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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Spiritual Flight

Spiritual Flight

Inspired by a conversation with a friend a few days ago, I would like to share an analogy and liken our spiritual progress and journey to that of a kite.

Some fear the winds of adversity which blow about and are spiritually content to stay on the ground, complacent with the limited view from the perspective of the world.

Some attempt to take spiritual flight and achieve a measure of limited lift from the ground level, but after rising a certain distance, they either become content with where they are at or  become fearful and want to stay close to what they consider to be the safety of the ground/world level. These halt their progress and are content to rise no further or sometimes retreat back to lower levels where they feel comfortable, with improved but still with partial views.

Some of the limiting fears of these kites may come from fearing that the higher spiritual heights will not only distance them from what they currently know, but that attempting to soar higher will result in a potentially more damaging fall. They may have seen other kites crash before them and instead of having faith to fly, they fear the potential fall.

Others find the spiritual courage and determination to leap heaven ward in faith! They reach for and long for higher Vistas and more glorious views and dream of leaving the world behind them to see things from loftier, heavenly perspectives and planes of reference. They focus not on those who have crashed, but rather those who have been successful in spiritual flight as their examples.

But what is it that allows this successful flight to happen?

It is the tethering string of authorized priesthood covenants, and obedience to His commandments which bind and connect them inseparably to their Master and the guiding strength and grace of His Atonement.

This tethering covenant string is what allows the gusting and changing winds of life not to blow us about, but instead lift us to higher planes. This tethering connection allows them to sense that when winds attempt or blow them temporarily sideways or downward, to correct course under the guiding hands of the Master who controls the string, use repentance to make necessary correction in their orientation and maintain or further increase their lift heavenward.

The Master kite maker holds the strings, but also employs authorized servants (prophets) to offer warnings of coming gusts of wind, or guidance to better orient ourselves so that these winds do not send us crashing downward. He has selected these servants because, although they are normal people like you and me, they have successfully learned how to fly.  The kite-Master has at least temporarily allowed these servants to hold the authorized use of these covenant priesthood strings so that we can relate to and more easily hear the general warning voice and learn the basics of flight.  They also teach us how to better avoid unwanted entanglements, and when we become entangled, how to more easily free and repair ourselves, so we can begin flying again.

The Master places these servants, who have learned to successfully fly already, down on ground level so they can guide and teach the beginners the basics of flying.  He has caused them to write down kite flying instruction manuals (the scriptures) to allow us to study the logistics of flight.

But those who truly learn to fly not only appreciate the instructions of the authorized servants, but also realize that by following their counsel they will better feel and recognize the more personal and individual tugs of the Master on their own kite strings.  They realize that there is light and truth above the fog and cares of the world, which cannot be seen from lower heights and frames of reference.

There are dangers to spiritual flight, however.  Sadly, when some who take flight begin to reach these higher planes and perspectives, they falsely assume that they can fly on their own.

They erroneously think they can control or are above the winds and lose trust in those authorized servants they feel are operating down at ground level, and they sever the covenant strings which tether them securely to the power of the Master Kite Maker.

Once they become separated from the authorized priesthood and covenant tether, they are at the mercy of the changing winds and they began to be blown about, drift away and eventually fall in uncontrolled descent to a crashing end, often without even realizing it is happening.

But the Master mercifully and constantly calls to us all, individually and personally, to leap forward with faith to come join Him in His heavenly views where He can teach us personally of His ways, which are far loftier, transcendent and more glorious than the limited perspective of the ground level.  For there is joy, peace and clarity to be found in these loftier heights and perspectives.

When we falter and experience falls, which every single one of us does, and even to those who have severed their strings and broken their kites, He is always there to offer loving repair of our broken and bruised parts. His call is and always will be, "Come out, Come Up, Come unto Me."

Brothers and Sisters, may we have the faith and courage to heed the Master's call and leap heavenward, but remain tenaciously tethered through repentance, faith and obedience to the priesthood and covenant strings which binds us to the lifting love, grace and power of the Master!

May God bless us in our flying lessons!

Sunday, February 4, 2018



I remember an event several years ago, when my wife and I were participating in a run/walk for cancer awareness to support my sister-in-law, who thankfully was among the ‘survivor’ group.  In those days I had better knees without so much mileage on them, and my work schedule allowed me to exercise regularly, and I was in pretty good shape.

