He is not here for, He is Risen

What a powerful principle, to know that He is risen from the dead and thus making it possible for all man to rise again.  The simplicity yet the power of the statement is amazing. It says volumes in just a few words.  I know that He is Risen and that we too will rise again!

Matthew 28: 5-6

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

We cannot live on “borrowed light”

The parable of the ten virgins is so very powerful to me as there is such a deeper meaning than what you may initially perceive. We cannot wait until the end to “fill our lamps”, as I raise my family, I try so hard to express the importance of this principle and let them know that we as parents will not always be there to lean on.  As much as I would love to give them my testimony it is not possible, they have to establish their own testimonies, their own oil so to speak.  We each must fill and continually fill our lamps by living the gospel and becoming what we learn and teach.  We never know when we will be called upon to stand strong in the storm.

Matthew 25:1-13

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

A new commandment I give unto you…

I was touched and learned a lot more from the powerful parables that the Savior taught, including the commandment to love one another. It is much easier to love someone who you know loves you, but to love someone who may actually hate you or mock you is very difficult.  It is even more difficult when they outwardly express they do not want you to love or care about them.  Yet it is essential for us to do this in order to be worthy to enter the kingdom of God.
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thyneighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour?

What would you do if you were placed in a situation where you had the opportunity to help another in need? Would you pass them by or would you stop and drop what you were doing and help? I would hope that I would be found among those that would be lending a helping hand rather that try and fool myself into thinking that my agenda was more important than what the Lord had in mind for me. If we are to be true neighbors, we will be required to step out of our comfort zone and help anyone in need not just our family or friends or those we already care about.

Being a good Samaritan is not about just doing what is right and being kind to those that are kind to us, it requires that we perform acts of service to all people even those who are not of our faith or of our friendship circle.

“Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” Luke 15:28-32

It is my personal challenge that I will always go and do likewise as the Lord counseled us to do.

Lose your life and you will save it

I have always loved the principle of losing our lives to save them, but this week particularly I was impressed when the Savior asked, “…what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26 It hit me hard, we work so hard for things in this life and try to convince ourselves that we have things of value, but in the end we can’t trade wealth or a car for our salvation, yet we spend our entire lives trying to make ourselves happy by attaining these things.

Thus we see that if we are to gain anything in this life we must give. Give our lives in the service of others, share the talents the Lord has blessed us with to all those we come  in contact with.  This change doesn’t happen over night it comes as we become the person we are emulating, by changing our actions we change out lives.  What a great truth to live by every day of our lives, stop thinking about how can I become a better person, just start acting like the person you would like to be and you will eventually become something much greater than you could have f you had spent all your time focusing on your own problems.

Moments that take your breath away

Today was an amazing day! Much bigger and better than I could have ever imagined.  The build up started last night when Lex, Lily and Olivia were practicing there song for JT's baptism.  They sang the song, "Gethsemane", they sounded to me like angels from heaven.  I may be partial but it was very touching to me to hear my 3 daughters singing in harmony for their little brother.  This morning we awoke early to JT's excitement, he was so excited he actually slept on our floor.  He ran around the house singing and screaming with excitement.  JT asked Mason to baptize him and for me to confirm him.  That made it even more special, to see them both preparing themselves both mentally and spiritually for the big day was a real treat.  Before we left for the church the 3 of us knelt and prayed, I let them know that as a missionary you always pray before leaving the the apartment and in preparation to perform sacred ordinances.  This was a very powerful moment we all felt the power of the spirit prepare our minds and hearts for the upcoming sacred baptism.

During the opening meeting in the chapel we met with all the youth in our stake who were being baptized, there were only 3 total so it was very quaint and personal.  Tyler our friend and renter spoke on the importance of baptism and the power of the Holy Ghost, it was spot on for the excited youth being baptized.  We each took turns going into the RS room where the font was located.  We were fortunate enough to be the last ward, this was special because it allowed us to stay after the baptism while JT and Mason changed their clothes.  When Mason and JT entered the font the spirit was very string and it felt as if we were in a different realm for a moment.  Mason spoke with power and confidence as he said the baptismal prayer, and gracefully and lovingly he baptized his younger brother.

We then quickly helped JT change into dry clothes, as Mason changed as well. Lily provided some thoughtful music for the family while they waited. Bishop Andrews conducted the meeting as we confirmed JT with with all of the Parker Uncles, both Grandpa's, Brad, Tyler, and Casey standing in the circle.  I was the mouth piece and the spirit flowed though me to bless JT, this was one of the most powerful blessing I have ever experienced and I contribute a lot of this to our preparation with prayer before we left home.

Lex, Lily, and Olivia then sang the song, "Gethsemane" with Jodi at the piano.  This was so tender and touching to me, they sang so beautifully and so personally to JT the spirit was very strong once again in the room.  Bishop asked for Jodi to share her testimony, she shared a very personal message with us all, reminding us that on this very day 33 years ago she was baptized.  She is a wonderful friend, wife and mother in our family.  Bishop took a few minutes to welcome JT to the ward and let us know he is the only baptism this year in our ward.  He put a climbing harness on JT and instructed that it is time to "Climb On", the harness is like the Holy Ghost and it will keep you safe as you go through life.  It will also help guide you back to the path up the mountain, he did a great job of making the comparison and the importance of being protected by the Spirit.

