is the last remaining safeguard of our precious freedoms! A good way to do this is to study the monthly Constitution series from The 5,000 Year Leap. To access this series of posts, type US Constitution Series in this site’s search bar.

 

Thanks for all you do,

C.A. Davidson