This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!


“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Saturday, October 27, 2012

John Groberg's "The Other Side of Heaven": Excerpts, Part 3


This is part three of excerpts from John H. Groberg's inspirational autobiography, "The Other Side of Heaven", which was originally titled "In the Eye of the Storm".  A wonderful film was made based on this book, starring Christopher Gorham and Anne Hathaway, recounting Groberg's missionary experiences in Tonga.

After watching a rich man in a yacht stop at the island to trade for provisions and to pick up some girls for his pleasure, and then leave, an islander said this to John Groberg:
"I feel sorry for him.  He will never be happy, for he seeks only his own pleasure, not to help others.  Yet we know that happiness comes from helping others.  All he will do is sail around the world seeking happiness, hoping others will bring it to him, but they cannot.  He will never find it, for he has not learned to help others.  He has too much money, too many luxuries, too much power.  Oh, I feel sorry for him."

Reflecting on modern society, John wrote:
Most of what we buy isn't necessary
Most of what we eat is not very good for us
Most of what we do is not very important
Most of what we store should be given or thrown away
Most of what we talk about is trite
Why don't we spend out time and means better?
Why don't we concentrate more on loving and helping others?

One of the problems with all of the safety consciousness we have today is that it tends to cause us to hesitate to do things that we might otherwise do....I sometimes wonder if we don't get so filled with facts and figures and possible dangers that we do less than we should.  I suppose we could all find legitimate reasons to hardly do anything because of the potential dangers involved...

As I see it, all of life is a risk, which is where faith comes in.  We do what is right, and let the chips fall where they may.

Even in troubled waters we make more progress if we are trying than if we wait until the dangers and discomforts are removed.

John spent much time at sea in small boats, traveling between the Tongan islands.  Much time was spent in reflecting upon and being inspired by God:

As I watched the prow slice through the water, felt the wind power us forward, and sensed the undulating motion of the mast, I felt very close to God.  I doubt anyone could deny Him and His power under those circumstances.

Once I asked the Lord to bless us with a good tail wind so we could get to Foa quickly.  As we got under way, one of the older men said, "Elder Groberg, you need to modify your prayers a little."
"How's that?" I replied.
"You asked the Lord for a tail wind to take us rapidly to Foa.  If you pray for a tail wind to Foa, what about the people who are trying to come from Foa to Pangai?  They are good people, and you are praying against them.  Just pray for a good wind, not a tail wind."
Sometimes we pray for things that will benefit us but may hurt others.

Sometimes the sea is fairly calm with a good wind, and it thrills me inside to stand on the bow of the ship, raise the sails, and watch the wind fill the white canvas and see the keel begin to cut the water.  Man moving under the power of nature.  It thrills me as our big sails billow with the power of nature, and we literally glide through the ocean.

Sometimes a good wind and a good sea will take us quickly to our destination.  Then with a disagreeable wind and a contrary sea, it could take hours, even days...It fills you with pride as you feel the power of the elements under your control, but you soon realize it isn't our power when the wind decides to stop.

How often do we not do more because we pray for wind and none comes?  We pray for good things and they don't seem to happen, so we sit and wait and do no more.  We should always pray for help, but we should always listen for inspiration and impressions to proceed in different ways from those we may have thought of.

No matter what our trials, we should never say, "It is enough." Only God is entitled to say that.  Our responsibility, if we are faithful, is to ask, "What more can I do?" then listen for the answer and do it!

His Thoughts on Serving Others:
When life is through, I am sure those who have worn out their lives in the service of others, which is serving God, will have a feeling...of total love.  Those who have not sacrificed for others simply cannot experience it...because they haven't don what is necessary to experience it.  

Being totally exhausted in the Lord's cause isn't all that bad.

The basis of all spirituality and the means of exaltation is to just forget about oneself and help others.

When we come into closer contact with the Lord, the importance of true love and service comes to the front.

Deeds of sacrifice, deeds of selflessness and honesty, deeds of effort in sincerely trying to help others, especially at the expense of one's own comfort, never go unnoticed by the powers of heaven.

Friendship or loyalty can only be measured by what we do for others, or what they do for us, not by what is offered only.

The key to happiness is to serve others.

Love, trust, and sacrifice for others are the greatest forces in the world.  Love is shown by how much we are willing to deny ourselves for the good of others, how much we are willing to go through that others might benefit.

