A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

I Am the Asshole in the Story

Most have a story to explain the events and circumstances in their life. Let me tell you the story of one sleepy-eyed traveler. [based on a true story]

It had been a long 48 hour day. Taxi cabs, trains, and now the airport. Thoughts raced through her mind as she listened to the boarding gate agent, “What? Airplane delayed again . . . for how many hours? . . . " She had been away from home too long, and was all too anxious to be safe at home.


She was dazed as she talked to the agent and knew she needed to concentrate to keep her wits about her. Her purse was slung safely over her shoulder, and she tucked her travel bag between her and the counter she leaned against. She didn’t want to lose track of the few essentials she still had. 


The agent was kind and helped her book another flight to replace the one she would miss because of the delay. She walked to the kiosk and took the opportunity to sign in early for the flight. There was a little time before boarding the plane, so she sat down and tried to get some rest. 


She reached down to put her hand on her bag, keeping it from walking off while she slept. It was gone! She’d been so careful to keep track of it, and now it was gone. Adrenaline kicked in as she looked around. In a panic, she frantically searched for her bag. As she scurried about, she thought, “Why would someone just take my bag with all the security cameras watching every move of every passenger?” 


She reported her loss to the security guard, and he seemed sympathetic to her predicament. He even helped her assess the situation, and together they determined that one of those asshole foreign tourists must have taken her bag. She carefully retraced her steps searching the area. The security guard even allowed her to leave the secured area to check the shuttle buses that were full of foreign tourists. 


The bag wasn’t impressive, but it contained the essentials she needed. She went back to her seat, cursing her stupidity and the unknown foreign tourist. She prayed and mourned as she sat in mental anguish waiting for her flight. Heroically she forgave her enemy and thanked God for her passport, cash, and credit card that were safe in the small purse she held at her side. Her favorite jacket and other essentials could be replaced. 


Finally, it was time to board the plane. As she walked with other passengers toward the gate, she walked by the check-in kiosk. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Sitting on a little bench between the wall and kiosk was her precious lost bag. It was right where she left it. No one had touched the bag during her panic-filled hour. There was no thieving, asshole, foreign tourist; just a tired, absent-minded woman who forgot where she left her bag. 


None of it was real. She felt like an idiot. All that fuss for nothing. She looked around, and no one seemed to notice her stupid blunder. No harm was done to anyone. As she sat back to consider the experience, she thought, “How many times have I convinced myself I am right when I am plainly wrong?”


People often make up stories to explain what’s happening in their life. We’ve all done it. The stories we tell ourselves may be true, but most often they are false. Our stories usually turn us into the good guy or the undeserving victim and make someone else the villain. Our opponent might also have a story to tell. It would be rare if these stories ever sounded like the same event. When we are disturbed by the events in our life, it is tempting to expand our audience by telling our stories to others. When we do, we feel better, and our story becomes more real. We feel validated. Like the sympathetic security guard, other people might even help us create a more convincing story. 


What would happen if we questioned our stories, noticed when we justify our actions, and paid attention to our defensiveness? What if these are actually signs indicating we are somehow wrong? What if an alarm was set to go off in our mind . . . ding! ding! ding!? I see I am defensive, I am justifying, I am making up stories, therefore, I might be wrong.

 

If we were to make ourselves look like the asshole in our defensive self-justifying stories, we would probably be closer to seeing the truth and could do something about it. 


I looked at a story I’ve been telling myself for over a decade. I blamed others, I blamed my state of mind, I blamed my circumstance. I had such a great story that I believed it myself. Well, I almost believed it. Then one day last week while I was at peace with myself, on a walk with my dogs, in an open meadow, I looked at my old story from a different perspective. When I could see clearly, I could only say, “I was wrong.” I don’t know what I can do to change the past, but there are no excuses. I asked the Lord to forgive me. I don’t ever have to tell that self-justifying story again, and if I do, it will be from the perspective, "I am the asshole in the story." 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

The Horses of Shiloh

Written by Denver Snuffer, Illustrated by Emily Willis

This parable about our misunderstood Lord Jesus Christ illustrates the difference between how He is presently understood and how His difficult life was lived. He was a warrior in every sense of the word, who battled to save the souls of mankind. If you consider the message of this parable as you read the New Testament Gospels, you will better understand our Lord.  Now available on Amazon



Thursday, April 4, 2024

The Problem is Not Out There

If your heart is not at peace, something is wrong inside of you. These words are not to rebuke or judge but to show where peace is found and how to obtain it. The natural tendency is to find something or someone to blame for our pain. But if we truly want to be healed, we will stop blaming and projecting our problems onto others. 

When we touch a hot stove top, the burning pain is there to warn us. It tells us to move our hand. The same is true for our feelings and psychological pain. The pain is simply a warning sign. Something inside needs to shift, change, or move. We change our situation from the inside out. 


We all feel pain and turmoil. Pain can be very beneficial in helping us learn. Those who experience the greatest abuses and contradictions, have the greatest opportunity for growth.


