My Family

My Family

Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy 20th Birthday, Michael!

It's Michael's 20th birthday! Wow, I can't believe I'm the mom of another adult. I feel pretty old right now. Yeah.

I appreciate and love Michael so much. He is a wonderful person. He cares about everyone, and always does what I ask him to do. He is getting ready to serve an LDS mission for two years - something that I really admire him for. He will continue studying to be a doctor when he comes home. I knew that Michael would be a doctor from the time he was little - whenever I took him to see the doctor, he would be so interested in everything in the office. He would try to play with the blood pressure cuff, and everything else! Everything seems to fascinate Michael. I think that's why he is so intelligent. He seems to know something about everything! He has his own computer business and has been able to help several people for reasonable prices. I love that he is involved in politics and really understands what is most important for our country. He loves listening to Glen Beck. He is a pizza delivery man, and makes a ton of money doing it. He has saved up over $8000 for his mission! He is so funny! Just like the rest of my kids, he quotes Simpsons, Seinfield, and other shows. Are you getting the picture that Michael is WONDERFUL??!! Oh, one more thing... my favorite memory is when Michael punched Santa Claus in the nose! Seriously! It was one of the funniest things that has ever happened in our family. And, lucky us, we've got it on video. I wish I could show it to you.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Michael...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Catch Up

Lots of stuff going on - I haven't posted for a long time. I don't really have tons of time to do that right now either, but just an update...

1. We finally finished all of the childrens' clothing sales for our foundation, The Four of Hearts. We made over $3000, so we are feeling really good about it. Most of the money will go toward the feeding program for the kids in the village of Los Roblos in Guatemala. When Kris talked to the orphanage director, she asked if they could use some of the money for a new pre-natal program they are starting... they want to give a dozen eggs and a container of Incamparina (a protein type drink) to each pregnant woman in the village, each week, hoping that it will help them to be more healthy, and that their milk will be able to come in, so they can breast-feed instead of feeding the babies water. 80 babies died in the village last year because their moms couldn't feed them. So sad. I'm so glad that we can help. All the hard work (and I do mean HARD) was worth it.

2. I started a new job - about 20 hours a week. I'm the assistant for a financial advisor, and I, admittedly, know NOTHING about the business. I'm nervous. I'll do fine, but it sure is hard going back to work. Even just part time. But, the good part is that I'll be able to work from my home office, so I won't be GOING anywhere really. Sweet, huh?

3. I was just asked to substitute teach for the 16-17 year old Sunday school class this coming Sunday. *cringe* Last time I was the teacher for that class (7 years ago), I got so annoyed with them NOT listening to me, and making too much freakin' noise, that I told everyone who wanted to learn about the scriptures to come over on the right side of the room. Only about 4 did (Grant was one of them - he knew better than to cross Mom!), and then I closed the divider between the two rooms! I taught the class of kids that came with me, and left the other kids to do whatever they wanted to. I was SO mad. It completely ruined my Sunday. I'm usually really good with teenagers - I taught early morning seminary and loved it! But I can only be just SO patient, and then it's better to just walk away. Later that day, the doorbell rang, and when I opened it - there were the little buggers, with a plate of cookies for me, and an apology. (I think it was the girls' idea, but the boys came too - probably because the girls made them!). Let's hope this Sunday will be better than the one 7 years ago.

4. I'm working with Bethanie and Colette (my fellow cancer survivors), and my plastic surgeon's office, to organize our new Breast Cancer support group. It's taking awhile. We finally decided on a name - Sister Survivors. The biggest road block right now is our logo. We've come up with a few, but can't all agree on just one. The latest idea is that we need to use the breast cancer ribbon in our logo, so I've come up with one that is symbolic of different women coming together to help each other. Here is it...

(this is just my hand drawing - nothing fancy. It will look better when it's professionally done.)

I haven't heard back from everyone, and we can't really go forward until we've made a decision. Everything is waiting on this - the website/blog, the business cards, the posters, signs, everything. *sigh*

5. I got my hair cut and colored. First time since my hair started coming back in. It's nice to have a style now instead of just a head of hair growing back in all different lengths. My boys told me I needed to do something - fast - because the back was growing faster than the top, and it looked like I had a mullet - a major hair disaster! (I don't even know how to spell mullet!)

6. We are moving forward with Michael's mission preparations. He'll get ordained as an Elder this Sunday, and then start the mission papers. On the advise of the bishop, he is getting his passport this week. He might not need it, but it's good to be more prepared. I bet we'll be able to finish his papers super fast. He could have his mission call within a month! We are so excited!