Other thoughts include:
How grateful I am for inspired leaders who listen to the promptings of the Spirit and are willing to make changes when that is the right thing to do, rather than pay attention only to logic or predetermined reason.

When we do things according to the Spirit, the Spirit and power of God take over.  The Spirit justifies what we have done.  The Lord then orchestrates future events so that what was started spiritually is brought to fruition downstream in a marvelous way.

I am convinced that all we have to do is try our hardest by putting forth effort and having great faith in God, and He indeed will cause the increase.

Unless we feel the way others feel, we cannot be too effective in meeting their needs.  To feel how others feel is a great blessing and is accomplished as we hurt with them, laugh with them, mourn with them, rejoice with them, cry with them, suffer with them wonder with them, pray with them, experience miracles with them, and become reconciled to die with them if necessary.

I wonder if some of our so-called trials with wayward children, poor health, or financial reverses may be to help us feel things we otherwise might not be able to feel.  I am confident that we can best understand and help people when we have felt the way they have felt.

If you follow the direction of the Spirit and do what is right, you turn the responsibility over to the Spirit - and it gives life.

Unity is peace and lack of unity is pain.  If you have experienced the peace that comes from unity, it is always a goal you seek to achieve.  You cannot compromise principle and achieve unity.  Peace and unity only come from living God's principles.  There is no other way.

There are those who, through years of experience and training and by virtue of special divine callings, can see further, better, and more clearly than we can.  They can and will save us in those situations where serious injury or death - both spiritual and physical - would be upon us before we ourselves could see clearly.

Substance is much more important than form, and the Spirit always measures substance and justifies action... Substance is still the essence of all true progress.

There is a principle of moral agency that must be kept intact.  Some learn faster or better than others, but all learn.  Eventually the realities of eternity become apparent.  Truth eventually prevails.  Light always overcomes darkness.

You develop love by loving, and you develop patience by being patient.

Only unity, obedience, love, helpfulness, hard work, patience, humility, and willingness to allow agency its full play, and then developing deep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, make any real difference.

We must obey, endure faithfully in Christ, and always remember that for us the last chapter has not yet been written.

We tend to fuss so much for our lives, maybe because it's natural, or because we haven't fully repented, or because our lives are not yet full of love and compassion and charity, or maybe because we haven't unselfishly helped others sufficiently.  It may be that our faith in God is not as full as it should be, so we don't yet realize that when our lives are filled with these and other Christlike qualities, it doesn't really matter whether life continues here or there.

I have a feeling that everyone must endure testing or "persecution" sometime, someway in their life...and I guess it doesn't matter a lot when that persecution or test comes.  What does matter is that we remain faithful.

Anyone can be happy under any set of conditions, if he only makes up his mind to be.

If we could all keep our spiritual health and our physical health up to top peak by constant exercise, we would indeed be much happier.

The language of love is the most important language of all.  If one learns that language, he can speak to every heart.

It is interesting to me that Jesus was talking about how to love as the prelude to His greatest command or request to be perfect (see Matthew 5:48).


See also my first two postings of excerpts from this book at
John Groberg's "The Other Side of Heaven": Excerpts, Part 1.
and
John Groberg's "The Other Side of Heaven": Excerpts, Part 2


See also excerpts from John Groberg's sequel to this book, titled "The Fire of Faith":
Excerpts from John Groberg's "The Fire of Faith"

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale


Some years ago, the late Nobel prize-winning Dr. Albert Schweitzer was asked by a reporter, "Doctor, what's wrong with men today?" The great doctor was silent a moment, and then he said, "Men simply don't think!"

It's about this that I want to talk with you. We live today in a golden age. This is an era that humanity has looked forward to, dreamed of, and worked toward for thousands of years. We live in the richest era that ever existed on the face of the earth ... a land of abundant opportunity for everyone.

However, if you take 100 individuals who start even at the age of 25, do you have any idea what will happen to those men and women by the time they're 65? These 100 people believe they're going to be successful. They are eager toward life, there is a certain sparkle in their eye, an erectness to their carriage, and life seems like a pretty interesting adventure to them.

But by the time they're 65, only one will be rich, four will be financially independent, five will still be working, and 54 will be broke — depending on others for life's necessities.

