New Book Monday

Today has been a little rough. My two daughters are both having a hard day. One is home from school and one is away at school. I had one on video chat and the other in the room with us. They both feel the same way and, sometimes, it’s just hard to know what to say. I have my dark moments, but I know where mine come from. They are both high achievers, hard on themselves, and don’t do a lot of mental health self-care. Our daughter who is away at college has decided she’s moving home and will go to the local community college. It’s hard for her to be away and it’s only gotten worse this year. I miss her, but I don’t want her to miss out on experiences she needs for her growth and development just because it seems hard. It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes. Our youngest had a very busy week last week and has mounds of homework facing her and she is overwhelmed. Not too mention, soccer practice, a boyfriend, and JROTC practices and events. Busy young women. I’m proud of the way they persevere and sad for them when it all becomes too much. I wish I could help them to understand what I now know in my late forties. Unfortunately, these kinds of lessons are unique to the individual and take personal experience to learn. <sigh>

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The good news is that it is New Book Monday and the new book is…Doing Good is Simple by Chris Marlow. Yippee! Another book that I wasn’t expecting to be drawn to, but here it is, in my hands and I’m ready to go. It looks fun to read and is fairly short – only eight chapters, which happens to work out perfectly for my blogging schedule. That’s a happy thing.

Who is Chris Marlow? I’ll let him introduce himself from his “About” page on the website.

I founded Help One Now after meeting a starving young orphan at an abandoned gas station in Zimbabwe. I was compelled to dedicate my life to seeking justice by empowering high-capacity local leaders to care for orphans and vulnerable children, and to help them see their communities transform. My passion is organizing tribes of everyday people—people like you!—to partner with global movements that do good.

I’m available to speak at conferences and churches (you can find more information about that here), and I also coach leaders who are looking to launch, grow, and sustain their organizations well.

I live in downtown Raleigh with my wife, two daughters, and a German Shepherd pup named Skye.

He has two websites that he can be reached through, the one above, doinggoodissimple.com and helponenow.com. The first site has a lot about this book and the second focuses on the actual work being done around the world. Help One Now has a Facebook page and the organization is also on Instagram (@helponenow), where Chris can be found @chrismarlow. Both are on Twitter using the same names. This is a pretty phenomenal guy who is involved in great things. I look forward to reading what he has to say about how I can “simply” help and fit it into my life right now.

Today, the conference talk was The Great Plan of Redemption by Linda S. Reeves and was about turning to God for repentance, when your own sin has caused you to move away from God and His Son. That’s really the problem with sin and, as I imagine, why God hates it so much. It’s not just that we might be harming others, but we are harming ourselves by creating unneeded distance between us and God. Linda quotes Amulek (a Book of Mormon prophet), who says,

I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; … if ye will repent … , immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.
Immediately. Right now. We will have access to the plan of redemption with no wait. We can be free of our guilt, fear, pain, immediately. There’s no sooner time it can happen. She quotes another of our leaders, Apostle Jeffery R. Holland,
However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made … , or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.
What a tremendous thought and blessing. There is nothing so bad we can do that it cannot be forgiven. Nothing! We can never “sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement.” It’s hard to put into words how much peace that brings to my heart and mind. It doesn’t matter how bad I feel about what I’ve done, what matters is that Jesus Christ has paid the price and is willing to help me overcome it. Satan would have me dwell on those negative feelings and to wallow in my guilt, but that is not God’s way. He allows us to be convicted so that we feel Godly sorrow, not the “I feel bad because I got caught” sadness that Satan would have us live in. Satan’s way is to hide what we’ve done, to keep secrets, and that is no way to go on with life. You get stuck and actually can’t move forward. Repentance frees you to move forward and to progress. What a miracle!
This brings me to the Book of Mormon and chapter four. This is where a lot of people get caught and don’t move forward. Similar to the Old Testament, there is a murder pretty quick. Only this one has a purpose that is clearly stated, “It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.” As I mentioned from chapter three, we know that there are reasons why Lehi and his family needed those records – to preserve their language, to know their genealogy, and to have the words of the prophets. These records were very important.
You might be wondering what led up to the murder. Well, I’ll tell you. Laban still had them and it became Nephi’s turn to try to get them. In his commentary he tells us “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.” He was out of ideas and none of the ones they had worked, so now what God? Nephi entered the city and found Laban passed out drunk on the ground! Well, that had to have been a surprise. Here’s the guy he needed to see. Nephi stood there awhile looking at Laban, wondering what to do, when the Spirit spoke to him. It told him that Laban had been delivered into his hands so that he might be able to obtain the plates. How was he to do this? Laban had to perish. Nephi was horrified and responded – “Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.” No way, God. Pick a different answer ’cause I’m not doing that one! He is brought back into remembrance of the things he was told earlier – that they needed those plates and that their entire society would fall without them. He realized that God was right, there was no other way.
Nephi was obedient to what he was told to do and killed Laban. He then took Laban’s clothes and put them on. He went to Laban’s house and found the servant who had the keys to the treasury. This servant, Zoram, thought that Nephi was Laban. Nephi asked him for the records to take them to the brethren of the church, who Zoram assumed were the elders of the Jews, who he knew Laban had been with. They went together, but when they came to Laman and Lemual, of course they thought it was Laban coming to kill them so they started to run. Zoram, realizing who they were, started going the other way. Nephi managed to alert his brothers to who he really was and to grab hold of Zoram so he could make an oath with that he wouldn’t harm him. These oaths were those most serious of promises and Zoram was pacified. In fact, Nephi invited him to travel with their family and he agreed. That brings us to chapter five and I’ll tell you all about that one tomorrow.

 

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