“In God’s setting sun! I take time to reflect! A day’s journey together! The service we lent! His blessings so tender! And softly bestowed! Our time together! How it lit up my soul! I thank Thee, Father! For life, that is sweet! The sunset has come! And now I must sleep!” R. Lyle Johnson (See poem, “Day And Night”)
God kept His Promise! A Sign! A New Star! Its beauty unmatched! Brightly shone from afar! The midnight! It was perfect! The calm unforeseen! Angels hummed anthems! Serenity would sing! The radiance illuminated! The shepherds amazed! To all man a witness! A babe born! We would praise! The ensign remained! To lead the wisest of men! To a place well hidden! Our Miracle to defend! Innocent! And pure! A divine child from on high! Never a blemish! And never a lie! Perfection and love! Shared with every living soul! A Savior anointed! God’s gift here foretold! (Written by R. Lyle Johnson: 23 Dec 2011 )
The account of a new and precious star appearing in the heavens has endured for over two millenniums. Today it has become a symbol of God’s love for us, and a light to follow. A prophesy fulfilled, a promise of hope, a visual reminder of good tidings of great joy to all man.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10)
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)
In the poem a subtle suggestion is whispered: “The wisest of men on this earth, will seek out the Savior.” The ensign in the poem is not only the guiding star, but it is the truth we can find in the scriptures, and on bent knees. The Holy Spirit then becomes our guiding star to the King of kings!
This knowledge of truth, of a Savior, is relatively hidden from the world. It is our miracle to guard and to defend. It is not a lie, nor a myth as evil men would portray. It is truth in its purest form, a pearl of great price, a spiritual treasure of eternal worth!
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
This child would grow to be the Anointed One, the Redeemer, the Light and Life to all the world. The Living Christ was and is perfect in every way. And His love for each of us is as pure, unblemished, and perfect as the babe born in a manger.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
May we all follow that star, and let it become our compass, our strength, our symbol of devotion. And then one day we will feel the good tidings of great joy in His presence, now and forever!
I just read “The Three Degrees of Glory” by Melvin J. Ballard. It had some interesting insights to share. One was that our second estate status here on earth was a result of our valor in the pre-existence. In other words, much of the truth of the gospel plan we receive here on the earth is a result of efforts and choices we made before this life. If someone had little concern about the plan of salvation before this life, they probably do not have an interest while here on earth today. He also suggested that, “so it will be in the next life.”
Our efforts here on earth and the choices we make today will follow us after this earthly probation. So I guess the questions arise, “what have we chosen, and what are we choosing to do today? What glory are we preparing for?” Bro. Ballard insinuated that the choices we make right now will be the same, and not change just because of death and a new environment. As we strive to know the Savior and Heavenly Father by keeping the commandments and our covenants, we assure ourselves an inheritance in the highest degree of glory. If we choose less in mortality, we will receive less in the eternities.
He also stated that repentance will be ten times harder without this physical body. The body or temple is a tool to assist us in repentance. We have it only for a short time while here on earth. It facilitates our progression. We will not have a body in the Spirit World. So the body is a priceless gift that should be valued and cherished, just like a temple of God. It quickens the purification and sanctification process. Therefore, the body is a catalyst and sacred gift that helps us in our perfection to become as God is. And thus we become one in purpose and glory with Him for time and all eternity.
Since this time with a mortal body is so short, we should utilize it for our progression, and value it above all treasures. We should use it wisely! It should be employed each day in our efforts to become perfect.
It is harder to become like Him after we have died and gone to the Spirit World So, this earth life and this body, really are great blessings and opportunities!
Just a thought.
To understand the three degrees of glory, visit the link below:
This is such an interesting question!
“How one spend’s their time reflects, how it is valued.”
A lawyer may believe his time is worth $250 an hr., a surgeon $1000 an hr., a mechanic $90 an hr., a teacher $15 an hr., etc. The world has quantified and qualified the value of time based on what we do with it.
In the minds of many, a profession defines the answer to the question “why am I?”
The Lord does not place a monetary value on our time, nor does he care what profession we choose. However, He does care how both will effect our eternity.
Much of what is considered of no worth in man’s world, is priceless in God’s world. The simple truth is that the “why am I?” question, can never be answered through worldly standards or the precepts of man.
