Easter Messages: The Living Christ

Easter Messages:

The Living Christ

The Testimony of the Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , 2000

As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Eph. 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

“I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—“built upon the foundation of … apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isa. 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

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Jesus, the Fall, and Mercy for the Soul

Dinner Topics for Easter

What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Month-Defining Moment

See More Defining Moments

Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet

By  Jeffrey R. Holland

He died, a broken law to satisfy . . .

keyHow great, how glorious, how complete, redemption’s grand design,

Where justice, love, and mercy meet in harmony divine! ~Eliza R. Snow

climbupWithout safety ropes, harnesses, or climbing gear of any kind, two brothers—Jimmy, age 14, and John, age 19 (though those aren’t their real names)—attempted to scale a sheer canyon wall in Snow Canyon State Park in my native southern Utah. Near the top of their laborious climb, they discovered that a protruding ledge denied them their final few feet of ascent. They could not get over it, but neither could they now retreat from it. They were stranded. After careful maneuvering, John found enough footing to boost his younger brother to safety on top of the ledge. But there was no way to lift himself. The more he strained to find finger or foot leverage, the more his muscles began to cramp. Panic started to sweep over him, and he began to fear for his life.

Unable to hold on much longer, John decided his only option was to try to jump vertically in an effort to grab the top of the overhanging ledge. If successful, he might, by his considerable arm strength, pull himself to safety.

In his own words, he said:

“Prior to my jump I told Jimmy to go search for a tree branch strong enough to extend down to me, although I knew there was nothing of the kind on this rocky summit. It was only a desperate ruse. If my jump failed, the least I could do was make certain my little brother did not see me falling to my death.

“Giving him enough time to be out of sight, I said my last prayer—that I wanted my family to know I loved them and that Jimmy could make it home safely on his own—then I leapt. There was enough adrenaline in my spring that the jump extended my arms above the ledge almost to my elbows. But as I slapped my hands down on the surface, I felt nothing but loose sand on flat stone. I can still remember the gritty sensation of hanging there with nothing to hold on to—no lip, no ridge, nothing to grab or grasp. I felt my fingers begin to recede slowly over the sandy surface. I knew my life was over.

Helping_Hand_430-Large“But then suddenly, like a lightning strike in a summer storm, two hands shot out from somewhere above the edge of the cliff, grabbing my wrists with a strength and determination that belied their size. My faithful little brother had not gone looking for any fictitious tree branch. Guessing exactly what I was planning to do, he had never moved an inch. He had simply waited—silently, almost breathlessly—knowing full well I would be foolish enough to try to make that jump. When I did, he grabbed me, held me, and refused to let me fall. Those strong brotherly arms saved my life that day as I dangled helplessly above what would surely have been certain death.”1

My beloved brothers and sisters, today is Easter Sunday. Although we should always remember (we promise in our weekly sacramental prayers that we will), nevertheless this is the most sacred day of the year for special remembrance of brotherly hands and determined arms that reached into the abyss of death to save us from our fallings and our failings, from our sorrows and our sins. Against the background of this story reported by John and Jimmy’s family, I express my gratitude for the Atonement and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and acknowledge events in the divine plan of God that led up to and give meaning to “the love Jesus offers [us].”2

Understanding the Fall

AdamandEveresizeIn our increasingly secular society, it is as uncommon as it is unfashionable to speak of Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden or of a “fortunate fall” into mortality. Nevertheless, the simple truth is that we cannot fully comprehend the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and we will not adequately appreciate the unique purpose of His birth or His death—in other words, there is no way to truly celebrate Christmas or Easter—without understanding that there was an actual Adam and Eve who fell from an actual Eden, with all the consequences that fall carried with it.

I do not know the details of what happened on this planet before that, but I do know these two were created under the divine hand of God, that for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family, and that through a sequence of choices they transgressed a commandment of God which required that they leave their garden setting but which allowed them to have children before facing physical death.3 To add further sorrow and complexity to their circumstance, their transgression had spiritual consequences as well, cutting them off from the presence of God forever. Because we were then born into that fallen world and because we too would transgress the laws of God, we also were sentenced to the same penalties that Adam and Eve faced.

adam-and-eve-offering-sacrificesWhat a plight! The entire human race in free fall—every man, woman, and child in it physically tumbling toward permanent death, spiritually plunging toward eternal anguish. Is that what life was meant to be? Is this the grand finale of the human experience? Are we all just hanging in a cold canyon somewhere in an indifferent universe, each of us searching for a toehold, each of us seeking for something to grip—with nothing but the feeling of sand sliding under our fingers, nothing to save us, nothing to hold on to, much less anything to hold on to us? Is our only purpose in life an empty existential exercise—simply to leap as high as we can, hang on for our prescribed three score years and ten, then fail and fall, and keep falling forever?