My dear Sister-in-law Kami is on the far right.  Glad she is still with us!!!

During this event, while my wife and others walked along together, I wanted to run the 5K distance with some of the other participants up in the front.  As the race started, I took off at my usual pace and realized that I was nowhere near as talented of a runner as many of those around me.  But up ahead in the field of runners was a guy running with a pink Mohawk.

Now I know nothing of that man or who he was.  He was probably just a normal guy who he had cut and dyed his hair to run in honor of of someone at the event, (much like I was wearing a shirt in honor of my sister-in-law, with pink letters which said, "Kami's TATA Sisterhood").  And it was nothing personal against him or his haircut, but something clicked inside me, and I determined that no matter what levels of physical reserve it took, I was going to beat the pink Mohawk!  The hair simply became the goal or something to focus my motivation upon.

I kept him in my sites, gradually reeled in the distance between us, and then eventually passed him and sprinted through to the finish line ahead of him for at least the last quarter mile.  While my time was nothing stellar, for a bubba like me, it was my fastest time in years, at around or just under 24 minutes.

But my thoughts today don’t really have anything to do with my extremely limited abilities as a runner, but rather, WHAT MOTIVATES US IN LIFE TO DO THE THINGS WE DO?

And why is it important to examine and determine our motivations?

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7)

There are countless reasons we are motivated to do different things:

FEAR can be a motivating factor at times to increase our performance levels.

This can include fear of being punished for doing something wrong.  Fear of being caught, which causes us to manipulate and cover up our tracks in a futile attempt to hide the truth.  Fear of how we will be seen by others, and the list goes on.

MONEY can be a motivating factor for some.

While money is not inherently bad in and of itself, it is what we are motivated and focus on in regards to that money which makes the difference.

Are we motivated to obtain money so that we can be self-sufficient and help take care of the needs of others?  Certainly the parable of the Good Samaritan is made more meaningful, because the caregiver not only had good intentions, but also had the means to provide relief to the man who had fallen among thieves and left by the wayside.

Or are we motivated to gain money to obtain material things and possessions which truly have no lasting value?

Or are we motivated to gain money to wield power, authority and influence over other people?

So while money is in no way a bad thing in and of itself the motivation behind why we seek it IS of importance.  For example, if the obtaining of money or wealth comes through fraudulent activity and dishonesty, and requires the sacrifice of personal integrity, then how much good can come of it?

While on the other hand, if financial success is achieved through honest, hard work and ingenuity, with a motivation to provide meaningful employment to others, provide relief to the suffering and less fortunate, or other noble ends, then vast amounts of good can come of it.

"But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.  And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good - to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted."  JACOB 2:18-19

NEEDING TO BE RIGHT, or at least think we are right, is another reason which motivates some people’s actions and interactions with others.  This can easily lead to anger and conflict.

Consider the following thoughts about such motivation:

Another anonymous author said, "We errantly learn to be right and make others wrong. The need to be right is the result of trying to protect the image we want to project to the outside.  We try to impose our way of thinking, not only upon others, but also upon ourselves."

NEEDING TO BE SEEN, VALIDATED OR RECOGNIZED BY OTHERS is another motivating factor for some people.

Receiving recognition for a job well done in not a bad thing, as this can often set a positive example and role models for others to emulate to improve themselves.

But if the motivation in our hearts behind why we are doing things is to receive the public accolades and honors of men, then we are missing out on the true value and eternal worth of who we are by making it dependent upon what others think of us.

"Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen.  And why are they not chosen?  Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men." (D&C 121;34-35)

Just consider how such motivation reveals about us.  To do things only because it brings recognition from others, is like going back to grade school locker room or playground again, where our happiness is only dictated by the fickle clicks and what is deemed ‘cool’ and popular at the time.  Society can’t even stay stable in what words they use to describe such things: “cool, hot, rad, wicked, totally awesome, dope…” or whatever the new thing is at that moment, while the old is now outdated and irrelevant.

Do you really want your worth being determined by such instability?

Instead, there are not only Good reasons to be motivated and find self-worth, but also reasons which are Better and Best, when compared to others.

Sometimes we’re motivated not by fear, or for recognition, but only because we are asked to do something by others, but not because of our own volition.  While this is good or perhaps even better, it still leaves something lacking, because the motivation is coming from others and not from within ourselves – therefore we cannot truly take ownership of it.