Our time is one of our most valued possessions. It cannot be replaced. It does not go backwards. Time in relation to this earthly sojourn is limited. We have been given a piece of time on earth to accomplish great things. It is during this period, that a child of God has a mission and purpose to fulfill.
So, let us consider how God would have use this gift of time.
Challenge: Consider the time you give to the Lord each day.
- Go to aplacetoponder.com poetry section
- Read the poem, “Abandoned Moments and Forsaken Memories”
- Read the poem, “Promises and Procrastination”
- Read the poem, “Time To Become”
- Ask yourself: How should I use my time? (Write a schedule.)
This exercise will go hand in hand with Day Two Blog “My Spiritual Triathlon.”
Good Luck! And God Bless!
R. Lyle Johnson
(Today’s entry is not for the faint in heart!)
“What you choose to do today, is what is most important to you. Set your goal high, choose wisely, and then become!”
“Great things only occur with great effort!” (R. Lyle Johnson)
In Blog Entry 1, one piece of the puzzle was delivered to help answer the question; “Why Am I?”
Today’s entry discusses the “how;” the how to build the puzzle; the how to attain the spiritual compass presented in the poem “Whisperings of Wisdom.”
The desire for truth, happiness, joy, purpose, and self fulfillment is found in answering the key question above. The most important questions in your eternal life can only be answered by acquiring the spiritual compass. Today we will consider the “how;” how to secure the spiritual compass, the how to attain the most important answers in life and the answer to the “why am I” question.
Many do not want to know the “how?” Some view the answer as too difficult, too hard. The answer would require our most valued possessions; time, effort, and sacrifice. It is true! The “how?” is not a simple ask and then receive after a one minute prayer. The how is defined by relentless determination and an unyielding effort “to become, to finish the race!”
As mortals we pride ourselves in our success at achieving optimum physical health as well as a flawless physique, or some athletic achievement. Such accomplishments do not come naturally or by chance. They require huge blocks of time, consistent regimentation, prioritizing the important, and often sacrificing worldly indulgences for greater rewards. The trade off for pleasure is often accompanied with endless pain. “No pain, no gain” is heard echoing from the football field to the gymnasium. The training facility everyday at 6:00 a.m. becomes athlete’s mountain to climb. The desired results come through a process rather than a one time event, is days of sweat and endless exhaustion.
Just like the physical body needs a plan to achieve great things, so does the Spirit of Man. Eternal happiness and perfection is a process that requires a plan. The answer to the “why am I” question is no different. There is a price to pay for the greatest of rewards.
Blog Entry Two’s theme is “My Spiritual Triathlon.” So, the question is raised; “do you have a working plan?”
A triathlon is a grueling event that has three parts; swimming, cycling, and running. Unlike the physical triathlon of the world we know, there is a spiritual triathlon that is unknown to most. It entails three events as well; praying, studying the word of God, and serving one’s fellowman. It’s rewards are not recognized in a cheering crowd or with a blue ribbon at the finish line, but in angelic silence and an eternal birthright bestowed with an embrace of divine approval.
Future blogs will consider each of the spiritual components of praying, studying and pondering, and serving.
To become one’s best self spiritually requires the same as becoming one’s best physical self; time, effort, and sacrifice. Patience, diligence, long suffering, magnifying callings, selfless service, being anxiously engaged, all contribute to one’s spiritual growth. The results are not seen in bulging muscles or the perfect body frame, but in the light and goodness that emanates from within. The light in one’s countenance and behavior that shines are this triathlon’s by-products.
The spiritual compass spoken of in Blog One’s challenge is the coach or guide that helps one train for the crown of perfection. Living his training plan is a choice of a willingness “to do whatever it takes to win,” knowing that the reward of the winning is worth everything. Yes, how you spend your time will be redirected. Yes, worldly cares will take a back seat. Yes, mundane pleasures will follow behind eternal objectives. The unimportant will not overrule the priority of the spiritual task at hand. Discipline molds perfection. And perfection comes by prioritizing. Is your spiritual growth more important than the mundane part of your life?