The answer to those questions is an unequivocal and eternal no! With prophets ancient and modern, I testify that “all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.”4 Thus, from the moment those first parents stepped out of the Garden of Eden, the God and Father of us all, anticipating Adam and Eve’s decision, dispatched the very angels of heaven to declare to them—and down through time to us—that this entire sequence was designed for our eternal happiness.

God’s Divine Plan Provides Mercy for Our Souls

Jesus-gethsemane-Greatest-of-All-Del-Parson-211887It was part of His divine plan, which provided for a Savior, the very Son of God Himself—another “Adam,” the Apostle Paul would call Him5—who would come in the meridian of time to atone for the first Adam’s transgression. That Atonement would achieve complete victory over physical death, unconditionally granting resurrection to every person who has been born or ever will be born into this world. Mercifully it would also provide forgiveness for the personal sins of all, from Adam to the end of the world, conditioned upon repentance and obedience to divine commandments.

As one of His ordained witnesses, I declare this Easter morning that Jesus of Nazareth was and is that Savior of the world, the “last Adam,”6 the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Alpha and Omega of eternal life. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,”7 Paul declared. And from the prophet-patriarch Lehi: “Adam fell that men might be. … And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.”8 Most thoroughly of all, the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob taught as part of a two-day sermon on the Atonement of Jesus Christ that “the resurrection must … come … by reason of the fall.”9

So today we celebrate the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced—to say nothing of our resurrection from death and forgiveness for our sins. That victory is available to us because of events that transpired on a weekend precisely like this nearly two millennia ago in Jerusalem.

Gethsemane-Adam-Abram-627013-Beginning in the spiritual anguish of the Garden of Gethsemane, moving to the Crucifixion on a cross at Calvary, and concluding on a beautiful Sunday morning inside a donated tomb, a sinless, pure, and holy man, the very Son of God Himself, did what no other deceased person had ever done nor ever could do. Under His own power, He rose from death, never to have His body separated from His spirit again. Of His own volition, He shed the burial linen with which He had been bound, carefully putting the burial napkin that had been placed over His face “in a place by itself,”10 the scripture says.

That first Easter sequence of Atonement and Resurrection constitutes the most consequential moment, the most generous gift, the most excruciating pain, and the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life.

Jesus-Christ-holland-victory-fall-sorrow-This Easter I thank Him and the Father, who gave Him to us, that Jesus still stands triumphant over death, although He stands on wounded feet. This Easter I thank Him and the Father, who gave Him to us, that He still extends unending grace, although He extends it with pierced palms and scarred wrists. This Easter I thank Him and the Father, who gave Him to us, that we can sing before a sweat-stained garden, a nail-driven cross, and a gloriously empty tomb:

How great, how glorious, how complete

Redemption’s grand design,

Where justice, love, and mercy meet

In harmony divine!1

 

 

 

 

  1. Correspondence in the possession of Jeffrey R. Holland.
  2. “I Stand All Amazed,” Hymns, 193.
  3. See 2 Nephi 2:19–29, especially verses 20–23; Moses 5:10–11
  4. 2 Nephi 2:24.
  5. See 1 Corinthians 15:45.
  6. 1 Corinthians 15:45.
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:22.
  8. 2 Nephi 2:25–26.
  9. 2 Nephi 9:6.
  10. John 20:7.
  11. “How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” Hymns, 195.

Louis L’Amour Books: Classic Western Fiction Quotations

Classic Western Fiction Quotations

From unforgettable author: Louis L’Amour

2nd Amendment

You will remember that we won our freedom because we were armed. We were not a simple peasantry unused to weapons. The men who wrote our Constitution knew our people would be safe as long as they were armed. (Lonesome Gods, 216)

Western Civilization

keyIf men are to survive upon the earth there must be law, and there must be justice, and all men must stand together against those who would strike at the roots of what men have so carefully built. (Lonesome Gods, 415)

Here in these western lands men were fighting again the age-old struggle for freedom and for civilization, which is one that always must be fought for. The weak and those unwilling to make the struggle, soon resign their liberties for the protection of powerful men or paid armies; they begin by being protected, they end by being subjected. ~ Louis L’Amour (Man Called Noon)

Appeasement

We have a saying that power corrupts.

