Giving My Children Back To School Blessings

As another year of school was starting, I grew excited at the chance to do what I hope becomes a family tradition:  Back to School Blessings.  This gives me a chance to excersize my Priesthood, to be an example to my wonderful boys, and give them peace of mind of another school year through the blessings they receive.

As the time for school approached, I ran myself through a spiritual checklist as I to evaluate my own worthiness as a Priesthood Holder.  Again, I see this as a reminder to live worthily so the blessings of the Priesthood can be accessible to those in my life.

Father and Sons Campout – Priesthood Fireside

This weekend, our ward had a Father and Son’s Camp out. I drove myself and my three sons over 90 miles to our destination on a Friday afternoon. I had tried to get out of work early, but it didn’t work out that way and by the time we left my house it was already 6pm.

I was worried that there wouldn’t be any light left to set my tent up but didn’t worry too much, having faith that things would work out. It was dark and overcast at my house when we left and by the time we reach our destination, there was literally a column of sunlight gleaming down from between the clouds. Just as I had trusted would happen.  It had shed enough light to set up the tent without difficulty.

There was already a group playing kickball, but I decided to just sit by my tent and relax while my three sons would squeal and cry over the red kick ball that I had brought. Besides, if I had played kickball it would have been completely unfair to the opposite team!

The fireside seemed to be exactly what I needed. It was, of course, about the Priesthood and service.   There was a great lesson presented.  In a nutshell, those successful people around us that were known to give generously had done so before the fact that there were successful.

They were also great leaders, but not for the reasons why you would think. They were kind and generous, which in turn had people gravitate towards them. Their genuine willingness to help and give their time, money and talents had brought them blessings of true happiness. True happiness is being in the service of your fellow men. The Priesthood brings happiness by its sole purpose of serving others.

This has had me pondering the whole weekend about the things I can do to help those around me.

My Family
I can be a more loving husband and patient father.

My Friends
I can be more bold in bringing up the gospel in day to day situations.

My Ward Family
I can get over my habit to float to the side and stay unnoticed and make a better effort. I can find ways to serve them. I can try to take my callings to the next level.

The Blessings from service are evident as I had arranged to go visit a family today with my home teaching companion.  I had received good news upon my visit that the father had received a great job offer, ending a period of worry.  I was uplifted to hear about the blessings they had received through prayer, obedience and faith in Heavenly Fathers.

I am excited and filled with enthusiasm as this month, I am going to concentrate on service to my fellow men.

Our First Time to the Temple

Earlier this month, my wife and I had the opportunity to go to the temple and get our endowments and sealed together…on the same day!

It was quite and experience and I tried to prepare by taking the whole prior week off to not worry about work and to read the Book of Mormon and spend time with my family. After all, I was thinking, that I will be able to spend time and all eternity with my children, who are gifts from Heavenly Father, to raise, love and teach the gospel to.

It was like a first wedding for ourselves as well. When we were younger, we tied the knot in a drive through wedding chapel in Las Vegas!

We had people from our ward there, the Brother and Sister who were there as Ward Missionary Leaders to host us and have the Missionaries teach us the discussions. Our Bishop, who I admire greatly for his example he sets and his hard work and love he pours upon the people of his Ward. Our friends that we’ve made in the 21 months we’ve been going to Church. Our friends that I have from work, who are coincidentally members of the church as well and instrumental to our growth in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The day was perfect for us. It was gloomy and rainy in Las Vegas, just how we’d hope our wedding day would have been. We met my friends, Joey and Sabrina, and Mike and Crystal. I felt guided the whole time I was in the temple, by the brethren who are there to make me feel welcomed and help me learn.

There was a lot to take in and we definitely need to go back many, many more times to figure things out. Because we were  doing our endowments and sealing the same day, we were whisked away to the Sealing room to be married forever just as soon as we made it to the Celestial room of the Temple.

It was a great feeling to be in the House of the Lord among friends, whom I consider family. I urge those who have not yet made it to the temple to go as soon as you can. There are blessings to be had by attending.

Back To School Father’s Blessing

At the end of the Summer I read a talk from the 173rd Semiannual General Conference, October 2003 in the November 2003 Ensign by Elder Merrill J. Bateman, Of the Presidency of the Seventy.

Elder Bateman says:

It is expected that worthy holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood will use the power delegated to them to bless others, starting with their own families.

I remember over a year ago when my Bishop urged fathers to give back to school blessings to their children before the beginning of school.  My heart filled with joy concerning the blessings that were available to my family.  I shortly learned afterwards that it was something a Melchezidek Priestholder would have to do.

That Sunday, my home teacher was coming over to visit our family.  As he gave his lesson, it came to me that he could bless my children.  He agreed to and then each of my sons at school age were blessed.  The blessings he gave were exactly what my children needed and I was grateful for his willingness to serve.

I am also grateful that he was able to give a blessing, as he was a worthy priesthood holder.  Even though he has moved to another state, I still think of him as an example of who to be – A Worthy Priesthood holder.  You never know when you will have to exercise your priesthood and this gives a great incentive to stay pure, clean and worthy.

How do you give a Blessing?  What do you say?

As a worthy holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood, you lightly place your hands on the person receiving the blessing and do the following:

  1. Calls the person by his or her full name.
  2. States that he is giving the blessing by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
  3. Gives a blessing as the Spirit directs.
  4. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

During our last Summer FHE (Family Home Evenings) I gave my children blessings.  I had read an article on lds.org titled “Me? Give a Blessing?” by Brad Larsen in the January 2005 New Era issue and received from good advice from it.  Brad Larsen says:

I remembered my dad. Whenever he had to give a blessing, he went quietly into another room and prayed first.