7. My parents are leaving tomorrow to travel around the country - and I do mean AROUND. They are traveling from here - in a big circle - to the east coast (Virginia) and then back. They are taking their new 5th wheel trailer, and they'll be gone a whole month! Ah, to be young and in love! WAIT! Ah, to be RETIRED and in love. What fun!

8. I bought a treadmill from the mom of one of Grant's friends. Now, I just have to use it. Yeah.

9. Grant just returned from a vacation with his friends to San Diego. They drove - 2 cars. They had a blast. There are cool pictures of him doing all kinds of things. Here's one of the pictures...

When I saw this cool surfer dude picture, I asked Grant if they actually knew how to surf. He said no, but they looked it up on the internet before they went! Oh, and he also watched a surfing documentary on TV. So... that's good. (?!) Surfer dude? More like surfer dork! But, he does look pretty cool in the picture, right?

Well, my time is up - I have to go get ready now (for work). Have a great day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Tanner Spear - the son of our good friends, LoriAnne and Steve, just received his LDS mission call to New York, New York! We are so happy and excited for him. My kids are so jealous - every one of them would love to go there on missions!

He leaves June 16th - Let the preparations begin... Good luck Tanner. We love you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Menu Item - Week One

This is a new idea - I'd like to start posting a recipe each Monday. Eventually, I'd love to do a Monday Menu Swap - but for right now, I'll just do it myself.

Recently, I was looking through a fun cookbook, and I found a cool idea - a Fondue dinner! There were three different fondues - one for appetizers, one for the main dish, and one dessert fondue. I'd love to do this with my family - I think the boys would have a great time eating this meal. Here is a cheese fondue that our family has used before - I think it originally came from my sister-in-law, Becca...

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add milk to creamed cheese with mixer - heat slowly. Add salt and garlic. Slowly add Parmesan cheese until melted. Thin with milk if necessary. Serve with French bread pieces. (This is also good with lowfat or fat free creamed cheese - just not quite as wonderful!)

If you and your family have a great fondue recipe, please share it in my comments section.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Spiritual Thoughts

Today, during church, before we took the sacrament, we sang a beautiful hymn that I've only heard a few times. Until today, I hadn't taken the time to read the words. I had some time to ponder the words, and was very touched by the lovely lyrics. It reminded me just how much the Savior loves me. The hymn is called "Reverently and Meekly Now". I thought I would share the lyrics... they are told from the Savior's viewpoint. Enjoy!

Rev'rently and meekly now,
Let thy head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one;
Think what I for thee have done.
With my blood that dripped like rain,
Sweat in agony of pain,
With my body on the tree
I have ransomed even thee.

In this bread now blest for thee,
Emblem of my body see;
In this water or this wine,
Emblem of my blood divine.
Oh, remember what was done
That the sinner might be won.
On the cross of Calvary
I have suffered death for thee.

Bid thine heart all strife to cease;
With thy brethren be at peace.
Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be
E'en forgiven now by me.
In the solemn faith of prayer
Cast upon me all thy care,
And my Spirit's grace shall be
Like a fountain unto thee.

At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.

I love the lines...

Bid thine heart all strife to cease; With thy brethren be at peace.

Cast upon me all thy care, And my Spirit's grace shall be Like a fountain unto thee.

I have loved thee as thy friend, With a love that cannot end.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Random Thoughts - April 8, 2010

I'm doing a random thoughts day today...

What is up with Blogger and pictures?! Is anyone else having problems with the pictures on their blogs NOT showing up? Geez. Every time I open up one of my blogs, something different is missing. Wonder what's going on.

I've been asked to take a job with a neighbor. I used to spend a lot of time with his wife years ago, when I first moved to Utah. She was my very first new friend here. I'm really excited to have an excuse to spend more time with their family. The job is doing the office work for him - he's a financial adviser I think. He sent me the job description, but it all foreign to me. It makes me think that perhaps I'm not going to do well. But, learning new things is good. I just hope my stupid "chemo brain" doesn't interfere with gaining the knowledge that I need (and retaining it).

Rick and Alexmeister are gone on a bike trip - they are riding on the White Rim Trail (in Moab I think). It's Alex's first big bike trip. I'm a little bit worried about him being able to keep up, because he doesn't really ride a bike that often. However, he is a totally MONSTER when it comes to exercise - he'll probably be fine. Rick, of course, is already a biker, so he'll have a great time. As I was cuddling down under my WARM covers in bed last night, I thought about those two poor freezing guys - they are sleeping in sleeping bags - camping out. I was afraid they would freeze to death, but I haven't heard anything, so I guess they survived the night. What is it about sleeping outside that guys love so much? Personally, if I went my WHOLE life without camping, I'd be happy.