It does. Such rulers begin by demanding a little and end by demanding all. Power not only corrupts he who  wields the power but those who submit to it. Those who grovel at the feet of power betray their fellows to hide themselves beyond the cloak of submission. It is an evil thing. (Haunted Mesa, 293)

You cannot submit to evil without allowing evil to grow. Each time the good are defeated, or each time they yield, they only cause the forces of evil to grow stronger. Greed feeds greed, and crime grows with success. Our giving up what is ours merely to escape trouble would only create greater trouble for someone else. (Man Called Noon)

LAmour-cherokee-trailThere’s pushy folks around this country, and if they start pushing you, you have to push back. If you don’t they’ll soon push you out of the country. (Taggart)

Character

They had never learned how to rationalize, and their world was a simple one where right and wrong were quite obvious. Where the Long Grass Grows, 145

To die is not so much, it is inevitable. The journey is what matters, and what one does along the way. (Ferguson Rifle, 97-98).

Pride can be a dangerous associate, and a thinking man should beware of it.  (Ferguson Rifle, 165)

We’re not talking about what’s fair or unfair. We’re talking realities. (Comstock Lode, 49)

Uncommonly shrewd? no. Possibly not shrewd at all. Perhaps only a man who moved into whatever opening appeared, taking every advantage. Often the man appears shrewd who is only ruthless and without scruples.  (Comstock Lode, 331)

But I am somebody. I am me. I like being me, and I need nobody to make me somebody. I need no setting. As for a home, I can build my own. As for position, each of us finds his own.  (Comstock Lode, 333)

Generations will follow who must themselves live from that land …It would not be enough to leave something for them; we must leave it all a little better than we found it. (Lonesome Gods, 373)

Hatred is an ugly thing, more destructive of the hater than the hated. (Lonesome Gods, 371)

All he would say was to ask me, “Do you think you did the right thing?”

A question like that sticks in a man’s mind, and after awhile I judged everything by it, deciding whether it was the right thing, and often if there was no other way. I expect it was a good lesson to learn, but a man in his life may have many teachers, some most unexpected. The question with the man himself: Will he learn from them? (Fast Draw)

For a man to be at peace with himself was important, Will said, not what people say. People are often wrong, and public opinion can change, and the hatreds of people are rarely reasonable things. I can hear him yet. He used to say there was no use a man wearing himself out with hatred and ill-feeling, and time proved it out. First Fast Draw, 27

Me, I was never likely to build anything. A no-account drifter like me leaves no more mark behind him

than you leave a hole in the water when you pull your finger out. Every man could leave something, or should. Well, maybe it wasn’t in me to build much, but I surely could keep the work of other men from being destroyed. Nobody had the right to take from them what they had built. (Ride the Dark Trail, 101)

The thing to remember when traveling is that the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for. (Ride the Dark Trail, 53)

A man had to see, not just look. (The Quick and the Dead, 18)

It’s the way with women. [They] fall for a man, then set out to change him. Soon’s they got him changed they don’t like him no more. Never seen it to fail. (Outlaws of Mesquite, 32)

The man had charted his own course, followed his own trail. If it led to death … he had probably saved himself from a bullet or a noose, for he was headed for one or the other. When a man begins a life of violence, or when he decides to live by taking something away from others, he just naturally points himself toward one end. He can’t win—the odds are too much against him. (Mustang Man, 93)

Walking opens the mind to thought.

LAmour-western2We have to earn our place, just like all the others. There’s no special sun that shines on any man, regardless of religion, philosophy, or the color of his skin. There’s no reason why any man should expect a special dispensation from pope or president. In this country, more than any other, you have to make your mark. You’re not going to be treated like something special until you are.

Some men become outlaws. They can’t make a living honestly, so they try to do it by force and strength.

That is the hardest question of history, the question people have asked in every age, in every time. Many men want what other men have. Men are often greedy, jealous, and vindictive. Or they look across the fence at what they think is greener grass.(Dry Side)

LAmour-brionneThe wood with which we work has strength, it has beauty, it has resilience! If it is treated well, it will last many, many years! If you build, build well. No job must be slackly done, no good material used badly. There is beauty in building, but build to last, so that generations yet to come will see the pride with which you worked. (Rivers West, 113)

Remember this. If you stop pushing on, you lose. It is always a little further to the top than you think. (Reilly’s Luck, 17)

Riding the wild country gives a man time to think, and Will Reilly had encouraged thinking. “You have to be objective,” he had said. “Each problem must be taken by itself, and you have to leave emotion out of it. Be stern with yourself. Don’t pamper yourself.” (Reilly’s Luck, 94)

Think nothing of treasure and stories of treasure. You will have in this world just what you earn … and save. Remember that. Do not waste your life in a vain search for treasure that may not exist. (Rivers West, 64)

A mill does not turn upon water that is past, nor does a ship sail with the winds of yesterday. (Rivers West, 5)

LAmour-skibbereenI am a poor man, and no fortune will come to me unless I earn it with me two hands. The hands and the will, they’re all I have. (Man from Skibbereen, 39)

“I could come to hate them!”