Lunchtime, we had a great lunch in our gym with food provided by friends and family.  This is where I chose to share the baptism video we made for JT, it was so fun to watch JT as he watched himself in the video.  I thought to myself this is a great day, but it was just beginning.  We were able to go and watch Olivia perform her dance routines in a local dance recital.  She looks like she is having so much fun when she dances, makes all the driving her to practice worth the effort.

Round 3, with Lex getting her call she chose to take out her endowments today as well.  I had no idea how awesome this would be, I remember well my first visit to the Temple, it was a very special day for me but I didn't realize how special it was for the parents and others.  With the Idaho Falls Temple being closed for renovation, we have at least twice the visitors as usual so we had to to get to the Temple early to make sure we could get into the session.  Since we had some extra time we chose to do some initiatory work,  Myself, Dad, Brad, and Grandpa Baldwin did this while Jodi, Mom, Amy and Grandma Baldwin helped Lex do her own initiatory work.  This was a great refresher since we don;t do this very often, the blessings that lie in store are amazing.  It was neat to have one of my professors and "Beehive Bob" working in this area and helping us to get the work done.  This was all great but there was better to come, when I walked into the room and saw Lex and Jodi sitting there in preparation for our session it was breathe taking, I was overcome with so many emotions at one time, Joy, Relief, Peace, Love, just to name a few.  The spirit felt there in that room was intense, I could feel the presence of Michele, Grandpa and Grandma Parker and Sperry, Dot and Everett, Josh Strobel, Elder Taylor and so many more it was amazing to say it mild.  I just keep thinking to myself this is a fullness of joy, this is the climax, this is what it is all about.  There were many other events that took place that I am not able to write because of the sacredness of them, it was simly an astonishing feeling and so very powerful to experience.  I wept several times during the session and felt so many great feelings, to see all my siblings and my wife and daughter in the celestial room was priceless!  Makes it worth every challenge we have to overcome, every effort put forth to make the last 19 years lead up to this were all paid back tonight in this very special event. John said it well in 3 John 1:4 – "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."  What a day!  I feel that today I have experienced a small glimpse of Eternal Life and it was so sweet,  I wish I could convey my feelings of this day better, but just know that days like in my life this can be counted on one hand, they are so very very special.

Charity easier said than done…

Charity is something I think we all know about but how many times do we ignore the opportunities to do what we know? So many time we hear stories of great people sharing with others, building others to help them get back on their feet again.  I personally find myself many times reading great stories of great acts of charity done by others and think boy I would do the same thing if I were in that situation. Yet everyday I experience little opportunities to forgive another or to help another in need and can't seem to find the courage or to swallow my pride and do something about it.  I have taken a personal challenge to focus on becoming more charitable in my life to take the opportunities to help others when they need and to forgive when forgiveness is needed.  I love the quote below by Elder Holland, he seems to puts things so much more elegantly than I ever could.

“Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith and hope and charity, the three great Christian imperatives so desperately needed in the world today. With such words, spoken under the influence of the Spirit, tears can be dried, hearts can be healed, lives can be elevated, hope can return, confidence can prevail. … May we all rejoice in the thought that when we say edifying, encouraging things unto the least of these, our brethren and sisters and little ones, we say it unto God.” —Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Tongue of Angels," Ensign, May 2007

Y hike, DI deals

At the Y

We decided to climb the Y while down here at a CES convention. I couldn't resist the temptation to climb clear to the top. Little did I know how much farther it was to the top. It was at least 3 times father than just getting to the Y, but I enjoyed the alone time in nature. Only challenge was rolling my ankle just a few steps after starting back down. That made for a long trip back to the car, then adding the fact that my sugar started going low about a mile from the car.  All in all it was a fun hike, I am a little disappointed with the lack of view from the top, too many trees made it hard to see directly below me.

Check out the deals I got at DI the next day.

The new goal

Can you see the lizard?

view from the top

silly skunk was blocking my path, so I had to throw some rocks at him.

speakers from DI, I used a shopping cart to bring them home

Tender moments

Tonight as Olivia, JT and I were burning boxes and cleaning up the garbage in the forest.  I had Olivia and JT load a large bin full of papers and such items that had blown into our forest over the winter. The only way they could carry it was to each take a handle.  It was touching to see them each choose a side and begin the walk to the fire pit, singing the song "What's gonna work? Team work".  About ten feet from the pit Olivia's flip flop fell off, she kindly let JT know what had happened.  What happened next is what the ultimate virtual pat on the back to a parent.

Without words JT set his side down, located her flip flop in the tall thistles and weeds. While Olivia stood on one foot he gently placed it back on her tender foot. Olivia thanked him for his act of kindness and they proceeded to finish the task at hand.  I don't think either of them saw me admiring their tender moment, but I was deeply touched.  I reached for my camera but my battery was dead so I couldn't capture the moment digitally. As I lay here in bed almost asleep, I felt I had to write this down.  I am thankful for this tender moment my two youngest children shared with me tonight.