Only five out of 100 make the grade! Why do so many fail? What has happened to the sparkle that was there when they were 25? What has become of the dreams, the hopes, the plans ... and why is there such a large disparity between what these people intended to do and what they actually accomplished?

THE DEFINITION OF SUCCESS

First, we have to define success and here is the best definition I've ever been able to find: "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal."

A success is the school teacher who is teaching because that's what he or she wants to do. A success is the entrepreneur who start his own company because that was his dream — that's what he wanted to do. A success is the salesperson who wants to become the best salesperson in his or her company and sets forth on the pursuit of that goal.

A success is anyone who is realizing a worthy predetermined ideal, because that's what he or she decided to do ... deliberately. But only one out of 20 does that! The rest are "failures."

Rollo May, the distinguished psychiatrist, wrote a wonderful book called Man's Search for Himself, and in this book he says: "The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice ... it is conformity." And there you have the reason for so many failures. Conformity — people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or where they are going.

We learn to read by the time we're seven. We learn to make a living by the time we're 30. Often by that time we're not only making a living, we're supporting a family. And yet by the time we're 65, we haven't learned how to become financially independent in the richest land that has ever been known. Why? We conform! Most of us are acting like the wrong percentage group — the 95 who don't succeed.

GOALS

Have you ever wondered why so many people work so hard and honestly without ever achieving anything in particular, and why others don't seem to work hard, yet seem to get everything? They seem to have the "magic touch." You've heard people say, "Everything he touches turns to gold." Have you ever noticed that a person who becomes successful tends to continue to become more successful? And, on the other hand, have you noticed how someone who's a failure tends to continue to fail?

The difference is goals. People with goals succeed because they know where they're going. It's that simple. Failures, on the other hand, believe that their lives are shaped by circumstances ... by things that happen to them ... by exterior forces.

Think of a ship with the complete voyage mapped out and planned. The captain and crew know exactly where the ship is going and how long it will take — it has a definite goal. And 9,999 times out of 10,000, it will get there.

Now let's take another ship — just like the first — only let's not put a crew on it, or a captain at the helm. Let's give it no aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just start the engines and let it go. I think you'll agree that if it gets out of the harbor at all, it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach — a derelict. It can't go anyplace because it has no destination and no guidance.

It's the same with a human being. However, the human race is fixed, not to prevent the strong from winning, but to prevent the weak from losing. Society today can be likened to a convoy in time of war. The entire society is slowed down to protect its weakest link, just as the naval convoy has to go at the speed that will permit its slowest vessel to remain in formation.

That's why it's so easy to make a living today. It takes no particular brains or talent to make a living and support a family today. We have a plateau of so-called "security." So, to succeed, all we must do is decide how high above this plateau we want to aim.

Throughout history, the great wise men and teachers, philosophers, and prophets have disagreed with one another on many different things. It is only on this one point that they are in complete and unanimous agreement — the key to success and the key to failure is this:

WE BECOME WHAT WE THINK ABOUT

This is The Strangest Secret! Now, why do I say it's strange, and why do I call it a secret? Actually, it isn't a secret at all. It was first promulgated by some of the earliest wise men, and it appears again and again throughout the Bible. But very few people have learned it or understand it. That's why it's strange, and why for some equally strange reason it virtually remains a secret.

Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman Emperor, said: "A man's life is what his thoughts make of it."

Disraeli said this: "Everything comes if a man will only wait ... a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfillment."

William James said: "We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were real, and it will become infallibly real by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real. It will become so knit with habit and emotion that our interests in it will be those which characterize belief." He continues, " ... only you must, then, really wish these things, and wish them exclusively, and not wish at the same time a hundred other incompatible things just as strongly."

My old friend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale put it this way: "If you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results." George Bernard Shaw said: "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."

Well, it's pretty apparent, isn't it? We become what we think about. A person who is thinking about a concrete and worthwhile goal is going to reach it, because that's what he's thinking about. Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn't know where he's going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety, fear, and worry will thereby create a life of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing ... he becomes nothing.

AS YE SOW — SO SHALLYE REAP

The human mind is much like a farmer's land. The land gives the farmer a choice. He may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn't care what is planted. It's up to the farmer to make the decision. The mind, like the land, will return what you plant, but it doesn't care what you plant. If the farmer plants too seeds — one a seed of corn, the other nightshade, a deadly poison, waters and takes care of the land, what will happen?