I am going with the board of my new cancer support group today, to check out the conference room of some law offices - they've offered us their room for our meetings. I'm pretty sure we'll take it, since we are totally broke and can't really pick and choose. I think, though, that it's going to be REALLY nice. I can't wait.

Kris and I are getting ready for another childrens' clothing sale. We made about $1400 at the last one, and got a bunch more stuff donated, so we have to price all the new stuff. This next sale is in the South Towne Expo center, so I think we'll sell a TON. Don't think we'll be going to Guatemala this summer, though. Plans have changed. More on that later.

Oh my gosh - it's almost 11:00 and I haven't even showered yet. (Hey - don't even think about laughing - I've exercised, and made myself a good breakfast, AND blogged! So, I'm not as far behind as you think.) I've got tons more random thoughts today, but no time to write them down (or spell-check these).

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A New Look

I am in the process of designing a new look for this blog. It's kind of like redesigning a room in your house - you really have to choose carefully, because after all of the work, you'll be stuck with it for awhile. :-)

I found some great paper that I love - and I'm trying to use it for my background. However, Photoshop continues to be a mystery to me. Even with easy instructions from Cutest Blog on the Block, I'm having a hard time. It's ok, though, because I just happen to have a resident computer geek/genius. So, I'll ask him (Michael)to help.

So, if this blog changes in the next week - especially if I lose some stuff, it will be fixed soon. I just have to be patient!

Here's a picture of the paper I found - don't you LOVE it?

Monday, April 5, 2010

April Showers - Blog Giveaways!

This month, on my friend April's blog -April Showers Blog Design - she is doing a BUNCH of give-aways. Two of my blogs will be featured - my Bound to Be Cherished Business Blog was featured a few days ago. And my Incredible Women blog will be featured later this month.

Today, I'm entering the give-away - a Scentsy warmer and candles. I really have my eye on one in particular, so I hope I win!!! You should go and check out April's blog and enter some of her fun give-aways this month. By-the-way, she is the one who designed the Incredible Women blog!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Week


It's been 3 days, as the Jews reckon time, since the murder of the Messiah. (Day 1, is Friday. Day 2, is Saturday. Day 3, is Sunday).

It's early Sunday morning, and Mary Magdalene ventures out to visit the tomb that Joseph of Arimathaea as placed the body of Christ in. The tomb is near Golgotha ("The place of the Skull") also called Calvary, where Christ was crucified.

She approaches the garden tomb, and sees that the stone has been rolled away from the opening. See doesn't notice two angels sitting on the stone as she peers into the tomb. He's gone! She quickly returns to where many of the disciples are gathered----possibly the upper room of Mark John's home. Peter and John are there as she rushes in to tell them that Christ's body is gone from the tomb. Peter---the quick acting, impetuous one--- immediately begins running to the garden tomb. John follows behind, but beats Peter to the doorway of the sepulcher. John stops to look in, but Peter doesn't. Peter rushes in and sees the linen cloth that covered the body in one place, and the napkin which covered the head in another place. John also enters the tomb, and they believe Mary's words, that his body is gone.

Peter and John leave, but Mary stays behind, weeping. She approaches the sepulcher again, and looks inside. She now sees the two angels, sitting within. One at the head and one at the feet of where Christ's body was laid.

They ask her, "Woman, why weepest thou?"

"Because they've taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him", she responds as she turns away. She then sees another man. "Sir", she asks,"If thou hath borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away."

This man, whom she supposes to be the gardener, says in reply, "Mary". The familiarity of the words, and the voice causes her to realize that it is not the gardener, but Christ who speaks to her.

"Rabboni" which is to say "Master". Mary Magdalene, now becomes the first known human being to see and also to converse with a resurrected being. Other beings have been brought back to life, in effect returned to their previous mortal condition, but none have been resurrected to an immortal condition......never to die again.

He then tells Mary to return to the other disciples and tell them that "I ascend to my Father and your Father; and to my God and to your God"

Later that evening, he visits the Apostles who were "assembled for fear of the Jews". He stood in the midst of them, eating fish and honeycomb, and showed them the marks in his hands, feet and side. Later Thomas Didymus, another of 12 had a visit, though he doubted the stories of the others. Thomas felt the wounds in Christ's body. Resurrection is a tough thing to believe in.

He later appears to the Apostles again, while they are fishing on the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias); on the road to Emmaus with Luke and Cleopas; 500 people in Galilee and several other recorded episodes.