Even a good thing, like working to provide for your family, spending time with family or even going to church, can be done for the wrong reasons if we are not careful.  Consider the following remarks by Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

     “Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in viewing television, playing video games, surfing the Internet, or reading books or magazines. Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.
      Some of our most important choices concern family activities. Many breadwinners worry that their occupations leave too little time for their families. There is no easy formula for that contest of priorities. However, I have never known of a man who looked back on his working life and said, “I just didn’t spend enough time with my job.”
      In choosing how we spend time as a family, we should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best. A friend took his young family on a series of summer vacation trips, including visits to memorable historic sites. At the end of the summer he asked his teenage son which of these good summer activities he enjoyed most. The father learned from the reply, and so did those he told of it. “The thing I liked best this summer,” the boy replied, “was the night you and I laid on the lawn and looked at the stars and talked.” Super family activities may be good for children, but they are not always better than one-on-one time with a loving parent.
      Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.
      It is good to belong to our Father in Heaven’s true Church and to keep all of His commandments and fulfill all of our duties. But if this is to qualify as “best,” it should be done with love and without arrogance. We should, as we sing in a great hymn, “crown our good with brotherhood,” showing love and concern for all whom our lives affect.”

What is by far the BEST motivation behind why we do things, is because WE ARE INSPIRED FROM WITHIN OUR OWN HEARTS TO ACT OUT OF LOVE AND CONCERN FOR THE WELFARE OF OTHERS!

So while this isn’t meant to be a conversation about what is right and wrong, hopefully it will at least serve to help us consider the motivation behind why we are doing what we are doing each day.  And I think it is important because the shallowness or depth of our worth and happiness will be determined by that internal motivation.

And when that motivation is not only based upon love and concern for others, but also primarily includes our love for God and our realization of our true relationship with Him, then we will have discovered the true nature and purpose of life itself!

Friday, January 12, 2018

My Wife Just Left Me – And it’s a Good Thing!

My Wife Just Left Me – And it’s a Good Thing!

Earlier this afternoon, my wife left her wedding ring on her dresser, packed a travel bag, stopped by the bank and withdrew some money, and then hopped on a plane to Las Vegas and left me!  And as she walked away I thought, “It’s a good thing!”

Now before you get too excited at that intro, let me explain!

It’s only for a few days, and she accidentally left her wedding ring at home because she took it off to rub some lotion on her hands as she was packing her bags.  And the reason she hopped a plane to Las Vegas was to help our daughter in law with our two young grandchildren while our son is out of town on a business trip.

And if we are counting up the score of her leaving me, we might as well throw in all the times she has:
·         Left me to go take a meal to someone who was ill in our neighborhood.
·         Left me to go visit a lonely widow neighbor.
·         Left me to go provide assistance to a friend who needed someone to listen.
·         Left me to go teach and inspire some of the teenage girls in our local church congregation.
·         And countless other times she has left me… All for completely good reasons!

So, yeah, she is pretty experienced at leaving me… and many times, I am blessed when she actually takes me along for the occasion.

What got me thinking about it this evening as I am sitting her alone in my home, is the concept of how important it is to think outside of our own personal needs, wants, desires and agendas… to actually consider the needs of others and what we can do to help them.

The concept of service to others boils down to the Old Golden Rule: “DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE DONE UNTO YOU.”

But meaningful service goes even beyond the actual acts performed if we want it to really make a difference.  I mean, I am sure we have all done something to help someone else, but done so begrudgingly or dragging our heals inside our hearts.  But we do it anyway because of what others may think or only because it is expected of us and we don’t want to have to deal with the backlash or guilt of not doing it.

But if you add on top of or as a motivating source behind that service, the power of compassion, genuine concern, and love for those you are helping, then a truly remarkable thing happens.  The person benefitting from our actions feels the power behind it, and WE ALSO benefit by the change that happens within our own hearts and souls.

The prophet Moroni so wonderfully stated, “… except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.  For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.” (Moroni 7:6-7)

But when we look beyond our own selfish needs and desires and recognize those plentiful opportunities to help lift, inspire, assist and mend the broken hearts and lives of others because we truly look upon them with compassion and love in our heart, then the God-given power of Charity comes into play in our lives.