Remember, the land doesn't care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the two plants — one corn, one poison as it's written in the Bible, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."

The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn't care what we plant ... success ... or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal ... or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety, and so on. But what we plant it must return to us.

The problem is that our mind comes as standard equipment at birth. It's free. And things that are given to us for nothing, we place little value on. Things that we pay money for, we value.

The paradox is that exactly the reverse is true. Everything that's really worthwhile in life came to us free — our minds, our souls, our bodies, our hopes, our dreams, our ambitions, our intelligence, our love of family and children and friends and country. All these priceless possessions are free.

But the things that cost us money are actually very cheap and can be replaced at any time. A good man can be completely wiped out and make another fortune. He can do that several times. Even if our home burns down, we can rebuild it. But the things we got for nothing, we can never replace.

Our mind can do any kind of job we assign to it, but generally speaking, we use it for little jobs instead of big ones. So decide now. What is it you want? Plant your goal in your mind. It's the most important decision you'll ever make in your entire life.

Do you want to excel at your particular job? Do you want to go places in your company ... in your community? Do you want to get rich? All you have got to do is plant that seed in your mind, care for it, work steadily toward your goal, and it will become a reality.

It not only will, there's no way that it cannot. You see, that's a law — like the laws of Sir Isaac Newton, the laws of gravity. If you get on top of a building and jump off, you'll always go down — you'll never go up.

And it's the same with all the other laws of nature. They always work. They're inflexible. Think about your goal in a relaxed, positive way. Picture yourself in your mind's eye as having already achieved this goal. See yourself doing the things you will be doing when you have reached your goal.

Every one of us is the sum total of our own thoughts. We are where we are because that's exactly where we really want or feel we deserve to be — whether we'll admit that or not. Each of us must live off the fruit of our thoughts in the future, because what you think today and tomorrow — next month and next year — will mold your life and determine your future. You're guided by your mind.

I remember one time I was driving through eastern Arizona and I saw one of those giant earthmoving machines roaring along the road with what looked like 30 tons of dirt in it — a tremendous, incredible machine — and there was a little man perched way up on top with the wheel in his hands, guiding it. As I drove along I was struck by the similarity of that machine to the human mind.

Just suppose you're sitting at the controls of such a vast source of energy. Are you going to sit back and fold your arms and let it run itself into a ditch? Or are you going to keep both hands firmly on the wheel and control and direct this power to a specific, worthwhile purpose? It's up to you. You're in the driver's seat.

You see, the very law that gives us success is a double-edged sword. We must control our thinking. The same rule that can lead people to lives of success, wealth, happiness, and all the things they ever dreamed of — that very same law can lead them into the gutter. It's all in how they use it ... for good or for bad. That is The Strangest Secret!

Do what the experts since the dawn of recorded history have told us to do: pay the price, by becoming the person you want to become. It's not nearly as difficult as living unsuccessfully.

The moment you decide on a goal to work toward, you're immediately a successful person — you are then in that rare group of people who know where they're going. Out of every hundred people, you belong to the top five. Don't concern yourself too much with how you are going to achieve your goal — leave that completely to a power greater than yourself. All you have to do is know where you're going. The answers will come to you of their own accord, and at the right time.

Start today. You have nothing to lose — but you have your whole life to win.

- Earl Nightingale

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quotes by David A. Bednar


Elder David A. Bednar has been a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints since 2004 . An educator by profession, he was also president of Brigham Young University-Idaho from 1997 to 2004.  Many have come to love the wise and comforting messages in his words. 

Here are some good quotes from a good man:


Becoming people of integrity and honesty does not occur quickly or all at once, nor is it merely a matter of greater personal discipline. It is a change of disposition, a change of heart. And this gradual change of heart is one that the Lord accomplishes within us, through the power of His Spirit, in a line-upon-line fashion.
I believe the best test of our integrity and honesty is when we personally enforce in our own lives that which ultimately cannot be enforced.
Giving a man a fish feeds him for one meal. Teaching a man to fish feeds him for a lifetime. As parents and gospel instructors, you and I are not in the business of distributing fish; rather, our work is to help our children learn ‘to fish’ and to become spiritually steadfast.
The Lord knows who we really are, what we really think, what we really do, and who we really are becoming.
The most meaningful and spiritual prayers I have experienced contained many expressions of thanks and few, if any, requests.
It frankly does not make sense to occasionally 'fill up' with water, with long periods of dehydration in between. The same thing is true spiritually. Spiritual thirst is a need for living water. A constant flow of living water is far superior to sporadic sipping.

It ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.

The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live.

Feeling the security and constancy of love from a spouse, a parent, or a child is a rich blessing. Such love nurtures and sustains faith in God. Such love is a source of strength and casts out fear. Such love is the desire of every human soul. We can become more diligent and concerned at home as we express love—and consistently show it.

Both clean hands and a pure heart are required to ascend into the hill of the Lord and to stand in His holy place.

With faith... we must walk to the edge of the light and into the darkness. As we so walk I testify and promise that the light will move.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Smile!

Want to improve your life?  Start with a smile. It may sound simplistic, and you may already have read writings on this theory, but smiling more can contribute to your own personal growth and success. Think of smiling as an investment in yourself. Smiling can improve your mood, health, appearance, relationships, and even your career.

According to the facial feedback hypothesis, facial expressions can affect a person’s emotions. In other words, when you smile, you improve your mood. A smile causes physiological changes within the body. It cools your blood, making you feel happier. Endorphins and Serotonin are released; elevating your mood and helping you feel calm and relaxed. Endorphins also act as a natural pain killer.

This feeling of relaxation benefits your physical health. When your body is more relaxed, your immune system is stronger, reducing your risks for illnesses such as colds and the flu. One study suggests that smiling, in addition to reducing stress, may help the heart. Official paper reports that study participants who were instructed to smile had lower heart rates after recovering from a stressful event, such as plunging a hand into a bucket of ice water. The effect was greatest when the smile was genuine, but even participants who held chopsticks in their mouths so their muscles were forced hold a smiling position had lower heart rates than participants with neutral facial expressions.

If you want to improve your appearance, smiling can help. One study suggests that smiling can shave years off your appearance. Study participants looked at photos and judged smiling people to be an average of two years younger than photos of the same people with frowns or neutral expressions. One reason suggested for this finding is that smiling creates temporary wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, making it harder to tell if the person smiling has permanent wrinkles in those areas. Smiling also serves as an instant face lift, as the muscles used in smiling lift the face.

We’ve all heard smiling is contagious, but there is scientific evidence writing which supports this fact. Scientists in Sweden found that study participants had difficulty frowning at pictures of smiling people. Their facial muscles kept trying to smile on their own in response to the picture. This is why it’s so difficult to keep a straight face when everyone around you is smiling. It’s an easy way to “pay it forward”. When you smile at someone, you pass the benefits of smiling along to them, and they may return the favor to someone else. This also draws people to you. People enjoy being around someone who smiles and seems happy and relaxed.

Want a promotion? A smile may help you get one. According to scientific essay at pickthebrain.com, “smiles make a person seem more attractive, sociable and confident, and people who smile more are more likely to get a promotion.” Smiling makes you seem more approachable and helps people trust you. If you are a manager, smiling may impact your employees’ performance. In a job interview, you may be perceived to be easier to work with if you smile more. If you’re competing against an equally qualified candidate, smiling may land you the job.

The benefits of smiling are cumulative. When you smile, you feel happier and more contented, which lowers your stress. Because smiling is contagious, people are drawn to you and tend to enjoy your company, which makes them want to keep being around you. This may increase your confidence and help you meet other goals, such as improving your relationships, landing your dream job or earning a raise or a promotion. All of these things give you more reasons to smile!

- by Kimberly Brownie


For some great quotes on smiling, see:
http://positivethinkersjournal.blogspot.com/2009/01/smile.html

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Nine Aspects of Life and The Poem of Life


Life.  Wow.  What a topic.  So much to be said, so much to learn. Here's some good poems on life, followed by a link for many great quotes:

The Nine Aspects of Life
The adventure of life is to learn.
The purpose of life is to grow.
The nature of life is to change.
The challenge of life is to overcome.
The essence of life is to care.
The opportunity of life is to serve.
The secret of life is to dare.
The spice of life is to befriend.
The beauty of life is to give.

- William Arthur Ward

------


The Poem of Life

At times we’ve thought what is the use
To brave the world and its abuse?
Trouble and sorrow seem everywhere
Surely ’tis more than we can bear.

But then a still, small voice would say,
There’s joy for you if you’ll but pay.
Should roses grow without a thorn?
To unearned ease are mortals born?