Much more could be written and endless commentary added. I feel that I must concur with the final written words of the Apostle John in his gospel "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that the world itself could not contain that books that should be written. Amen"

Truth is stranger than fiction. Is this truth or is it fiction?

End Notes and Bibliography

These previous write-ups were only intended as a positive view of something I find to be interesting and useful. Thanks for allowing me to indulge myself, particularly thanks to those who have no interest in such things. Thanks for being accommodating, without feeling threatened or feeling the need to argue about it. Accommodation and tolerance are keys to peaceful coexistence of all us varied animal species.

I've kept the story in line with the King James Version of the Bible, and have only used that book as a scriptural reference. Additional LDS scripture could add some doctrinal insight into the mix, but I specifically chose not to include it in any of the commentary. I wanted any Christian believing person to find the story interesting, without any concerns as to whether some detail was biblical or not. The general story as told in the Gospels, can be found in Matt 21-28, Mark 11-15, Luke 19-24 and John 12-21.

The sources I've drawn on over the years to help me understand and place the events in chronological order are:

Alfred Edersheim, "Jesus The Messiah". Written by an Austrian Jew who converted to a Presbyterian Minister in the late 1800's. This book and the one he wrote about the Old Testament are excellent. His other books on Jewish culture and it's influence on Christianity are likewise very informative and well worth the money. His books are still available on the market.

Frederic Farrar, "The Life of Christ". Also written in the late 1800's. Farrar was an evangelical Christian author and clergyman. His writing is extremely poetic but still very useful. All other writers since his book, have tried to sound as good, but they can't.

James Talmage, "Jesus The Christ". Familiar LDS book. An LDS Apostle who wrote in the early 1900's. He draws heavily upon Farrar's book and quotes it extensively and at great lengths. I think a useful and informative book, regardless of what Christian tradition you believe in. Very informative, without feeling threatened by Mormon doctrine. The best single-volume for an LDS reader.

Bruce McConkie,"The Messiah Series", specifically "The Mortal Messiah" books. An LDS Apostle who wrote in the 1970's and 1980's. These books are up to date with regard to biblical research and chronology of events. The most informative books for me, but a bit wordy. Written more for the LDS audience. He heavily draws on Edersheim for technical details as well as Farrar and Cunningham Geicke. The best overall books outside of scripture, to understand the life of Christ from the LDS perspective.
Thanks goes to Phil, my husband's friend, for this weeks commentary on the last week of Christ's life. I want to add my testimony of the reality of Christ's life. I do believe that those things recorded in the bible did take place, and that Christ did take upon himself the sins of all of us. He did suffer for those sins. He was indeed resurrected after his death. I believe, without a shadow of doubt that He is my elder brother, who loves me and is mindful of me. I love him with all of my heart.

*just a note - the book by James Talmage, that Phil mentioned - Jesus the Christ - is one of the best books I've ever read. It is a wonderful, inspired commentary on Christ's life. I highly recommend it for anyone who wishes to learn more about him, and become closer to him.

Have a wonderful Easter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Week

Saturday, The Sabbath:

The record is silent for Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. The day of rest.....even for the dead. Joseph of Arimathea placed Christ in a tomb of his own on Friday, after removing him from the cross.....couldn't have a dead man hanging on the cross on a might offend God.

The disciples would likely be in hiding, fearful and disheartened, not knowing what to expect."

Here is a video of the testimonies of the present day apostles of my church - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - the LDS church - the Mormon church:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Week

Sorry this installment is a little late in the day...

Friday, The Darkest Day

Friday: Through the night, since Christ's arrest at the garden, he has been accused. He will be taken before, Annas, Caiaphas, Pilot, Herod and back to Pilot. All of this before the morning. At morning, the final verdict is reached.

As mentioned, he was first taken to Annas, who is Caiaphas' father in law. Annas once held the chief seat of the Sanhedrin, twenty years ago, but still held influence. Corruption in high places has always occurred. Past leaders continue to carry influence. He was then taken to Caiaphas for more accusations. These are Jews heading the Jewish government, with Roman approval. They can carry out punishments but not executions, only the Romans can carry out a death sentence. The Jews are convicting Christ of blasphemy; the crime of claiming to be a god. The problem is, blasphemy is not a crime to the Romans. But, back to blasphemy.

The chief priest asks one of the most amazing questions in history of Christ. "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God." Asking Jehovah, in the name of Jehovah if he is Jehovah. How should he answer this question? He answers it correctly with, "Thou hast said". Which means, what you are saying is true.....yes I am. I am THE Christ. I am the God of the Old Testament, that your forefathers spoke of and pleaded for, for thousands of years. I am here, right in front of you. I am God. I am the Son of God. I am Jehovah. I am the Christ.

