Tag Archives: Jesus

When You List Your Personal Strengths, Are You Remembering This One?

unspecifiedWe really, really look forward to Mondays. That’s “Email Day” around here. Each week I update our missionary-son, Landon, on our lives and share a short gospel principle that’s, hopefully, encouraging. I also ask him three to five questions about himself and his mission experience.

Last week one of my questions invited him to list some of the strengths, gifts, or talents he’s noticing he is developing. I thought I’d hear him talk about some newfound courage or ability to love others or a developed work-ethic. His answer (and what follows is all he wrote about it) caught me a little off guard:

“I think I’ve just realized my weak spots right now. I have noticed that now when things get rough the first thing I do is turn to the Lord. Which if you count Him as my strength, I guess there’s one.” (Elder Mickelson, January 2017)

Each of us possess talents and talents-in-embryo. We each have strengths and gifts. But when we’re in a covenant relationship with the Savior, He becomes our greatest Gift. Many of us take courage when approaching a challenge when we’re reminded of some gift that will give us an advantage in the sticky situation. But, doesn’t having the Savior as our Advocate, Redeemer, and Savior give us the ultimate advantage in mortality.

The next time you are facing a problem, remember to list all of your gifts, especially the ultimate Gift. He is our greatest source of strength…

Be Encouraging…



She Wasn’t the Only One Who Touched the Savior’s Robe…

Notice how narrow the streets of Jerusalem are in the older parts of the city. And since many of the streets in the ancient parts of town haven’t shrunk, it makes sense that the streets in the Savior’s time would’ve been quite narrow as well. My guess is, walking up and down these streets would’ve been a pretty intimate experience.


Had you lived in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, you would’ve bumped into others often as you travelled through the winding streets of town. Your shoulders would have jostled people’s carts or you would’ve mistakenly stepped on someone’s sandals. Surely you side-stepped people or brushed up against them and their belongings regularly.

And that idea begs a question: Was the woman with an “issue of blood twelve years” and who reached out to touch the Savior’s clothes as he passed by the only person to touch his clothes that day? If so, why weren’t more people healed that day?

Short answer: Of course she wasn’t the only person to touch Jesus that day. Many people brushed up against the Savior and His clothing before and after she did. Most didn’t even realize that had touched Him. He may not have known that He had been touched by the others. But He knew that she had touched Him.

So, if touching his clothes healed the woman, why weren’t others healed that day as well? Short answer, again: Intention. Faith. Purpose. The woman who was healed touched the Savior as an act of faith. She intentionally reached for Him. She acted in faith and with purpose.

Thousands of people read the scriptures each day, but only a small percentage are “healed”. Countless people will pray this evening, but only a small percentage will be “healed” as a result. Many members of the LDS Church will partake of the sacrament on the upcoming Sabbath but only a small number will feel the cleansing power of the Atonement as part of that sacred ordinance. Many will look like they follow the Savior today, but only a handful of them will reap the blessings of obedience and love. Why? Because only a few will do these things on purpose and with intention.

Principle: When we act in faith with purpose and intention God can bless us in healing, powerful ways. When we go about our day with little intention or purpose, going through the motions, as it were, we miss connecting with Heaven. There is a difference between brushing up against the Savior because the streets are narrow and reaching out to Him with purpose, faith, and intention to obtain needed blessings.

So, today, look up and reach out in faith.

As always, be encouraging…



Ebola: Proof There is No God?

140802-kent-brantly-10a_bf22241c5e66a2193459a750131e1f76A friend of mine recently posted a story from the web reporting two things: First, that Dr. Kent Brantley, a physician who recovered after being infected with the Ebola virus, gave God the credit for his recovery, and that, secondly, people shouldn’t believe in a God that saves one person from Ebola but allows 1200 other people to die from Ebola (because, as the story states, what kind of God would do that?).

I think there is some error in that reasoning. Here are a few points that are at least worth pondering even if you’re not inclined to believe them:

1. If a real, loving, compassionate God never let people die, that would make for kind of an odd earth experience. There would be a lot of people per square mile. A lot of old people per square mile. A lot of people who would be three and four hundred years old.

2. In articles like the one referred to above, death is seen as bad, and God doesn’t allow bad things to happen to good people. I realize that the death of a loved one causes us to be understandably sad, but I don’t think anyone is sad that a person who has died has the chance to move forward in God’s plan of salvation. We’re sad because we will miss the deceased loved one. When my grandmother passed away, there was a big part of me that was excited for her to see grandpa, to see the son she lost during the Korean War, to be able to see more clearly and walk more easily. The last decade of her life was much harder than the first eight. Death was a progression in the plan and a happy moment for her I’m sure.