The sweetest flowers ofttimes are found
Amid the thorns in roughened ground.
And richest joys you’ll find are those
Which spring from work and not repose.

- Hamblen


For some great quotes on Life, see:
http://positivethinkersjournal.blogspot.com/2008/12/life.html

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Beauty of Autumn

The Beauty of Autumn is inspiring and uplifting to the soul. As William Cullen Bryant said, "Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile."

I have enjoyed very much being outside during this time of year. Here are some photos I've taken, as well as a nice collection of thoughts on this beautiful time of year:

Photos by Ken R. Young


Every leaf speaks bliss to me, Fluttering from the autumn tree. - Emily Bronte

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. - George Eliot

There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October. - Nathaniel Hawthorne






































If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before. - Mitchell Burgess


There is a harmony in autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen.
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air. - Nathaniel Hawthorne

A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air. - Eric Sloane

Then summer fades and passes and October comes. We’ll smell smoke then, and feel an unexpected sharpness, a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a sense of sadness and departure. - Thomas Wolfe


The leaves in autumn do not change color from the blighting touch of frost, but from the process of natural decay. They fall when the fruit is ripened, and their work is done. And their splendid coloring is but their graceful and beautiful surrender of life when they have finished their summer offering of service to God and man. And one of the great lessons the fall of the leaf teaches, is this: Do your work well, and then be ready to depart when God shall call. - Tryon Edwards


Who at this season does not feel impressed with a sentiment of melancholy? - A. Alison

Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon? - Hal Borland


Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. - John Muir

I love fall!
Fall is exciting.
It’s apples and cider.
It’s an airborne spider.
It’s pumpkins in bins.
It’s burrs on dog’s chins.
It’s wind blowing leaves.
It’s chilly red knees.
It’s nuts on the ground.
It’s a crisp dry sound.
It’s green leaves turning
And the smell of them burning.
It’s clouds in the sky.
It’s fall. That’s why…
I love fall.
- Unknown

In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild heavens, and the red leaves bestrew the road, and you can feel the breath of winter, morning and evening — no days so calm, so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air. - Alexander Smith

Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn. - Elizabeth Lawrence

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. - Albert Camus

For more scenes of beauty, see:

Quotes from John Wesley

John Wesley (1703-1791) was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley's teachings provided the seeds for the modern Methodist movement as well as other Christian churches. 

He was a deeply religious and scholarly man who provided the world with some wise thoughts.  Here are some that are quoted to this day:

 


Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.

Think yourself, and let think.

Every one, though born of God in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows by slow degrees.

When I was young I was sure of everything. In a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before. At present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me.

Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry

Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then give all you can.

Passion and prejudice govern the world; only under the name of reason. It is our part, by religion and reason joined, to counteract them all we can.

It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading. A reading people will always be a knowing people.

But if God be for you, who can be against you?

O be not weary of well doing!

Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.

What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.

Vice does not lose its character by becoming fashionable.

We should be rigorous in judging ourselves and gracious in judging others.

Thanksgiving is inseparable from true prayer; it is almost essentially connected with it. One who always prays is ever giving praise, whether in ease or pain, both for prosperity and for the greatest adversity.

God grant that I may never live to be useless!

Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.

The neglect of prayer is a grand hindrance to holiness.

Proceed with much prayer, and your way will be made plain.

In souls filled with love, the desire to please God is continual prayer.

There is no love of God without patience, and no patience without lowliness and sweetness of spirit.

Humility and patience are the surest proofs of the increase of love.
Let your words be the genuine picture of your heart.

It is good to renew ourselves, from time to time, by closely examining the state of our souls, as if we had never done it before; for nothing tends more to the full assurance of faith, than to keep ourselves by this means in humility, and the exercise of all good works.

Happy are they who are sick, yea, or lose their life, for having done a good work.

The bottom of the soul may be in repose, even while we are in many outward troubles; just as the bottom of the sea is calm, while the surface is strongly agitated.

I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them:
1) To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy.
2) To speak no evil of the person they voted against.
3) To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.

Some Things Never Change

Some things never change.