“Don’t. Isn’t worth it, Molly. I don’t hate anybody and never have. A man does what he has to do, and sometimes it’s not what I believe he should do. There’s no reason to use up energy hating him for it.

“If a man comes at me, I defend myself. If he hunts me, I figure I can hunt some myself.” (Milo Talon, 156)

There was something else, too, that was not generally recognized—that just as the maternal instinct is the strongest a woman has, just so the instinct to protect is the strongest for a man. (Mountain Valley War, 10)

They know who they are, they know what they believe in, and their kind will last. Other kinds of people will come and go. The glib and confident, the whiners and complainers, and the people without loyalty, they will disappear, but these people will still be here plowing the land, planting crops, doing the hard work of the world because it is here to be done. (Mountain Valley War, 12)

LAmour-ben-shafterYou’ve a good mind, too. Don’t let it go to seed. A brain is only as good as you give it a chance to be. (Mountain Valley War, 65)

There was a cold, bitter anger within him. For a moment he looked back, felt the weight of the guns at his hips, and remembered the contempt of Cub Hale, the arrogance of his father. No … now was not the time. Jody was gone, and Wilson too, but what they had fought for must not be lost. The surest way to make Hale pay was not to kill him but to destroy him and what he had done, to win so the rest of them could keep their homes. (Mountain Valley War, 130)

Sometimes a man’s ego gets so inflated that other people … are to be brushed aside. Well, he destroyed himself … when he brushed a man aside the other day who will haunt him the rest of his life. (Mountain Valley War, 141)

Do not let yourself be bothered by the inconsequential. One has only so much time in this world, so devote it to the work and the people most important to you, to those you love and things that matter. One can waste half a lifetime with people one doesn’t really like, or doing things when one would be better off somewhere else.” (Ride the River, 35)

Courage

LAmour-westernDo not be afraid. A little fear can make one cautious. Too much fear can rob you of initiative. Respect fear, but use it for an incentive, do not let it bind you or tie you down. (Lonesome Gods, 218-219)

They had come upon me in a mob, too cowardly to face me alone, and no man deserves to be beaten and hammered by a mob, and the men who make up a mob are cowards. First Fast Draw, 36

They had mobbed me, beaten me, and for no reason. Yet they had declared war, I had not. First Fast Draw, 38

There’s some who will remember you and be afraid, and men try to destroy anybody they are scared of.  First Fast Draw, 45

Only a fool takes chances. That isn’t bravery, not one bit. The good fightin’ man never takes chances he can avoid. You have to take plenty you can’t help, and only a fool would go to gambling with his life.

When I was a kid they told me I was scared for not walkin’ a small log over a high canyon. The other kids all did it, but not me. Now if there had been something on the other side I wanted, I would have gone over after it if there was no other way to get it. I never did see any sense in taking chances that weren’t necessary. There’s a sight of difference between being brave and being a dang fool. (Rustlers of West Fork, 131)

Trouble? All my life there’s been trouble, and where man is there will be trouble to the end of time, if not of one kind, then another. But I take my trouble as it comes. (Showdown at Yellow Butte, 86)

Culture

Men destroy what they do not understand, as they destroyed the son of God when he chose to walk among them. (Lonesome Gods, 512)

LAmour-quick-n-deadIs it to be a place where only business is done? Simply a marketplace, or is it to be a place of beauty? The great cities, the remembered cities, are the cities known for their beauty. (Lonesome Gods, 218)

Because a custom is old is no reason for junking it. (Long grass, 56)

The empty people, they wanted nothing more; they chafed at bonds because they were not mature enough for discipline, the kind of discipline one gives himself. He had seen too many of them, sad, misguided people, railing at institutions and ideas they were too juvenile to accept. The important thing in life called for maturity, for responsibility. Too many fled from it, wanting to be back in childhood when somebody else coped with the problems. Long Grass, 86

I had no grudge against any man, nor did I know what it meant to hate. To be wary, yes, for I knew there were hating folks about, but for myself, I hated no man. Only there was a point beyond which I’d not be pushed. First Fast Draw,15

The good people …made less noise and attracted less attention. (Rustlers of West Fork, 211)

Defend Right and Truth

LAmour-utah-blaineYou have to fight for most of the things worth having … or somebody does. (The Quick and the Dead, 116)

A man can get killed taking things for granted. (Ride the Dark Trail, 52)

Me, I was never likely to build anything. A no-account drifter like me leaves no more mark behind him than you leave a hole in the water when you pull your finger out. Every man could leave something, or should. Well, maybe it wasn’t in me to build much, but I surely could keep the work of other men from being destroyed. Nobody had the right to take from them what they had built. (Ride the Dark Trail, 101)

Education

He who ceases to learn is already a half-dead man. And do not be like an oyster who rests on the sea bottom waiting for the good things to come by. Search for them, find them. (Lonesome Gods, 39)

Family

There’s nothing better than two, a man and woman, who walk together. When they walk right together there’s no way too long, no night too dark. (Ride the Dark Trail, 49)

Long ago we had come from England and Wales, but the family feeling within us was older still, old as the ancient Celtic clans I’d heard spoken of. It was something deep in the grain, but something that should belong to all families …everywhere. I did not envy those who lacked it. (Ride the Dark Trail, 65)

“Her? Really? But she’s nobody. She’s just a broken-down nester’s daughter.”

“Everybody is somebody to me.” (Ride the Dark Trail, 202)

Government

There is no greater role for a man to play than to assist in the government of a people, nor anyone lower than he who misuses that power. (Lonesome Gods, 373

LAmour-flintA man is only king as long as folks let him be. (Ride the Dark Trail, 87)

You’ve got to make a stand somewhere. We are making a decision here today whether this community is to be ruled by justice and by law or by force and crime. (Law of Desert Born. 218)

What we have most to fear, I believe, are those within our own borders who think less of country than of themselves, who are ambitious for money, for power, for land. Some of these men would subvert anything, anything at all, for their own profit. They would even twist the laws of their own country in their desire to acquire wealth or power. Such men are always prepared to listen to a smooth-talking man with a proposal. (Rivers West, 27)

You must remember that if we leave the governing to others, then others will govern, and possibly not as we would like. In a country such as this, none of us is free of responsibility. Good government is everybody’s business. ~ Louis L’Amour (Rivers West, 29)

You know, Jack, there’s a clause in the Constitution that says the right of an American to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged. The man who put that clause there had just completed a war that they won simply because seven out of every ten Americans had their own rifles and knew how to use them. They wanted a man to always be armed to defend his home or his country. Right now there is a man in this area who is trying to take away that liberty and freedom from some men. (Mountain Valley War, 13)

One could not yield to the lawless and the ruthless, or soon there would be no freedom. It was among men as it was among nations. (Mountain Valley War, 85)

Davy was said to be a sort of Robin Hood bandit who took from the rich to give to the poor. If he was like most of those Robin Hood bandits I’d heard tell of, the poor he gave to was himself or over the bar in the nearest tavern. (Ride the River, 59)

History

All history is important to us. From each we learn a little about survival, a little about what causes peoples to decay and nations to die. We try to learn from others so we shall not make the same mistakes, but many of us learn simply for the love of knowing. (Haunted Mesa, 159)

LAmour-ride-riverMen needed stories to lead them to create, to build, to conquer, even to survive, and without them the human race would have vanished long ago. (Lonesome Gods, 142)

Not until 1818 had a firm boundary been established between the United States and Canada along the forty-ninth parallel from the Rainy Lake to the Rockies.

Only recently had the treaty been signed with Spain ceding Florida to the United States and defining the western border of the Louisiana Purchase at the forty-second parallel. The Untied States had renounced claims to Texas, and rights to many parts of this great new land were openly disputed.

The changing status of the slave trade had caused a number of slave traders to abandon the sea. In 1808 a law had been passed forbidding the importation of slaves into the United States, and even now a bill was before Congress that would make foreign slave trade an act of piracy punishable by death. Although the smuggling of slaves would almost certainly continue, many of those traders who wished to take no chances were leaving the trade and looking for a fresh area for their talents. (Rivers West, 39-40)

“I cannot believe this is happening to me. I cannot believe that those men would be as brutal as you say.”

“Nobody ever believes it until it is too late. Everyone has the same idea: that it could not happen to them. It is always happening to somebody else, and you see it in the papers and don’t credit it.”

~Louis L’Amour (Man from Skibbereen, 48)

Liberty

Are you prepared to lose all this? To have someone else reap where you have sown? You must fight or be enslaved. (Haunted Mesa, 270)

You will remember that we won our freedom because we were armed. We were not a simple peasantry unused to weapons. The men who wrote our Constitution knew our people would be safe as long as they were armed. (Lonesome Gods, 216)

He had breathed the free air of a free country too long and had the average American’s fierce resentment of tyranny. (Desert Born, 201)

LAmour-westward-tideMobs must be anonymous. Most men who make up mobs act under influence of the crowd. Singled out and suddenly alone, they become uncertain and uneasy. Deliberately, he let them know that he knew them. Deliberately, he walked among them, making each man feel known, cut off. He must break their shell of mob thinking and force each man to think of his own plight and the consequences to himself. He must make each man sure he was recognized, known. As a mass, thinking with one mind, they were dangerous, but if each began to worry …(Desert Born, 226-228)

Any man can run a town with killings, if he is fast enough. To clean up a tough town without killing, that takes a man!” (Desert Born, 232)

They were God-fearing, stern, and fierce to resent any intrusion on their personal liberty. It was such men as these who had destroyed Major Patrick Ferguson and his command at King’s Mountain. Not understanding what manner of men he dealt with, Ferguson had threatened them with fire and hanging, and they had responded by coming down from the mountains with their long Kentucky rifles. These were the sort of men who had been the backbone of the early American armies.

They were like Ethan Allen, Daniel Boone, the Green Mountain boys, Kit Carson, and Jim Bridger. There was also a fierce resentment for those who abused their power. (Mountain Valley War, 19-20)

Propaganda

They believe too hard. Men will give up anything rather than what they want to believe. And hate you for telling them there’s nothing to believe. And even if you prove it to them, they’ll continue to believe, and hate you for proving them foolish. ~Louis L’Amour

Judeo-Christian Culture: Ode to the Epic Hero

Judeo-Christian Culture: Ode to the Epic Hero

Dinner Topics for Monday

Defining Moment: Epic Literary Definition

Critical Thinking Topics

Epic Literature— has the following features.

  • Broad scope in time, with nationalistic emphasis
  • Narrative motifs including warfare and rulership
  • Historical impulse, with allusions to key events in the life of a nation
  • Supernatural context
  • Plot with recurrent patterns or situations
  • Narrated in a ceremonial style or exalted diction which is deliberately distanced from ordinary  speech

~Richard Dilworth Rust, Feasting on the Word, pp. 49-51

Mayan hieroglyphic, and it came to pass

Mayan hieroglyphic, and it came to pass

To a child learning to read, at first, those symbols loom on the page, defying understanding.  If you have stood before rock monuments or stelas in Central America, gazing at the hieroglyphs, you know how it feels.  Now that the dense jungle has been cleared away to reveal the remains of the Mayan civilization, that is only the first step.  Men and women have since dedicated their lives to learning the meaning of those glyphs.

Sometimes we feel that way about the Bible and other epic literature.  It’s like a whole different language.  It’s true— the written word, or literature, is in a different realm from the spoken word of our day.  And epic literature has special characteristics that set it in a class all by itself.  The first feature that creates a barrier for most of us is the diction, or choice of words.  Richard D. Rust, in his book Feasting on the Word, tells us that epic literature is “narrated in a ceremonial style or exalted diction which is deliberately distanced from ordinary speech.”

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “epic” as “otherwise called heroic. . . which narrates a story. . . in an elevated style. . . usually the achievements of some distinguished hero, and intended to form the morals and affect the mind with the love of virtue.  The end [or purpose] is to improve morals, and inspire a love of virtue, bravery and illustrious actions.”

If we as parents wish to give our children a foundation as firm as Rock, that will be remembered in the hearts of our children, and their children, and so on, we must develop teachings with staying power.

ScripturePoetry After thousands of years, the Bible remains the chief and most widely read of classic literature. What makes it an enduring best seller, past the peak of three weeks, six months, or even a year?  Why is it never really obsolete? Its language remains untouched by the jungle of our modern day semantics.   As we leave the mundane behind, and lead the way through that straight and narrow passage, past the language barrier, we begin an epic adventure with our families.  We begin to. . .

Discover things that will be treasured,

Perhaps not always in money measured—

Gems of knowledge, virtue, truth,

Eternal standards for our family and youth.

Best of all, if we as parents faithfully train, or “direct the growth of” our children, we will watch them discover great truths and heaven-sent messages in the exalted diction of the word of God. Youth will rise to the noble standards in epic literature, and find the epic hero within themselves.

Epic Hero resize medThe following poem pays tribute to the hero of epic literature and presents a pattern for the successful quest to build good character. It invites the reader to discover the epic hero within you.

          Ode to the Epic Hero

Your epic quest begins at birth

To find your purpose here on earth.

Along the way your heart will learn

How good from evil to discern.

Moments in time will come to define

Trials of your soul, to test and refine.

Discover things that will be treasured,

Perhaps not always in money measured—

Gems of knowledge, virtue, truth,

Eternal standards for families and youth—

To strengthen, protect, and to prepare

A way to escape the enemy’s snare.

faithjourney2The journey of life demands your part—

Courage, faith, and a willing heart.

You need not fall, though you may stumble,

For angels fail not to help the humble.

Your lone small flame may not seem bright,

Yet it reveals the way to greater light.

Day by day, big and little—

Answers await life’s every riddle.

Just when you think you can’t continue,

You’ll find the epic hero within you.

Honor and virtue will be your choice.

Return home triumphant, and rejoice.

~C.A.Davidson

Copyright © 2010 by Christine A. Davidson

Christian Story: Armor of God

Dinner Topics for Friday

Bible Quotes

ShieldresizeFor we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ~Ephesians 6:12-17

Outfitting for the Epic Journey

“Above all, taking the shield of faith. . .”       

One taking a long journey has more peace of mind if properly outfitted.  Saint Paul outlines the elements best suited for the epic journey called life. (Ephesians 6:11-17)  It is easy to take our feet for granted, until they hurt. Having your feet well shod, therefore, is vital.  Without this preparation, it is futile to expect to walk the long road, or even to be able to stand firmly.

Next is to be girt about with truth, and have on the breastplate of righteousness.  Obedience to God is the habit of a free man.   This obedience makes a good breastplate, because it protects a heart which is soft and teachable, which is humble and submissive to the divine will.

When you put on the helmet of salvation, you are taking on the name of your Redeemer.  If, wherever you go, you always remember Him, the Spirit will never fail you, and you will never forget who you are.

Now, above all, taking the shield of faith.  But with all this, how will we see where we are going when it is dark?

Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of earlier days when he worked for the railroad, and he wondered how the engineer, traveling at such a dangerous speed, could see into the darkness. Then he realized it was not one long journey, but rather a constant continuation of a short journey. The engine’s powerful headlight could brighten the way for a distance of up to 500 yards.  The engineer could see to the edge of the light, and that was enough, because that headlight was constantly before him through the night, until the dawn.

He explains that in like manner we proceed on our eternal journey, one step at a time. We travel into the unknown, but the headlight of faith always lights the way before us.  If our faith keeps that light bright, we will never walk in darkness.

Copyright 2010 © C.A. Davidson

Equip your young people the Armor of God

Action Plan—START HERE

 

 

George Washington Facts, Quotations

Dinner Topics for George Washington’s Birthday

Heritage Foundation:

George Washington Deserves His Own Day, Not Presidents Day

georgewashingtonQuotations

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.
~George Washington

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. ~George Washington

Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected. ~George Washington

2nd Amendment

Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.

~George Washington

The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good. ~George Washington

Morality

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason

and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. ~George Washington

The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.

~George Washington

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.

~George Washington

Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession. ~George Washington

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments. ~George Washington

Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light. ~George Washington

I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man. ~George Washington

 

Judeo-Christian Culture: Change of Heart Theme Quotes

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Change of Heart Theme Quotes

The home is the great laboratory of love. There the raw chemicals of selfishness and greed are melded in the crucible of cooperation to yield compassionate concern and love one for another. ~Russell M. Nelson

Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. ~Isaiah 45:22

Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written. ~Ether 2:12

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men. ~Ether 12:4

This is the last day in which the great consummation of God’s purposes will be made, the only dispensation in which the Lord has promised that sin will not prevail. ~ Ezra Taft Benson

Let not that which I have appointed be polluted by mine enemies, by the consent of those who call themselves after my name. ~Doctrine and Covenants 101:97

We may be bucking a strong tide, but we must teach our children that sin is sin. ~Spencer W. Kimball

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient… ~Isaiah 1:18

Come, for “he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause.” ~Jacob 3:1

Come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him. ~Omni 1:26

Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings. ~Alma 37:37

The world today speaks a great deal about love, and it is sought for by any. But the pure love of Christ differs greatly from what the world thinks of love. Charity never seeks selfish gratification. The pure love of Christ seeks only the eternal growth and joy of others …

I know the Lord lives. I know that He loves us. I know that apart from Him no one can succeed, but as a partner with Him no one can fail.

I know that God can make a lot more out of our lives than we can.

We must lose ourselves in doing his will.

We need to come unto Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, feasting upon the word of Christ, to look unto Him in every thought, and to always remember Him.

If thoughts make us what we are, and we are to be like Christ, then we must think Christ-like thoughts.

Let our personal lives, our homes, and our work performance reflect our Christ-like character. So live that others will say about you, “There is a true Christian!”

[A temperate person] is restrained in his emotions and verbal expressions. He does things in moderation and is not given to overindulgence. In a word, he has self-control. He is the master of his emotions, not the other way around …

In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost. [Holy Spirit] ~Russell M. Nelson

 

faith-and-freedomFortify your family with the Judeo-Christian Heritage HERE

Judeo-Christian Culture: Change of Heart

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Change of Heart

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Epicworld Dinner Topics!

change-of-heart2WHAT IS THE CONDITION OF YOUR HEART? Perhaps, like me, sometimes you feel a little hard-hearted—that is, you don’t want to submit to what you know is right, because something else is more “fun.” Guess what? Jesus would have preferred not to go through with the agonizing atonement in Gethsemane and on the cross, either, but He loves us so much that He broke his heart on our behalf. Without the agonizing price that He paid, we would be forever lost. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. All He asks, to spare us from the awful consequences of our sins, is that we only change our hearts, humble ourselves and repent. Or in other words, offer a “broken heart and a contrite spirit.”

Well, the change of heart is a life-long process for Christian disciples. Our individual progress is between each of us and the Lord.

change-of-heart1But for a moment let’s look at this on a broader scale. Biblical history is replete, not only with calls to personal repentance, but also with God’s dealings with entire nations. God loves all His children, no matter where they reside. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. However, though His love is unconditional, the truth is, His atoning sacrifice is conditional upon our repentance.

Repentance has been the unrelenting message of God’s prophets since the beginning of history. Historically, people resent that message, because they don’t want to change their hearts. Today, nothing much has changed, human nature being what it is. Christian leaders continue to warn us that we must repent, or suffer the consequences of our sins on our own, because the eternal law must be satisfied. Because God is our loving Father, He is also a just God, for the sake of the innocent.

I have this dream that America will experience a huge spiritual revival, will turn her heart as a nation back to God. I know, it seems impossible; hear me out. The character of a nation reflects the character of her people. God has always asked His people to be a leavening influence.

eternal-perspective4-jesusContrary to popular perception of this little word, “repentance” is the hidden manna that will truly satisfy the spiritual hunger of God’s children and protect them from the poisonous effects of sin. Thus we see that “repent” is a message of love, because it is the single key to divine mercy.

There are many who are seeking the truth, but they just do not know where to find it. They don’t know the great plan of happiness that God has for them. They don’t know how to be delivered from the terrible part of the Judgment Day. But you know—maybe they are waiting for you to tell them.

Meanwhile, time speeds on inexorably toward the day when Christ returns. Do you want the many good people in your life to suffer because they did not know the good news of the gospel?

light-endoftunnelGod wants you to open your mouth and speak His everlasting truth—a truth which is increasingly elusive in this world wallowing in sin.

As the darkness in the world increases, the task of spreading the light of truth is truly daunting. But it has always been so. All the more reason for us to be a light. And remember, as one great Christian leader reminded us, in the spirit of prophecy:

This is the last day in which the great consummation of God’s purposes will be made, the only dispensation in which the Lord has promised that sin will not prevail. ~ Ezra Taft Benson

You have been warned; therefore, go and warn your neighbor. It will be the greatest labor of love you will ever do.

Highlights

  • Saint Valentine defends traditional marriage

 

May His truth go marching on,

Christine Davidson

faith-and-freedomFortify your family with the Judeo-Christian Heritage HERE

biblical-worldview2-christian

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

As respected Christian leader Tim Wildmon notes:

keyI 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

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

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Epic Heroes Quest

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

Epic Heroes in Training 

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Jewish Note on God, Christmas Tree

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

Christmas Tree

Ben Stein: On God, Christmas Trees and symbols

keyI am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.  I don’t feel threatened.  I don’t feel discriminated against. ~Ben Stein

I Only hope  we find GOD again before it is too late

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday  Morning Commentary (This was years ago before the media freaked out about mentioning the word “Christmas”.)

My confession:

chtreeI am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people
call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.  I don’t feel threatened.  I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s What they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn’t bother me a bit when People say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me.  I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.  In fact, I  kind of like it.  It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu ..  If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.

I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period..  I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country..  I can’t find  it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from  that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.

But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In  light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:  This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham ‘s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane  Katrina )..   Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful  response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools,  to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.  And   being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.  How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’
In light of recent events…   Terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.  I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years  ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.  The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.  And we said OK. Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave,

Because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock ‘s son committed suicide).  We said an Expert should know what he’s talking about.  And we said  okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and  themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell.  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and  obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion  of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?  Funny  how when you share this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they  will think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Share this if you think it has merit. If not, then just discard it….. No one will know you did.  But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My  Best Regards,  Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Christmas Gift Ideas: Young Adult Literature Relevant to Today, will Strengthen Faith and Family