At this answer, the chief accuser tears his own cloak in a vain attempt to show indignation, and then pronounces him guilty of blasphemy. He should be put to death under their Jewish law, he declares. The irony here is that the only being to ever walk this earth, who could not be guilty of blasphemy, has just been convicted of it. Even convicted by his own words, because he IS declaring that he IS God.

They know they can't take him to the Romans to approve a death sentence for blasphemy. So when they go before Pilot, a Roman governor of Jerusalem's region, they change the charge. They claim that he is a guilty of insurrection and treason against the Romans. Now that will get you put to death by the Romans. They will kill you for that. Pilot sees nothing in him as a threat to Rome. However, he realizes an opening to rid himself of this problem. He learns that Christ is from Galilee, a region a 100 miles north of Jerusalem, and in another Roman leader's region. It just so happens that the corrupt Jew, Herod, is just that man who has Roman authority to rule over Galilee. The Roman placed him as governor of that northern region. He is in Jerusalem during Passover, because he is Jewish and likes to pretend. However, as Caesar (the real one) said of him, "It is better to be Herod's pig, than his son". Herod feigned his Jewishness by not eating pork, but had no problems executing some of his owns sons and wives. It really was safer to be his pig, than to be his son.

When Christ was sent before Herod, Herod asked some questions, but Christ would not answer him. Christ once referred to Herod in a disparaging way as a "fox". This is the same Herod who had John the Baptist, beheaded. He is son to the Herod who killed the young children and babies at the birth of Christ, 30 years earlier.

Herod sent him back to Pilot. Pilot asked him, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" He answers, "Thou sayest it".....Yes I am the King of the Jews.

Pilot had the Messiah scourged. Scourging is whipping across the naked back with a multi-lash whip that has nails, sharpened stones, and glass embedded in it. He was whipped with 39 strokes. In addition to the thorned crown embedded into his skull by the soldiers, he is suffering greatly.

Pilot attempted to release him because he saw nothing worthy of death in him. Also, Pilot's wife warned that she had a dream that Pilot should not do any harm to him. At Passover, they would release a prisoner on death row----symbolic of atonement. At this time, Pilot asked the crowd if they would prefer Jesus over Barabbas. Whom shall I release? Barabbas who actually was guilty of insurrection against Rome or Christ, whom ye call the King of the Jews? "Whom shall I release unto you. Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?" They call for Barabbas. What shall I do with Jesus? Crucify him! Crucify him!

Pilot literally washes his hands in water, signifying his disagreement and desire not to be associated with what is about to happen. Don't we all wash our hands at a time, when we should have courage? He then sends Christ to be crucified.

Pilot has a plaque put on the cross, over his head, which reads, "The King of the Jews".

At 9:00 AM ("the third hour"), he is nailed with spikes to a wooden beam. The large spikes are driven through his hands, his wrists and his feet. The cross may have been the traditional shape, or it may have been an "X" shape. The Romans had no particular pattern they used.

12:00 ("the sixth hour"): All of the apparent agonies experienced the night before in Gethsemane seemed to return. The cross was only a physical suffering, now the deep soulful suffering is returning . "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It seems that part of the great Atonement being wrought by Christ, at this darkest hour, was to have God the Father withdraw from him. Christ experienced even this degree of loneliness, perhaps part of experiencing the agony of all forms of suffering. He is left completely alone through these darkest hours. Accompanying this was darkness in the sky, thunderings, earthquakes. The God of Nature was suffering. This lasts until 3:00 PM.

"I thirst". After suffering for hours, he pleads for a drink. They taunt him with a sponge of vinegar.

"Forgive them, for they know not what they do". The Roman soldiers were carrying out orders. Perhaps others are targets of his mercy as well.

"Behold the mother". A plea to John to care for his apparently aged and widowed mother. Concerned about others, at a time like this?

3:00 PM ('the ninth hour") "It is finished" and he voluntarily gave up the Ghost. He completed the agonizing work of the atonement. It was apparent that he had complete control over his life and his death----which he did. To have only lived for 6 hours on the Cross was unusual. The cruelty of the cross was the lingering agony of thirst, hunger and suffering. Death was a relief that did not come for days. If they wanted to accelerate the death, they would break the legs of the criminal. The additional shock would then lead to a quicker death. Christ, fulfilling ancient Old Testament scripture, died with no broken bones.