This hit me when just last week, I thought I had run out of staples. I rummaged through my desk to find an old box of staples I remember my dad using back from 1975 or so ... and they worked!
So, in a world of continual change, I have an appreciation for those things we can always bank on. Many things evolve or get improved over time, but here are a few classics that never seem to change:

• The QWERTY keyboard (even though it was designed so the most commonly used letters on old manual typewriters would not get tangled - not sure that problem exists anymore)

• Scotch tape (still as sticky as ever)

• The Slinky (still hours of fun for the young at heart)

• The light a smiling face emanates.

• The gratitude a helping hand elicits.

• The energy an encouraging word creates.

• The self-confidence that unconditional love builds.

Some things never change ... and shouldn't!

by Lee J. Colan

Saturday, October 13, 2012

John Groberg's "The Other Side of Heaven": Excerpts, Part 2

This is part two of excerpts from John H. Groberg's inspirational autobiography, "The Other Side of Heaven", which was originally titled "In the Eye of the Storm".  A wonderful film was made based on this book, starring Christopher Gorham and Anne Hathaway, recounting Groberg's missionary experiences in Tonga.

My first posting of excerpts from this book, which is one of my favorites, occurred on August 6, 2010. They were from the book's first chapter.  To see this posting, go to http://positivethinkersjournal.blogspot.com/2010/08/excerpts-from-other-side-of-heaven-by.html.


After suffering the effects of a major, devastating hurricane that hit the Tongan islands, John Groberg made the following observations:

On the difference attitude makes:
By the end of the fifth week (following the hurricane), the food supply was low and there was still no boat.  Things started to look and feel grim.  I learned that attitude determined a lot.  As people began to think pessimistically, things did get worse for them.  The facts did not lend themselves to much optimism, but some on the island remained optimistic.  I noticed a marked division among the people: some slid into negativism and defeat while others kept their optimism and faith intact and kept moving.  Those who maintained their optimism seemed better off, physically and mentally.


On pondering the things of God:
It was a good time for pondering. I reflected on [Joseph Smith's] statement, "The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out".  

Sometimes the situations that compel us to [ponder], such as illness or disasters, are seen as cursings rather than the blessings they can be if properly used. Is it possible that in our busy, work-a-day world, one of the great blessings the Lord gives us is to put us in a situation where we must be quiet, without a lot of outside disturbance and pressures?

If the purpose of life is to know and love God, then maybe one of Satan's best weapons to keep us from that knowledge is to keep us so busy, even in doing good things, and so occupied with commitments and pressures that we don't allow ourselves to be still so we can know that God is God!

On faith:
What a tremendous blessing faith is! Faith is the opposite of fear.  We fear what we don't understand.  When we understand who God is, who we are, how he loves us, and what His plan for us is, fear evaporates.

On challenges and growth:
When we begin to understand the relationship of opposition to growth and start to sense the type of growth God has designed for us and is trying to help us achieve, we tend to give thanks rather than complain about obstacles to overcome.  People unchallenged are largely people undeveloped, be it physically, mentally, or spiritually.

Just as rockets must overcome the pull of gravity in order to roar into space, so we must overcome the pull of the world in order to soar into the eternal realms of understanding. That is where God is, and that is important!

Nine weeks after the hurricane, John Groberg and others on the small island were close to death for the lack of food.  It was a severely trying physical time, replete with deeply fulfilling spiritual experiences, in which he became very close to God and gained much spiritual strength. He learned that:

The only thing that is important is your standing in the sight of your Father in Heaven.  If that is as it should be, nothing else matters.  If that is not as it should be, nothing else counts.

Both physical and spiritual elements are necessary and are in effect one when fully comprehended and perfected.

We must leave judgment to the Lord.  He alone knows all the facts.  We may have had some experiences with some people at some time, but only God comprehends all experiences with all people at all times. Only He can weigh everything in its proper context.

There aren't many things we must know to fulfill our purpose here, but the few vital things we must know must be known deeply and well.

Mortal life and its environment, while important in terms of growth, is really the abnormal rather than the normal state of things.  I suppose seeing things in their true relationships is among the greatest gifts we can receive.

When a boat with provisions finally arrived, John described his mixed feelings:
Some said how good it was to eat again and to feel this great gratitude to God for saving our lives.  But I felt something deeper. I would never say I was unhappy that life here would go on as before.  But there was a wistful feeling - a subtle sense of postponement, as when darkness finally closes the brilliant colors of a perfect sunset and you realize you must wait for another evening to enjoy such beauty again. 