3. Death isn’t a heaven-sent judgement that you’ve become unusable to the Lord in life, therefor He stopped keeping you alive. Lazarus was brought back from the dead, but I think that everyone realizes that Lazarus also died some time later. There seemed to be some real blessings that came from Lazarus’ return to our world four days after his death, but I don’t think that Lazarus’ eventual death some years later proves that God forgot about him and his family or ignored him or ran out of use for him. And I’d bet that when Lazarus died and wasn’t brought back, there were loved ones who prayed for another miracle but had to let go of Lazarus this time.

4. If God allowing some to live and others to die is some kind of proof of his non-existence or non-interest in us, how would one explain the Savior’s earlier departure from this world? Surely people prayed that He wouldn’t die….But as their understanding grew, so would their acceptance that Jesus’ death wasn’t proof of an unloving God…in fact, quite the opposite was (is) true…

5. Having a trial-filled life isn’t proof of an unloving or non-existing God. Having a trial-filled life is proof that you are mortal and that there is testing of the highest order happening in mortality. I don’t suppose there is any scriptural proof that God has to treat everyone exactly the same, and give each person what they want, in order to exist and love His children.

6. In light of the fact that we lived as spirit children of Heavenly Parents for a long time and that we will live eternally (and that is a long time), I imagine that once we’re deceased, we will be able to look back on this life and see how relatively short it really was. Any suffering that we experienced (and we all will have experienced a lot of it) will fade quickly in light of our eternal natures.

Let me end this way: We have a Heavenly Father who loves us. We have a Savior who loves us. When a loved one passes away, whether from Ebola as a ten year old or from cancer at an old age, they have the chance to move forward toward more learning, more light, and an eventual resurrection and reuniting with those they love. Those assured blessings are proof to me of a loving, guiding, providing Heavenly Father who I can trust…

For more information on this subject, explained much better than I can, please read this

Be Encouraging…


PS… you may disagree, but please do it respectfully…

Jesus, My Mother, and Being Someone’s “Umbrella”…

I was wandering around Elaine Dalton’s Pinterest boards and found this:


Be someone’s umbrella…

I hope you can see it sufficiently to read some of the words, especially the bottom where it says, “Be someone’s umbrella today”…

I’m not going to go on and on about how hard life is, how negative mortality can be, how unfair our days seem, etc. We all get it. What I don’t always get is that I can be somewhat protective for someone else when they’re struggling. The ultimate example was, of course, the Savior. In Acts, Luke reports this about Jesus:

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)

The famous part of the verse is the part describing Jesus “doing good.” Right behind comes a wonderful line: “…and healing all that were oppressed…” Think of the rain that was shielded by Jesus’ efforts to do good and heal. He did it with His hands, words, example, power, priesthood, and very being.


Years ago I did a stupid thing. I won’t describe the thing I did or who I did it to. I still feel bad about it, and it really was years ago. I was caught, and busted, and the sentence was to clean up the mess I had made. I felt awful and stupid and very embarrassed while I was on my knees, scrubbing the poor choice off of the property of the family that had been the victim. I felt especially dumb because my mom and the other mom were standing there watching me work. That was lame (I wasn’t a particularly good worker). At one point in their conversation, the other mom started to say something along these lines: “No matter how hard your try as a parent, your children are going to do some bad things…”. She wasn’t being mean-spirited and I knew she liked me. I had spent a lot of time in their home and she was a great mom. She was right, in fact. I really had done a dumb thing even in the face of what my parents had taught.

I still felt bad. Not because of what that mom had said but because I had probably embarrassed my parents and let them down. As I was kneeling there, scrubbing and feeling bad, I heard my mom say, fairly firmly, “My son is a great young man. He may have made a poor choice, but he’s a great son.”

I kept scrubbing, but it would be an understatement to say that I felt better. I kind of felt like crying that kind of cry you cry when you are very relieved*. I felt so relieved that my mother was still proud of me. Things were going to be fine. I just needed to keep scrubbing and make better choices…


So, today, there has to be something you can do for, say to, or even think about someone that can be umbrella-like. And, if needed, duck under someone’s umbrella if they offer it. No one likes feeling soaked…

Be encouraging…


*Let the record state, I didn’t cry. Pretty tough guy, right?

These views are personal, and are not the official views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...