Now by using the word “Charity” I am not talking about giving a monetary donation to a charitable organization (although there is nothing wrong with that form of giving), but what I am talking about is Christ-like love, or as the scriptures define Charity – “The Pure Love of Christ”.

If you had to look at it like a math equation in its simplest form it would be:


Or another way to define it would be “the action of love.”

And if we want to go straight to the source of all love and goodness, and find out what the Master has to say about this topic, we read in John 13:34-35

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

Now by suggesting all of this, I am not saying you should just abandon your responsibilities in your own home or neglect your spouse or your own children.  Your first priority should always be to your own spouse and family above all else.  But lets be honest – with all the time we waste on trivial and meaningless things each day (come on admit it, we are all guilty of it), then at least a portion of that time could and should be spent in looking outside of our selfish interests in order to be of benefit to others around us.   And what better lesson could you teach your children then the example of selfless charity to help them become better individuals?

Of course we are all imperfect individuals, and we aren’t expected to do everything for everybody all the time.  So don’t go putting that kind of burden on yourself.  But if you want to know how to feel better about yourself and have more joy in your life, then start by spending some time on your knees and asking the Lord what He would have you do to help those around you…. And then sit and listen… and pay attention to the whisperings that come to your mind about calling a friend, or asking someone for forgiveness, or going to visit someone you haven’t seen in a while.

And as you begin to become aware of those promptings, your eyes will also begin to be opened to the needs of others your cross paths with each and every day – like the lady having trouble reaching something on the shelf at the grocery store, or the discouraged classmate at school who is having a bad day and needs a smile and a friendly reminder that things are going to be alright, and the list goes on and on.

I know it seems like as just one person, “just little old me”, what kind of difference can I really make in the world with my meager efforts?  The truth is ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!

Consider the profound truth offered by the wizard Gandalf in the fictional “Hobbit” story.

Indeed, it is the small acts of love and kindness of ordinary folks which holds the powers of darkness at bay!

And consider these prophetic words and promises found in Moroni, chapter 7:
“45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”

And if in stepping outside yourself and leaving behind the comforts of your own home and even your husband (as in my case tonight) is what you need to do to help someone in need, then blessings are bound to come from it.

And in my wife’s case, some of those priceless blessings have kissable chubby cheeks and smiles!

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Kind of Resolution That Really Matters

The Kind of Resolution That Really Matters

So it’s now a few days after New Years and I have a question for you – How are you doing on your resolutions?

The definition of Resolution is: “A firm decision to do or not to do something.”

It seems to be pretty common for people to make New Year’s resolutions about all kinds of things: Losing weight, making more money, exercising more regularly, taking a dream vacation, and the list goes on and on.

It’s also pretty common that within a few weeks of proclaiming those drastic changes in our lives, that we have fallen back into our old habits once again, and the internal fortitude which seemed so sure on New Year’s Day is now faded into the reality of returning to the post-holiday grind of life.

But the kind of resolution I am talking about, has nothing to do with these kinds of things.  The kind of resolution I am referring to is the kind you talk about when using a camera or developing a picture, and has to do with, in basic terms, the quality of the image.  Or in other words, as the resolution goes up, the image becomes more clear, sharper, more defined and more detailed.

And why is that?  It’s because there is more information included in the same amount of space.

But my thoughts today don’t really have anything to do with photography or taking pictures… but instead about the resolution with which we see life around us.

So how do we see life more clearly, with improved quality, more sharpness and true definition of the details?  How do we fit more clarity and detail into the same space of 24 hours in a day?

Might I suggest, even though I am not talking about pictures, that it has everything to do with image and the lens through which we see it.

What I am talking about is: (and this is just a quick, incomplete list)
  • A true perception of right and wrong.
  • Being able to see the true worth of ourselves and others around us as children of a loving God who wants us to return to Him.
  • Being able to recognize the needs of others we cross paths with each day and how best we can really help them.
  • Seeing clearly that honesty and integrity are more important than gaining a few extra dollars in our bank accounts.
  • Understanding the needs of family members and our role in their lives to lift them, strengthen them, and assist them through the challenges of life.
  • Having detailed awareness of our own flaws and imperfections and what we need to do to correct them and why we need to make the effort to do so.
  • AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – Understanding our relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ and how to apply His Grace and love in our lives in ways that lastingly change us in remarkable ways forever.  Because He is the lens through which we can see life clearly as it is meant to be seen.