For those of you who say; “I am too old.” “It is too late” “There is no time.” The answer that rings true is that the spirit has no age, time is without beginning or ending, it is never too late. Perfection is a process. Spiritual growth is measured by the light and truth we accumulate through effort. Mr. Universe’s physical strength may be measured by muscle mass in a photo in a magazine, but spiritual strength is measured by the light and goodness one creates through daily spiritual exercise. That light outlasts and outshines any image in a mirror or photo in a magazine.
For those of us who claim; “I have no time for this!” Your coach is whispering, “Don’t be a spiritual weakling! Your have within yourself spiritual greatness! Use your faith to gain perfection! That is the challenge of this earthly probation. It is one of your eternal tests! Your forever future is on the line! The choice is yours! Do you choose eternal joy and perfection?” Remember; “A goal without a plan is the same as a wish without effort.”
Lets start your training today! Lets earn and acquire the spiritual compass.
Challenge: Start Your Spiritual Training Program. (Find a partner to do this with!)
- Go to aplacetoponder.com homepage.
- Click on the activity “Set a Spiritual Goal”
- Read the whole section.
- Print the Daily Spiritual Goal Action Plan.
- Fill it out each day for 30 days.
- Set a goal each day in prayer, study, and service.
- Record your feelings results in a Spiritual Workout Journal.
Good luck! May your training for the spiritual triathlon bring your an inner strength that you did not know existed. As the light grows within, may it heal all wounds, and help you to know your divinity within. I promise you, that you will discover your greatness!
R. Lyle Johnson
I am awakened by a familiar quiet prompting. Why so early? It happened for a reason.
There are thoughts that I must record. Today I start my blog. You are invited to read it each day. The date you start reading it, does not matter. Just start on Day One, and then come back on Day Two, the date of your choosing. Each day will be like a new chapter in a book you cannot put down. Come and enjoy this spiritual adventure with me!
It will be an experiment that touches your soul, if you choose to participate!
Some will read this introduction and become immediately bored. They are not prepared or ready! They will move on to the trivial, insignificant, and unimportant activities of a mundane day. They will miss an opportunity to think, feel, discover, and ponder. If you are distracted in the moment but desire wisdom, come back later when you can capture the feelings of happiness, meaning, truth, and joy!
Those of you in this moment who have the time, and who hunger and thirst for substance, seek answers to questions that have deep meaning, stay here! In moving forward with a commitment, you will accept the challenge, accountability, and responsibility of becoming greater than you are today. Wiser, more content, more at peace, and more excited about your life! So, let’s start this spiritual journey together!
I ask myself: “Who are you?” “Do you know me?” “Do I know you?” “Are you someone who was led to my blog by a prompting?” “Are you relevant to me?”
The answer comes: “YES, YOU ARE RELEVANT!” Not only to me, yourself, and others who know you; BUT to many whom you do not know, or to whom you will be known. Today, we will not ponder that thought. We will address that truth in the future!
The website, aplacetoponder.com, is a place of peace. It is a place that is all about you! It is a place that you own; where you can discover the answers to the most important questions about your tomorrows.
“Wow Lyle, you are blowing me away! Too deep! Answering questions about my tomorrows?”
It is deep! It is sometimes scary to go somewhere, where most people avoid. The present is safe, and the future uncertain. But, it is not uncertain, when you choose your future and destiny!
It is exciting to discover the treasures of truth that change oneself to become their best selves. So an invitation is extended to you; to think outside of the box, to challenge your comfort zone, to exercise spiritual muscles that have become dormant. Over the weeks ahead, you are invited to ponder a gospel principle.
Gospel Principle To Ponder: “WHY AM I?” Not, who am I? But rather, “why am I?”
The “who” will come by answering the why.
Are you ready to start? The answer to the big question (“WHY AM I?”) is an unassembled puzzle. Lets start putting the pieces together. If you are ready, here is the first piece.
Assignment number one:
- Go to aplacetoponder.com
- Read carefully and slowly the mission statement and purpose.
- Click the Poetry Tab and read the poem “Whisperings of Wisdom.” Ponder it!
- Answer the questions honestly; “How bad do I desire this spiritual compass spoken of in the poem? Will I work for it? Will I sacrifice for it? Once received, will I follow it?”
- Come back for Blog entry two’s challenge, and a gospel principle to ponder.
That is it for today! I look forward to your visit to Blog entry two.
God be with you!