Before I gave the blessings, I went into another room and prayed to our Heavenly Father.  It really did help.

We pulled a dining room chair into the living room and one by one I placed my hands on their head and gave them a blessing as the Spirit had directed me to.  After I did my two oldest school-aged boys, the youngest happily hopped into the chair for a blessing as well.  We all smiled at his eagerness and I gave him one as well.

After looking back at that night, I now feel stronger about utilizing the Priesthood often and making it a regular occurrence and readily available to my family.  I am grateful for the priesthood which I hold and the blessings it can bring to peoples lives.

To read Elder Merrill J. Bateman’s talk, click here.

To read “Me? Give a Blessing?” by Brad Larsen, click here.

God Has to Follow the Rules Too!

One of the things that I’ve learned over the past half year is that Heavenly Father is bound by laws. At first, it didn’t seem right – that Heavenly Father, a perfect being, of all people would have a follow laws and rules? You’ve got to be kidding me!

But it makes sense.

Things have to be done a certain way for a reason. The universe has to have order. We have the laws of physics. We have the laws of mathematics. We have national laws. We have state laws. We have city laws…

The point is, things work out better when you follow the rules. Our rules are the Commandments, which are made for our benefit. If we can follow the commandments faithfully, it paves a way to many blessings, both spiritually and temporally.

God promises a blessing for obedience to particular commandments. The promise that he makes is called a covenant. A covenant is a sacred agreement or mutual promise between God and a person or a group of people. If we choose to obey our end of the covenant, we receive promised blessings. If we choose not to obey, he withholds the blessings. Not being obedient takes away from ourselves.

If we keep the Lord’s commandments, he is bound by his promise to bless us as stated in Doctrine and Covenants.

I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. (D&C 82:10)

Think about the following scenario: A Father promises to buy his son a pet rat if he gets all A’s on his report card. His son tries his hardest and receives an ‘A.’ This promise was made for the son’s benefit. What would happen if the Father did not follow through with his promise? The son would be disheartened and perhaps not do as good on his next report card? The father is bound by his promise, it is only right.

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20-21)

It is comforting and motivating to know that there are blessings in store when following the commandments given to us. I find it absolutely amazing and humbling that our Heavenly Father has to follow the rules as well.

He and his son are our examples. What great role models to have!

Sustained

Sunday was Stake Conference. We got to sleep in an extra hour because it started at noon. The entire building was full and we ending up sitting in the back. Shortly after the first hymn and the invocation they began to read the names of members who were to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. My name was read from the short list and I felt exceedingly great joy as I stood there and was sustained by the entire Stake.

It has been a whirlwind: receiving the Aaronic Priesthood and learning, serving and growing in that capacity and now being able to be a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. And now more than ever, I will strive to be humble and obedient. As a husband and father, I understand the many responsibilities and blessings that come with the Melchizedek Priesthood: the ability to greater serve my family and others with blessings for direction, healing and comfort.

That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. (D&C 121:36)

Though he may not know it, a home teacher of mine set a great example in my early membership as I asked him on the spot to offer a blessing for my children. I watched him bless my children for the coming school year. I am glad to be able to be able to do as he once did.

And once again I have put my friends on the spot in asking them to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood by the laying on of hands. I also see the importance of remaining worthy-as my home teacher was able to exercise his priesthood at a moments notice and as my friends are able to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood in such short notice as well.

The Gospel According To St Matthew: Seek First the Kingdom of God

For the past week I have been carefully reading The Gospel According to St Matthew of the New Testament in the Bible. There are mounds of knowledge and information from this one book alone. I find comfort in knowing that the wisdom of Jesus Christ contained in this book has been available to many before me. In this post and those to follow I will occasionally write about what I have taken from the Gospel According to St Matthew.

There are many temporal things in the world that are sought after by men such as: money, houses, cars and fame. You see the shows on MTV: “Cribs” and “Pimp my ride.” The next generation of men and women as well as the generations before have been programmed to want such worldly things. I admit, I too have been influenced to want such things.

In the New Testament, Matthew Chapter 6 reads:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

I have realized that before I seek after the riches of this world, I should seek the spiritual riches first. I should lay up my treasures in heaven. If I were a perfect person, I would not have any want for the temporal. I would not have any want for the things which are temporary. I would only seek the spiritual things, the things that would last forever.

In the New Testament, Matthew it reads:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:24-33)

What I take from these verses are:

No man can both seek temporal riches (wealth) and spiritual riches (God) at the same time. It is wise to not worry about the every day needs of your temporary body. Heavenly Father knows our needs and will provide for our needs if we put him first.

An example is the Law of Tithing: Paying a full tithe which is 1/10th your increase. Even the concept of 1/10th your increase must be of divine origins-it is an easy number to discern! Move the decimal point 1 plays to the right. My belief is that tithe is necessary because:

  • It helps the Church grow.
  • It is a solemn act of consecration that proves your faith.
  • It humbles us and allows us to remain meek and obedient in other commandments and covenants.
  • It allows you to become more wise with your money; that you may do more with that 90% than you would have with the 100%.
  • You will receive blessings invaluable and definitely valued greater than that 10% given.
  • Your Heavenly Father has given us 100% of what we have, giving back a mere 10% is nothing in comparison.

As stated following in Doctrine and Covenants 130:

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20-21)

This says that obedience is a two way street between ourselves and Heavenly Father. If we follow the commandments Heavenly Father has given, Heavenly Father has no choice but to give the blessings which were conditionally promised.

In the Old Testament, Malachi Chapter 3 and in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi Chapter 24 it states:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10, 3 Nephi 24:10)

Heavenly Father promises that if tithe is paid, he will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing.