Bible Story: Jesus’ Teaching of Good vs. Evil

Dinner Topics for Monday

Jesus’ Teaching: Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Bible Story: Learning about Good vs. Evil

keyoldHe answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. ~Matthew 13:37-39

wheattaresTares—The word denotes darnel grass, a poisonous weed, which, until it comes into ear, is similar in appearance to wheat. ~Bible Dictionary, 780, KJV

Matthew 13:24-30; 36-42

24 ¶Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

enemy-sowed-tares-bible-story28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

Jesusinfield40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Doctrine and Covenants 38: 12

12 Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned; and, behold, the enemy is combined.

Doctrine and Covenants 86: 1-7

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares:

2 Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed;

bible13 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.

4 But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender—

5 Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields;

6 But the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also.

7 Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned.

Prophetic Meanings of “Tares”

Note: Context here for references to the word “church” are not speaking of a specific building, location, or Christian denomination. Rather, “church” is depicted in a broader sense, meaning ideas, philosophies, teachings, or doctrines, and can be either true or false.

As opposed to the way of Jesus Christ, which is love, truth, and persuasion without compulsion, Satan’s way is hate and force. The “prophet” of Islam teaches that Allah wants them to force their “religion” upon the world. “Allah” commands his worshippers to kill all those who prefer the truth to lies, and who will not accept the Islamic “religion”. Given this as their doctrine, might we reasonably surmise that “Allah” is not really God, our loving Father? If “Allah” is not Heavenly Father, who do you think “Allah” is, really?  ~ C.A. Davidson

And another angel shall sound his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood—she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea—behold, she is the tares of the earth; she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned. And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it. ~ Doctrine and Covenants 88:94

 

Question: What did Jesus mean when He identified “tares” as the “church of the devil?”

Dallin H. Oaks

wolfsheep2It [Tares, or “church of the devil”]must be any philosophy or organization that opposes belief in God. And the “captivity” into which this “church” seeks to bring the saints will not be so much physical confinement as the captivity of false ideas. ~Dallin H. Oaks

Book of Mormon prophecies describe the “great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil” (1 Nephi 14:17). This “church” is prophesied to have “dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” (1 Nephi 14:11). Called “most abominable above all other churches,” this church is also said to act “for the praise of the world” to bring “the saints of God . . . down into captivity” (1 Nephi 13:5, 9). Since no religious denomination — Christian or non-Christian — has ever had “dominion” over all nations of the earth or the potential to bring all the saints of God down into “captivity,” this great and abominable church must be something far more pervasive and widespread than a single “church” as we understand that term today.

It must be any philosophy or organization that opposes belief in God. And the “captivity” into which this “church” seeks to bring the saints will not be so much physical confinement as the captivity of false ideas.

In the Savior’s [post-resurrection] ministry among the Nephites [in ancient America], He warned against a church that “be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil” (3 Nephi 27:11). These warnings are not limited to religious organizations. In the circumstances of our day they include a multitude of secular philosophies and activities.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:65-66

65 Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory, when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man according as his work shall be;

66 While the tares shall be bound in bundles, and their bands made strong, that they may be burned with unquenchable fire.

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US Constitution Series 3 Quotes: Benjamin Franklin on the Good Leader

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

From The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

Declaration_independenceUS Constitution Series 3: Quotes from Founding Fathers on Good Leadership

NOTE: The following quotations show how the Founding Fathers knew by personal experience, as well as the study of history, how human nature defaults to tyranny, corruption, and plunder in government if leadership is devoid of virtue. Today we are seeing the fulfillment of their sad predictions.

Principle #3

The most promising method of securing a virtuous and morally stable people is to elect virtuous leaders

“…thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness [unjust gain]; and place such over them, to be rulers …” ~Exodus 18:21

A favorite scripture of the day was Proverbs 29:2, which says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Samuel Adams

But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.

Thomas Jefferson

It would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society.

John Adams

johnadams2Politics are the divine science, after all. How is it possible that any man should ever think of making it subservient to his own little passions and mean private interests? Ye baseborn sons of fallen Adam, is the end of politics a fortune, a family, a gilded coach, a train of horses, and a troop of livery servants, balls at Court, splendid dinners and suppers? Yet the divine science of politics is at length in Europe reduced to a mechanical system composed of these materials.

I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

Making Public Office an Honor Rather than a Position of Profit

As Benjamin Franklin traveled in Europe, he noted that there was a violent struggle for appointments to public office because they paid so well. He felt this was a serious mistake.

In the early history of the United States, community offices were looked upon as stations of honor granted to the recipients by an admiring community, state, or nation. These offices were therefore often filled by those who performed their services with little or no compensation. Even when an annual salary of $25,000 was provided in the Constitution for President Washington, he determined to somehow manage without it. He did the same thing while serving as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces during the Revolutionary War. Not all could afford to do this, but it was considered the proper procedure when circumstances permitted it. (Skousen, pp. 64-65)

Franklin’s Address to the Constitutional Convention

225px-BenFranklin2Franklin fervently hoped this policy could be perpetuated in America from generation to generation. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he gave a discourse on the need to fix the course of American public service so that it would always attract men of public virtue and repel scoundrels scrambling for a soft job. He said:

Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effect. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it.

Haggling for High-Salaried Public Offices Was Repugnant to the Founders

Franklin had seen enough of the world to make a general observation to the Constitutional Convention which the members could not help but hear with deep respect. The men at the Convention were there at great personal sacrifice; some, like Madison, on borrowed money. Franklin warned that high salaries for government offices are the best way to attract scoundrels and drive from the halls of public office those men who possess true merit and virtue. (Skousen, p.66)

Benjamin Franklin

And what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will NOT be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government, and be your rulers. And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation; for their vanquished competitors, of the same spirit, and from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavoring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.

Benjamin Franklin’s Prophecy: the road to Government Plunder

 

Sir, though we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find that such will not be of long continuance. Reasons will never be wanting for proposed augmentations [increases]; and there will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give more to them.

Hence, as history informs us, there has been in every state and kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing and the governed, the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning princes or enslaving of the people.

Generally, indeed, the ruling power carries its point, and we see the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure.

Principle 2: Virtuous and Moral People

Principle 4: The Role of Religion

Character, Apparel, and Moral Standard

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

Building good character …

Courage to Choose Modesty

By Carol F. McConkie

What can we teach our sons and daughters to help them have the courage to choose modesty [in their apparel] in a world that would mock them for their virtuous choices?

keyWhy is modesty so important? Why would a hemline, a neckline, or a T-shirt matter to the Lord? I am the mother of five daughters and two sons, and as you can imagine, the topic of modesty has come up in our home once in a while. But over the years, I have learned that modesty is taught best by teaching the doctrine and setting a positive example. The doctrine will help our children understand why modesty is so important, and our example will demonstrate the blessings of modesty in happy ways.

What Is Modesty?

modestyouthModesty is a God-given principle that can help us learn to use our bodies appropriately here in mortality. The definition of modesty in True to the Faith is “An attitude of humility and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior.”1 Modesty is not vain or boastful. Modest people do not use their bodies or their behavior to seek approval from the world or to draw attention to their own real or supposed accomplishments or desirable attributes.

Please remember that the principles of modesty shared here apply to both men and women, sons and daughters, and remember that even as we teach and exemplify modesty, we never condemn those who choose short skirts or “rainbow hair and the many splendored rings.”2 Always we exemplify compassion and Christlike love for the individual while we remain loyal to the standards the Lord has set.

I testify that the choices we make to appear and behave modestly send a powerful message that we understand our identity as sons and daughters of God and that we have chosen to stand in holy places.

templeI love this scripture: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17). Our bodies are the temples of our spirits. It is to this bodily temple that we invite the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I believe that when we choose to wear modest clothing and behave with a modest demeanor, we wear and we live our testimony of God the Eternal Father and of His Son, Jesus Christ. We witness by our physical appearance that we are disciples of Christ and that we live His gospel.

Why Is Modesty Important?

We live in a world of good and evil, and the physical body can be used for either righteous or wicked purposes. But we know that our precious bodies are a gift from God to each of us. They are sacred. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “To those who know and understand the plan of salvation, defiling the body is an act of rebellion [see Mosiah 2:36–37] and a denial of our true identity as sons and daughters of God.”3 We choose to care for and protect our bodies so that we may be instruments in the hands of God to bring about His glorious purposes (see Alma 26:3). If we desire to stand for the Savior and do His work, we must ask ourselves, If the Savior stood beside us, would we feel comfortable in the clothing we wear?

Modesty in dress, appearance, thought, and behavior is evidence that we understand the covenants we have made that bless us, protect us, and empower us in our preparation to return to His presence. When we were baptized, we stepped out of the world and into the kingdom of God. Everything must be different for us. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “By choosing to be in His kingdom, we separate—not isolate—ourselves from the world. Our dress will be modest, our thoughts pure, our language clean.”4

Modesty is a principle that will help keep us safely on the covenant path as we progress to the presence of God. Modesty in dress and appearance and in thought and behavior will help prepare us to make and keep sacred temple covenants. To bless and protect Adam and Eve, God gave them coats of skins to clothe them before sending them out of the garden. In like manner, God has given us a covering of covenants in mortality, symbolized by our sacred temple garments.

What Are the Blessings of Modesty?

What can we teach our sons and daughters to help them have the courage to choose modesty in a world that would mock and scorn them for their pure and virtuous choices? Do they see us using our bodies to draw attention or to glorify God?

Modesty in thought, word, appearance, and behavior helps us obtain three empowering and ennobling blessings.

  1. Modesty invites the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Elder Hales has taught, “Modesty is fundamental to being worthy of the Spirit.”5

Let’s help our children understand that they will not want to do anything to deny themselves “the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 121:26). Help them know that precious and powerful spiritual gifts accompany His sacred companionship. God has promised, “I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; … By this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive” (D&C 11:13–14). Knowledge, wisdom, and testimony; joy, peace, and happiness—these are some of the great blessings we can promise our children as we invite them to live modestly and be worthy of the Holy Ghost.

One of the challenges of modest dress is that fashions and socially accepted behaviors change regularly. The standards of the Lord never change. Teach young men and young women to be sensitive to the Spirit as they make choices about what to wear, say, and do. As they live close to the Spirit, they do not need to be like the world.

Our children have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and they are traveling the covenant path that leads to the temple and will return them to the presence of God. They need us to assure them and exemplify for them that they will be guided, protected, comforted, and purified as they live worthy of the Holy Ghost.

  1. We can teach our sons and daughters that modest appearance and behavior helps protect us from the destructive influences of the world. One of the most deceptive weapons used against all of us is the socially accepted attitude that morality is old-fashioned. Modesty is a defense against such evil influences and a protection of chastity and virtue. Listen to these words in For the Strength of Youth: “Before marriage, … do not do anything … that arouses sexual feelings.”6 Immodest appearance and behavior will often arouse sexual feelings and will break down barriers and invite increased temptation to break the law of chastity.

Elder Hales has taught: “Modesty is at the center of being pure and chaste, both in thought and deed. Thus, because it guides and influences our thoughts, behavior, and decisions, modesty is at the core of our character.”7 Teach and exemplify modesty to help our young men and young women be prepared to defend and protect the procreative powers within them. Help them hold sacred and preserve the expression of love between a husband and wife for marriage.

  1. Modesty enables us to “stand as witnesses of God at all times” (Mosiah 18:9). The Savior taught: “Hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up” (3 Nephi 18:24). We have a divine mandate to be a beacon to the world, to demonstrate the joy of gospel living, to teach righteousness, and to build the kingdom of God on the earth. Each of us reflects the Light of Christ when we are modest and pure and keep the commandments. Modesty is a witness of our testimony of the Savior and of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

How beautiful and how blessed are they who are guided by the Holy Ghost, who protect themselves from worldliness, and who stand as witnesses of God to the world. And blessed are they who exemplify and teach the doctrine of modesty for all the sons and daughters of Zion.

As we have covenanted to follow the Savior and desire to receive the fulness of the blessings of His Atonement in our lives, there is really only one outfit that matters. Moroni records, “Awake, and arise from the dust, … yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; … that the covenants of the Eternal Father … may be fulfilled” (Moroni 10:31; emphasis added).

The beautiful garments are the robes of righteousness, worn by those who have kept their covenants. Are we preparing our children to put on these beautiful garments?

I testify that salvation is in Christ and that those who have kept their covenants will “have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness” (2 Nephi 9:14).

 

Building Character: Champions of Liberty

Building Character, Champions of Liberty

 Character-Education

Ode to the Epic Hero

Epic Hero resize medYour 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.