  • Picture by Simon Dewey

"And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.  That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.   And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you." (D&C 50:23-25)

And how is this type of improved resolution achieved? (Here are just a few possible answers)

  • Sincere and heartfelt, regular prayers.
  • Study and pondering upon the word of God and His prophets found in the Holy Scriptures.
  • Unplugging from the world and taking time to be with God through quiet Meditation.
  • Thinking less of ourselves and getting out and serving others (starting within our own marriages and families)
  • Repenting quickly and frequently when we recognize we have done something wrong.
  • Forgiving others quickly and completely, just as we would hope to be forgiven if the shoe was on the other foot.
  • Recognizing our dependence upon the Lord for His guidance and direction.
  • Being quick to act upon His guidance when it is given to us (without doubt, debate or delay)

These are just a few ideas to help shift your perspective, provide some initial clarity and sharpen your resolution about what life is really about.

And the most remarkable thing about this kind of resolution, is that when you do so, the other kinds of changes and improvements you need to make in your life tend to begin to happen naturally and with far less effort. And those things which are meaningless sort of fall off to the wayside where they belong.

Here’s to a wonderful New Year, full of True Resolution!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Windshield Wipers for the Soul

Windshield Wipers for the Soul

            Several weeks ago I was driving to work in the morning and a very light misty rain was falling.  It was so fine that I didn’t even feel the need to turn on my windshield wipers for several minutes.  But as I got about 3 miles down the road and began to pass through a small neighboring town, I realized how that fine mist had now grown into gradually larger droplets which now altered my view, causing me to turn on my windshield wipers.

            This got me thinking.  Have you noticed how easily it is to have our senses dulled and lulled to sleep over time in such a gradual way that it is essentially imperceptible until something drastic causes us to realize what we have been missing?

            For example, years ago, when my family and I were walking through a large parking lot towards a movie theater, either my wife or one of my sons handed me their glasses temporarily so they could do something with their hands.  I had very good vision and never had any type of glasses or contact lenses in my life, but as a joke, I put them on to see if my kids thought they made me look smarter.  And a miraculous thing happened… I could suddenly see!  I had always thought I could see just fine, but once I  put on those glasses I could suddenly see, with incredible clarity, all the details and crispness of things I had never know I had been missing… for how many years now, without even knowing it?

            These memories were jolted into my mind today by another unsettling incidence which happened while I was running an errand in town.  My wife was out of town today, so I had decided to go catch a matinee to pass some time.  As I pulled up in the large theater parking lot in, right there in good old Rexburg, I noticed as reached over into the passenger seat to grab something, that in the car parked right next to me, a young couple was engaging in an open act of fornication in the reclined passenger seat of their small car, right there out in the openness of the public parking lot!

            Stunned, I quickly looked away in shock.  In a state of disbelief I sat there staring straight ahead for a moment, when I witnessed another site.  Directly in front of me across the aisle of cars a minivan pulled up with a CTR bumper sticker and a young husband jumped out and ran around to open the door for his wife. They both then ensued to help their two young beautiful children out of the car and holding hands began walking towards the theater.

            The contrast of these two complete opposites happening simultaneously right in front of me couldn’t have been any more clear.  As I got out of my car I gave a sharp blast on my horn, resulting in some flailing arms and legs in the car next door, but I didn’t care to look and simply walked away, pondering upon the situation, which seemed connected in my mind to my episode in the rain and with the borrowed glasses mentioned above.

            The married couple with the two children now entering the theater ahead of me were smiling and laughing and genuinely happy.  Their obvious choices to enter into a relationship through the bonds of marriage had resulted in a type of lasting love, peace and happiness, which was starkly different than the lustful, selfish act which had been taking place behind me.  What was the difference?  How had one couple chosen a path of real happiness and deep, abiding, meaningful love, while another had been tricked into thinking that a brief satisfaction of their desires would result in anything good at all?

            To carry out the original analogies, I guess we could say that such mistakes are made because we fail to turn on our spiritual wipers as often as we should.  As we try to journey through this life and its mists of darkness, our spiritual vision begins to gather particles of sin which, like mist on a windshield, begin to could our view without our even knowing it.  If we are not careful, we begin to adjust to this failing vision, much like I had those years ago, thinking that my vision was just fine.  We literally cannot see what we are missing and cannot clearly make the appropriate, clear choices as a result.  Each of us is guilty of this to some degree or another.