It should be realized, that to be crucified on a cross was not an experience unique to Christ. The Romans carried out this act of barbarism on 1,000's if not 10,000's of men and women. The entire Appien Way to Rome in Italy, was lined with corpses suspended on crosses. They would haul captured leaders of other nations along this road to Rome, so they would be intimidated.

A final sword is driven into his side, to insure his death.

"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" An Aramaic expression uttered by Christ which is "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Next time you hear a character on a TV sitcom or a co-worker utter a portion of the expression as a humorous punch line, think about how this Son of a God intended the expression to be used. Have you ever felt this lonely, that even God disappeared? Haven't we all? Realize, that when it happens to you, that it even happened to the most righteous person to walk the earth. He did no wrong to bring the feeling on, and perhaps you've done nothing wrong either. Perhaps, it's just part of the mortal experience.

A Roman centurion, standing nearby added a sealing testimony to what he had just witnessed, "Surely this was the Son of God".


Tomorrow is my church's semi-annual conference (The LDS church - Mormons). I'll be listening to the voices of our leaders, including God's living prophet, for 4 hours. I can't wait. And then on Sunday, we'll be lucky enough to listen to 4 more hours of talks. I really love Conference. Tomorrow night, all of my sons and my husband will be attending the session of Conference called the "Priesthood" session. This is such a special time for them to be together as priesthood holders. This will be the last time all 5 of them are together for Priesthood session for awhile, because Michael will be leaving on his mission before the end of summer. Oh, I just remembered - my youngest, Matthew, will be traveling with his Priesthood quorum to Salt Lake City to attend the session in person at the Conference Center. How exciting for him. Have a great day tomorrow.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Chronicles - Thursday

Easter Chronicles - Thursday:

There is a long day ahead of us.

The rest, from last nights sleep, for Christ, will be his last. Today is the last day of peace until the atonement is completed. The conspiracies are in place.

Today is spent in preparation for the Passover meal. This meal will occur after the sun sets. When 3 stars appear in the sky, the next day begins in the Jewish way of reckoning time. So as the sun sets on their Thursday (and our Thursday), Friday (Passover) begins when 3 stars are in the sky.

Peter and John are sent ahead to Jerusalem today, to prepare the meeting place of Christ and the 12 apostles. They need an appropriate place to partake of the Passover. They are to meet a man who will show them to a room that is to be prepared. This has been called "the upper room". It is presumed to be the upstairs room of the home of the teenage boy Mark John. The same Mark John who later wrote the Book of Mark. He was young, and it is known that his family's home was often used as a gathering place. The preparation is done discreetly, possibly so that Judas does not know where they will be gathering that night, so that he doesn't pre-warn Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin and the other leaders of the day. This will give them some time to partake of the Passover meal, and the final teaching moments that Christ will have with the 12.

It is estimated that 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 people are in Jerusalem at this time. (This estimate is based on writings that indicate that 100,000 to 200,000 lambs were slaughtered on this occasion. Figuring 10 people per lamb is where the number comes from.)

The Passover practice is long and complex. They will sing, eat, and pray in the traditional Passover. Sing and repeat the Hallel's we know as Psalm 113 to 116. In addition to what traditional elements they may have practiced that night, Christ also added several elements. Examples include, eating of bread as a sacramental emblem.

Reading the Book of John, chapters 13 to 18 shed great light on today's story. John, who was in attendance, recorded many items from that night that the other writers of the Gospels did not included. Matthew, Mark and Luke wrote about Christ's life, but they did not include everything. Their writings are similar, and are considered "The Synoptic Gospels" because they tell a similar, singular story. John later read their accounts, and then wrote his account. His gospel has many unique stories, and he wrote extensively about these final hours.

In summary, John wrote of: loving one another, warnings, and The Comforter (Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit). All of these well known stories, and several others, all occurred in a matter of hours during Christ's last hours on earth. 5 full chapters of the Gospel of John, cover only a few hours of Christ's life. Christ's final words.

Wouldn't the words freely spoken in your final hours of life on earth, when you knew that it was the end, be some of the most important, useful and sincere?

What would you say in the final hours? What would you want to hear from some else as they were knowingly going to die?

Is it I?

It's time for the final supper. We must be inside as the three stars appear in the evening sky, thereby beginning a new day ("Friday"). It's time for Passover.

The Upper Room Setting:
They sit and lounge on the floor around a circular table. Lying on pillows or occasionally each other. Christ, Peter, John and Judas are near each other. This apparently because of Peter's position as leader, and John and Judas's seemingly private communication with Jesus during the meal.

At some point, Christ tells them all that one of you will betray me. He has come to the point in time, when Jesus of Nazareth the Carpenter's Son, knows all things. He knows that Judas has conspired to betray him to the evil men of the day.