That perfect sunset, though long since faded, never quite leaves our consciousness and is available for us to draw on as we come face to face with the sordidness and unpleasantness of this earth's challenges.

Here are some more lessons learned - excerpts from the book:
As [my] family called down on the powers of heaven to bless their missionary son in a way they could not physically do, the powers of heaven came down, lifted me up, and in a spiritual way allowed me for a brief moment to once again join my family circle in prayer.  I was one with them. I was  literally swallowed up in the love and concern of a loving family and sensed for a moment what being taken into the bosom of Abraham might be like (see Luke 16:22).  

I was given to understand also that there are other circles of love and concern, unbounded by time or space, to which we all belong and from which we can draw strength.  God does not leave us entirely alone - ever!

I learned that when people are discouraged, they don't need criticism or lectures - they need positive examples of happiness.

If we humble ourselves before God and sincerely ask for His help, He will help us.  First, He will help us see ourselves as we really are, which is at the same time one of the hardest and one of the most blessed things we can understand.

Sometimes when things aren't going right, we think we need to get away from a place or a person.  Sometimes that helps, but most of the time what we need is to get away from our old self and our selfish feelings.

There is no such place in this universe as a place too small or a people too few to not warrant our full effort and more.

To know that He suffered and died for others as well as for us is the greatest single force in the universe to give us the desire and the power to help others.  Literally, the universe is filled with His love, and we should be filled with love because of Him.  Oh, how we should try with all our hearts to become part of this infinite love!

I suppose we were bitten with about the same frequency, whether standing or swinging the machete, but you didn't notice the mosquitoes, the heat, or the smells so much when you were working hard.

It makes you feel good when you have finally accomplished something quite challenging.  You appreciate a home much more when you have labored for a long time to build it.

The more earnestly I prayed, the brighter the light became.  My thought was no longer, "How do I get out of this?" but rather, "What is God's will?  What should I do?  I'll do it, no matter what it is."  I felt much better.  I was still shaking, but light and courage were now replacing darkness and fear.

How sweet sleep is when you have done your duty and followed God's will - no matter what was required!

True faith in God does not require specific physical benefits but rather a sincere desire for God's will to be done, knowing that He knows best. When we understand His will through faith, no further questions or problems exist, for even if His will is different from our original will, His will becomes our will.

God will always provide a way for us to escape from danger if we seek him sincerely, even though the means he uses may sometimes be quite unusual.

The eternal question always has been and always will be not what people act like, or what they look like, or where they come from, or where or when they lived, or what language they speak, but what they are. 

I am convinced that learning another language helps us understand our own language better.  We see things we have never thought of before. The gift of tongues is much more than just saying or understanding words; it involves deeper understanding that come from a divine source far beyond mere words.

I'm not sure we can truly appreciate something until we have lost it, or at least been without it for a while. I wonder if we can actually be grateful for something we have never been without?  

I wondered if maybe even Jesus needed to feel what it was like to be without His Father, if only for a short time, in order to fully appreciate what it is to be with Him and be encompassed by His love.

I learned how important it is to constantly make deposits into this eternal kindness bank, not only for ourselves but also for others.  No kindness shown is ever lost.  It is always deposited and available, with added interest, to be drawn on in time of need by us or others. I wondered if the whole universe isn't balanced by depositing and withdrawing acts of kindness.  Maybe the total amount of kindness available to draw on and bless our lives is the total amount of kindness deposited by all of us as we bless others' lives.

It pays to be kind, not only for what it does to others, but also for what it does to us.

Every day and every situation was less than ideal, and if I let circumstances or conditions govern my actions, I would just sit and rot.  We had to decide ahead what we should do and then move forward and do it regardless of the weather, apathy, or opposition.

The Lord has ways of teaching us truths that many of us miss by refusing to go through some of the required "unpleasant" prerequisites.

If we pray with all of our heart for that which is right, that which is according to God's will, it will be granted as the scriptures promise. The key, of course, is to be willing to accept His will and ask for those things that are according to His will.

I know there are always lessons to learn, as well as blessings to gain, if we are only willing to pay the price for them. I am convinced that there is more potential in the smallest area, or in the seemingly least significant calling, than any of us will be able to achieve.

------

See also Part 3, Excerpts from "The Other Side of Heaven" by John H. Groberg at: 
Part 3, Excerpts from John Groberg's "The Other Side of Heaven"