 

biblicallampThe 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

Epic Heroes Quest—for Youthknightonhorse

 

Epic Heroes in Training

 

Christian Character: Stand for Liberty

Christian Character: It’s Time to Take a Stand for Liberty

Thoughts for Memorial Day:

keyChrist has not called us to be nice but to be good. Nice people never confront evil, but good people do. ~Bryan Fisher

 

soldierrightforpledgeOnly 31 words — Think about it!
Isn’t life strange? I never met one Veteran who enlisted to fight for socialism!

If Muslims can pray on Madison Avenue and the subway areas in Toronto, why are Christians banned from praying in public and from erecting religious displays on their holy days?

What happened to our National Day of Prayer? Muslims are allowed to block off Madison Ave., in N.Y.C., and pray in the middle of the street! And, it’s a monthly ritual!

Tell me, again, whose country is this? Ours or the Muslims?

It is said that 86% of Americans & Canadians believe in God.
 
Therefore, I  have a very hard time understanding why there is such a problem in the U.S. having ‘In God! We Trust’ on their money, and having ‘God’ in their Pledge of Allegiance, or the Lord’s prayer said in our schools or public meetings.

I believe it’s time we stand up for what we believe!

American Character and Truth vs. Obama, Scandal, and Corruption

Wanted: Truth and Good Character

Many Americans are fed up with the lies, scandal, and corruption of the Obama administration, and are weary of the missing character both in the President and in Congress.  The following pictures, circulating throughout the Internet, reflect their frustration.

impeach6huckabee

Impeach1gingrich

impeach3

impeach4const

impeach8incharge

impeach12gay

impeach13princeharry

impeach14reagan

impeach16character

Obama Health Insurance: More Harm than Good

Fallout on Obamacare: Ending the Shutdown notwithstanding, everyone from all walks of life is finding that government-run health insurance is more about lies, corruption and abuse; more about harm than good. It is still socialism, still robs people of their liberty.

 

Senator Ted Cruz has the courage to spell it out.

obamacaresocialismCRUZ:  The deal that has been cut provides no relief to all the young people coming out of school who can’t find a job because of Obamacare.  It provides no relief to all the single parents who have been forced into part-time work, struggling to feed their kids on 29 hours a week.  It provides no relief to all the hardworking families who are facing skyrocketing health insurance premiums, and it provides no relief to all the seniors, to all the people with disabilities who are right now –

CRUZ:  — getting in the mail notifications from their health insurance companies that they’re losing their health insurance because of Obamacare.

CRUZ:  It is my understanding from leadership, it is likely to occur today.  I have no objections to the timing of this vote.  And the reason is simple: There’s nothing to be gained from delaying this vote one day or two days.  The outcome will be the same.  Every Senator, every member of the House is gonna have to make a decision where he or she stands. But there’s no benefit, I’ve never had any intention of delaying the timing of this vote.

CRUZ:  Fifteen thousand UPS employees got a notification in the mail that they were losing spousal coverage, that their husbands and wives were all losing the health insurance that they wanted and they like.  That is happening all over the country.  It’s wrong.  And the focus in my view should not be on the politics of Washington.  The politics of Washington at the end of the day doesn’t matter.  What the focus should be is on making Washington, DC, listen to the American people and respond to the very real harms that Obamacare is causing to millions of people.

RUSH Limbaugh: The Democrat Party and their buds in the media have lied to the American people about Obamacare.  They have purposely kept from them the truth about it, and they are going to learn the truth simply by living their lives and doing what the law requires them to do.  They are going to learn the truth about it from the actual interaction with it, not from hearing somebody tell them about it that they might not believe.

They’re going to encounter the truth by actually coming into contact with it. It’s already starting to happen, and there’s gonna be a price to pay for this, for Obama and his buddies in the Democrats.  I don’t pretend to know what the price is.  But there’s gonna be a price.  They have totally misled people. They’ve totally lied.  They didn’t vet this bill just like they didn’t vet Obama.  They have purposely lied!  People in the media have purposely misled people about what this health care reform bill is.

They have been told it’s free or it’s cheap, that the cost takes $2500 off your premium, that the uninsured are gonna be covered and that everybody’s gonna get treatment, and none of that is true for anywhere near a majority of the people.

 

Gallery

Hillsdale College: Children’s Literature and Good vs. Evil

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Dinner Topics for Friday The Case for Good Taste in Children’s Books Let me close with Saint Paul the Apostle in Philippians 4:8: Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is … Continue reading