One of you will betray me.

As most honorable and thoughtful men will do, they first consider if they themselves are the source of the offense. They generally and individually ask, "Is it I?" . Will I be the one who offends this great man that I've been following around for several years? "Lord, is it I?"

John seems to privately ask Christ who it is. He then says privately to John, that the one who will take sop is the one. Christ then offers sop to Judas.

As Christ is either presenting some of food or possibly sacramental emblems to the 12 and to Judas, Judas feigns ignorance and asks, "Is it I?". "Thou sayest"......YES!

When you read this phrase at this time and later during one of the trials before the Sanhedrin, Christ answers several questions with "Thou sayest" or some similar version. In the wording of the day, this phrase means an affirmative. It means that what you are saying is correct. It means yes.

Yes, you are the betrayer. Then Christ says, "What thou doest, doest quickly". Judas then leaves. Apparently John and possibly Peter are the only ones realizing that Judas is a betrayer. Later they confirm that Judas was not only a thief (he was the 12's treasurer and was known to steal some from their money bag), but also a murderer.

They now have some time alone to continue with teaching, now that a troublesome one with a dark and contemptuous spirit has left the room. Judas likely heads to his co-conspirators, to inform them where they can find the victim of their plans.

The Discourse on Love

Setting: The upper room.

Thursday Evening (Friday): Sometime through the meal, Christ begins to prepare and wash everyone's feet. Peter disagrees, because he thinks that is beneath Christ's station. Christ tells Peter that he doesn't understand how important it is, so let him do it. Peter then wants his whole body cleaned. Christ says that if his soul is clean, then Christ only needs to wash their feet. He says that all of the 12 are clean, except 1 (Judas). If Judas hasn't yet departed, then his feet were also cleaned. The entire message of the act, is that no one is above service to others. Even the Messiah of the world, who is hours away from a night of brutality and a violent death, takes it upon himself to wash the feet of 11 or 12 other men. He has washed their feet (i.e. served them), they should now wash other peoples feet (i.e. serve them).

Judas has left at some point here.

Now Christ begins a discourse on love towards other people. The is one of the greatest messages that is recorded from that night's activities. Love other people, to the same extent that he has loved us.

Would you being serving others hours before your impending death? Hours before an unjust execution that is waiting for you? When is your impending death anyway? 30 years from now? Tomorrow?


Setting: upper room.

Thursday Evening: The Messiah is going to die and he's telling them that he is. They may not fully grasp what he's telling them, after all, they've seem him do many incredible things. Water to wine, walking on water, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, healing leprosy, etc. How is it possible for him to die? That they accept him as the Messiah, is a forgone conclusion. However, they may not have fully grasped the concept of what form of victory the Messiah was to bring, or the atonement and certainly not the near-future resurrection. They saw many super-human feats, but they were still mortals with limited abilities and knowledge......just like us.

Just like us, they had to figure things out. And just like us, they are about to live on the earth without the physical manifestation of God embodied in the form of the Carpenter's Son.

So here it is. He's telling them that he's leaving and they can't come with him. He tells them not to fear, because he's preparing a room in a mansion for them. And the great principle being taught----and it applies to us----is that he will not leave them comfortless. His words are, "I will not leave you Comfortless" . Paraphrasing, he says that he will pray to the Father and he will send another Comforter.

The Christian world will disagree on different particulars of the Holy Trinity, but I think it is generally acknowledged that this comforter is the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost that came to the worthy masses on the Day of Pentecost. That member/version of the Godhead is available to all of us, to bring us comfort during times of difficulty. These 11 apostles, and all of the disciples of the day, had a great reason to suffer and fear for their lives once Christ left.

If a person asks God for help, he will not leave you comfortless...even though we don't see Christ walking our streets.

The Arrest

Setting: The Garden of Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the temple.

Thursday Evening: With the Passover meal, prayers and ordinances completed, the Messiah and the remaining 11 head to the garden on the Mt of Olives. The general route would have had him walk past or through the temple grounds. Then down through the Kidron Valley, which is adjacent to the eastern wall of the temple. The valley was much deeper then than it appears today. Most photos from the sky, of the temple mount today are taken from the south. The Kidron valley and it's stream is to the right, with the Mount of Olives rising up the other side.