When we say things like why me?  Or life isn’t fair. Remember some of the worst things happen to some of the best people. Life isn't fair because you have expectations. The key to happiness is letting go of expectations and dealing with what is in front of you. Life is tough, it is cruel at times, but there is also great capacity for happiness, even joy.


What’s the benefit of knowing pain is my great teacher? If I know I am supposed to learn from my pain, I can choose to be a good student. I can do something about it. If pain is just random suffering, then I am powerless. 


. . . though he was a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. Hebrews 1:12


. . . And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the Celestial Kingdom, otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be by the things which they suffer. T&C 107: 1


Obedience to what? Jesus encourages us to be obedient to the laws of happiness. . . “Men are that they might have joy . . . “ 2 Nephi 1:10. When we are out of harmony with the laws of happiness, we experience pain. We are born into a world of pain. We all have different pain to work through. The purpose of life is to get better as soon as possible and be happy. 


We can do something about our pain. We can shift, move, and change. This is easier said than done, but totally in our control. Jesus has all power to lead us through the healing process if we will only ask for His help and follow His counsel. 


Healing starts with forgiving ourselves. We can’t do anything about the past except learn from it, and sometimes we can reconcile our mistakes with others. Don’t spend much time fretting about the past. Put your behind in your past. 


We also get to forgive others. Forgiveness has little to do with the other person. To withhold forgiveness only damages us. When we recognize we are all in a learning process, it makes it easier to give up a grudge. Being angry is a waste of time and energy.  A heart at peace is so much more desirable. 


“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you — not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. “ John 9:9


The Lord’s presence brings peace and understanding. Peace is the one feeling the devil cannot imitate. If you are in turmoil, go inside and fix the problem. Call on the Lord to help guide you through the process. The problem is not out there. It is inside you, and you have power to be healed.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Order of Operations - SMOOCH

One of our daughters is currently learning the order of operations. Solving a problem using the wrong order of operations will often lead to the wrong answer.

Following the order of operations is also important when solving life’s problems. Using the wrong order of operations will often lead to frustration and loss of power. 


SMOOCH when solving life’s problems. When these six steps are followed in order, the results are deeply satisfying. When you SMOOCH, a solid foundation is also being laid for solving the problems of the world 


Solving the problems of life is more complicated than solving a math problem, but if you want to know where to focus your efforts for best results, ask yourself about the strength and health of each of these relationships. Where are most of your problems? Where are you stuck? Spend your time and attention at the most basic level causing you stress. For example: if you don’t have peace within yourself, you’re going to be ineffective in solving problems in your marriage.


Here’s the order of operations for solving life’s problems and living a life full of joy and happiness: #1 Solve the problems in your heart. #2 Build a strong and loving marriage. #3 Teach and train your children in an atmosphere of loving kindness. #4 Be a force for good as you strengthen friends and family. #5 Make your community a better place to live. #6 Live a legacy and bless all humanity. 


Self

Mate

Offspring 

Others

Community

Humanity 


Self . . . When I have a problem, my first step is to look inside and identify my part. Am I at peace, or is there some kind of inner turmoil? What is my problem? This takes work and can be challenging for those who are not in the habit of self-reflection. To work out the deep issues of our soul takes time. We have many relationships that demand our attention, but unless I am at peace with myself, there’s going to be turmoil in other relationships.  


Mate . . . Marriage can be deeply fulfilling, but creating a happy marriage takes serious work and commitment. The dream marriage is when two people can keep their love for each other burning bright while working through the challenges of life. Marriage has great potential to purge and purify you. 


Offspring . . . Teach your children to honor God. A parent’s job never ends. While caring for your children, you have an opportunity to learn to love selflessly. Children are also little mirrors reflecting you. They’ll teach you a lot. Your joy comes from watching your children grow and develop into truly remarkable people. You are the major contributor in laying a solid foundation for their life.


Others . . . Once your heart is at peace and your family is in order, you can spend more time and attention serving those outside your family. These others include friends and extended family. Fortify these people and help them in their struggles. Be a support as you lift and serve from a place of strength and peace. 


Community . . . Next, look to help those in your community. Parents with young children don't usually have a lot of extra time for community service. As you grow older and your children leave home, you have more time. Use your time, talents, wisdom, and experience to bless the lives of those in your community. Help things to go right in the area you live. 


Humanity . . . To live a life that blesses all humanity is a lifetime pursuit. Live everyday with intention. Ask what can I do to serve, lift, and bless? What unique gifts do I possess, and how can I use those gifts to benefit others? Live each day to the fullest and give life everything you have. Live a legacy. 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Weathered Tree

Written by Denver Snuffer, Illustrated by Emily Willis

Parables are an ancient way to tell a simple story using everyday objects, like trees, mountains, and weather to say one thing while also meaning another. Christ taught in parables to let those with "eyes to see" and "ears to hear" to see another meaning. This parable about a tree, a difficult life, a perilous cliff, and a beautiful valley is also about another story involving life, ourselves, parenthood, and God. Now available on Amazon.