           "Satan seeketh to turn their hearts away from the truth, that they become blinded and understand not the things which are prepared for them." (D&C 78:10)

            After my matinee, as I began returning to my vehicle, the same car was still parked there beside mine, but now with no occupants.  I shook my head with sadness over the event, and wondered what the couple was now feeling now somewhere inside the theater.  Were they having any remorse for what had happened or were they still ignorantly unaware of what true love really means, and what it takes to actually achieve it?

            As I pondered these thoughts while approaching my car, I also noticed the shiny, clean and polished pickup truck parked next to my car, which I realized was covered with a fine layer of muddy film.  I either hadn’t really noticed this before until it came in comparison to the well-detailed truck at its side or I had chosen to ignore that the muck had been forming for some time, and had simply become accustomed enough to it, that it didn’t bother me.  I left the theater and drove straight to a nearby car wash as I pondered over all these things.

            As my car went approached the wash, several young men surrounded me and pre-scrubbed with brushes before I continued on through the washing and scrubbing cycle, and as I thought back about the misting rain being swept away by my wipers, I considered something else.

            As we go through life, even when and if we notice the film and muck of life accumulating on us, or that our ability to see clearly has been gradually impeded, there is nothing we can do about it from inside of the car.  It takes an outside cleansing force to wipe clean the filth we have accumulated.  But we have to be the ones that choose to turn on the wipers from within or drive the car to the wash.

            In this life, we are the drivers of our own destiny.  We are the ones behind the wheels of life which carry us along.  No matter how shiny and clean we desire to be, travel through life accumulated dust, dirt, film and misting curtains of obscurity.  And there is only one source to which we can go to become clean.  We must activate the cleansing wipers of the soul called repentance.  And the more often we realize and turn those wipers on, the quicker our vision will become clearer and allow us to stay on the right path.

            Sometimes the filth become so thick that deep and more rigorous cleansing is needed.  The scrub brushes need to come out, and sometimes, like those young men pre-washing my care, we need the help of others, such as friends, family members or ecclesiastical leaders to prepare us to better to approach the Lord from a proper frame of mind to receive the full benefits of His healing and purifying atonement.

            But forgiveness, clarity of vision, and spiritual cleansing doesn’t happen on its own.  We can’t simply say that stopping driving through the mud will somehow make us clean or think that the droplets of rain on our windshields will suddenly evaporate.  We have to ACT to turn on the switch and make the appropriate turns of the steering wheel that will take us to where the cleansing powers are offered.

            Repentance is not a passive process, but an active change in the nature of our hearts and minds.  We must ask Him for the ability to see as He sees.  He is with wiper which then clears away the film to show us a more clear reality to what is around us.  The essence of repentance is a change of the mind.  It means a willingness to give up our own flawed ideas and instead develop the mind of Christ, and through His eyes see the world clearly, to have a different frame of true reference in His revealing light.

It is this changing of the heart and mind which then allows us to truly change our behavior in any lasting manner.

            And even once our hearts and behavior change, we still need help to become cleansed from the filth we have already previously accumulated.  And just like going frequently through the wash or turning the wipers up to a higher more frequent speed when the rain is falling, the more often we repent, turn ourselves in the proper direction, and become clean through the power of His atonement, the more clearly we will navigate the roads ahead.

            And the even greater news is that even for those who may have strayed and crashed their spiritual vehicles off into the ditches of life, like that couple next to me at the parking lot, cleanliness is still possible through the Love and Healing Powers of Jesus Christ!  No matter what others may think or the accusing stones of judgment we sometimes even throw at ourselves, there is always a way back and a way to become clean, forgiven and get a fresh start once again!  The devil would have us believe that all is lost and so what's the use in trying, but that simply isn't true and the biggest deception of all in his arsenal.  The Lord always desires us to come to Him and ask for His healing assistance.

            But it takes a willingness to want to change the way we view things.  It takes a desire to put aside our own selfish, flawed and obstructed views of what we think is acceptable, and instead to be willing to see things in the light of His truth.  And if we are willing to do so, He is always there with arms open wide and willing to accept us, heal us, and make us whole once again!