Once at the garden gate, he tells 8 of the Apostles to wait at the bottom, while Peter, James and John walk further up the hill and into the garden with him. He then asks these 3 leading Apostles to wait nearby, as he alone goes a bit further, about a stones throw. It is here, in the Garden of Gethsemane, that the great suffering that is associated with the Atonement occurred. He began to pray to the Father, asking if it is possible, to remove the bitter cup that he is about to drink. After all of the courage, emotional strength, moral fortitude that exhibited in his life of perfection, at this crucial moment, even this Son of God, asked that if it is possible, please don't let this happen. Remove the bitter cup, unless it is God's will that he drink it. But, he knows, and the Father allows, that it must happen.

The record then says that an angel appeared to him to strengthen him. Some have conjectured that it might have been Michael. In any case, the suffering for the pains, sufferings, sickness and sins of the people begins. He sweat great drops of blood from his body from the agony of it. He lies prostrate on the ground from the suffering. Blood which is and represents life, is now shed to give eternal life to the masses of humanity that so desire it. After an untold amount of passing time----hours?----he rises up, and finds that the 3 leading Apostles have fallen asleep. Expressing some disappointment, he asks why they couldn't have stayed awake while he suffered.

He proceeds to the bottom of the hill and finds the others. Then approaches Judas with a crowd of men. It's likely that Judas leads the men first, to the upper room, when he had been excused by Christ. Finding that Jesus was not there, he then led the mob to the garden where Christ often went. Seeing Christ, he completes his treachery by giving the prearranged sign of greeting the Messiah with "Master" and a kiss. Christ, knowing what's happening, replies, "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" Imagine the words! Paraphrased as, "You betray the Son of Man of Holiness (i.e. God) with a kiss!"

Upon the signal of the greeting kiss being given, the mob moves forward to arrest him. "Arrest", because they are led by the legal governing body of the Jewish nation, the Sanhedrin. As they then move forward, Peter pulls a sword and swings at one of the men in the mob. Cuts his ear off. Then, through the shock of the reaction amongst the crowd, Christ reproves Peter by saying, "Peter, don't you know I can call down twelve legions of angels?" Meaning, I don't need your sword or anyone elses to defend me. Besides Christ's own power resident within him, he could call down twelve legions (twelve thousand) angels to defend him. Christ is going to go willingly to the slaughter, as millions of lambs have done for thousands of years of Jewish ritualistic sacrifice.

Then above all of this, Christ heals the ear of Malchus, the man who approached to take him. Even at this hour of violence, he takes the time to heal the severed ear of an enemy.

We will end at this point. Realize, that while you are asleep tonight, that Christ will be spending the evening being beaten, whipped, spit upon, thorns driven into his head, accused, harassed, questioned, abused. He does not sleep nor rest until his death tomorrow.

Peter’s Denial

One of the great, thought provoking aspects of the story of Peter's denial, is that we even know anything about it. You'll only hear this from me (Phil), as I've never heard this spoken of elsewhere. Why do we know this story at all? Peter was not with any other disciple when it happened. Yet it's recorded in the gospels. I say, it's because it was such a searing and scaring learning experience for the man, that Peter shared the story with those who recorded. In any case.......

Thursday Evening: Christ has been arrested an hauled to a building. John and Peter follow. John has influence, and may have been at one time a righteous member of the Sanhedrin or other organization. Because of this influence, he is able to get himself and Peter into the court yard.

Earlier that night, while in the upper room, when Peter was so zealous about having Christ wash his whole body and not just his feet, Christ told him that he would deny him 3 times, before the cock crows the next day. Peter was adamant that he would not and that he would die for Christ, as did the others say it.

At some point, Peter comes near a fire burning in a courtyard. As he warms himself, a maid accuses him of being with Christ. He denies that he knows Christ. A bit later, another woman also recognizes him, and openly says that he was with Christ. At this point, he swears an oath to the people, that he is not with Christ. About an hour later another openly accuses him by saying "Thy speech betrayeth thee". Meaning that Peter is a Galilean as is Christ, and they can tell by his accent. His accent is giving him away. At this point he angrily denies that he knows Christ. And "immediately" -----immediately----the cock crew. At this point, the most graphic and painful vision you can imagine occurs. Luke records that the "Lord turned and looked upon Peter". Somehow, in the middle of his accusers and the abuse, Christ is able to look through an opening in the crowd, or through a window into the courtyard---somehow he is able to make eye contact with Peter. Peter then recalls the Lords words and prophecy that Peter would deny him three times......."and Peter went out and wept bitterly".

Image the scene. Would you have been any different? Does you speech betrayeth you as a Christian? Does your speech allow you to be justly accused of knowing Christ?

The eye-to-eye contact with anyone we've denied knowing in their hour of need would be a form of hell. Put yourself in his shoes. What would you have done?

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