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Archive for June, 2012

The First Article of Faith of my church is:

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

The Father and Son have glorified bodies. The Holy Ghost is personage of spirit that can dwell in our hearts.

Our Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits.

Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father in the flesh.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus taught “I and my Father are one” in John 10:30. They are one in that they are united in purpose.

Jesus saith unto Philip, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” (John 14:9)

If we were to see the Father and Son standing side-by-side, their appearance would be essentially identical. The difference would be that Jesus has nail prints in his hands and a spear wound in his side.

Recall that Jesus appeared as a resurrected being to his disciples in John 20. He instructed Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Has anyone ever seen the Father and Son standing side-by-side?

Stephen was a believer. He was tried by the Sanhedrin and then killed by a mob.

Acts 7

[55] But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
[56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
[57] Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
[58] And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
[59] And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
[60] And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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Jesus Christ taught the “greatest commandment” in the following Biblical account.

Mark 12

[28] And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
[29] And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
[30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
[31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

* * *

Most Christians rightly conclude that loving the Lord God is the greatest commandment.

But Jesus’ preface statement is essential, “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.”

This declaration is called the “Shema.”

Jesus also taught “I and my Father are one” in John 10:30.

* * *

Shema means “listen and obey” in Hebrew.

The term Shema is used by extension to the whole part of the prayers that commences with Shema Yisrael and comprises Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37–41.

In ancient times, the Kohanim, who were Jewish priests, recited the Shema in Solomon’s temple.

Devout Jews repeat the Shema in the morning and at night.

Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

Barukh sheim k’vod malkhuto l’olam va’ed.
Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.

* * *

Please listen to these versions.

Shema.mp3   Courtesy of: Wildolive Sound Files

YouTube File 1

YouTube File 2

And please learn to recite the Shema yourself in Hebrew.

* * *

– Tom Irvine

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I have been thinking lately about the power of words. Too often, people use harsh criticism against others. There may be instances where criticism is justified, but these should be very rare.

Critics may act out of pride, envy or fear. This is especially noticeable on Internet blogs and message boards where people often make personal attacks against others anonymously.

On the other hand, we have daily opportunities to give one another words of kindness and encouragement. When I walk around my neighborhood, people are very friendly. They wish me a good morning or good day.

I have assembled some scriptures and quotes on this topic which I hope you will enjoy.

* * *

Just as healthy food and exercise gives physical strength to one’s body, hearing words of encouragement gives a boost of emotional and spiritual strength to one’s soul. This week’s Torah portion is the last one of the book of Genesis. There is an ancient custom to exclaim at the completion of one of the five books of Moses the following encouraging words, “Be strong, and may we be strengthened!” We can light up people’s lives and do a great act of kindness when we use our words to give them a boost of strength. (Genesis 47:28-50:26)

– Nesanel Yoel Safran

* * *

The Apostle Paul taught:

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

* * *

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
– Mother Teresa

* * *

Kind words don’t cost anything but they go far for the people receiving them. And, it feels good to say nice things.

– Daylle Deanna Schwartz

* * *

Kind words not only lift our spirits in the moment they are given, but they can linger with us over the years…..Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes….Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes.

– Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
(April 2005 general conference, Ensign, May 2005, p. 26)

* * *

We sometimes sing a hymn in my church which has the following chorus:

Oh, the kind words we give shall in memory live
And sunshine forever impart.
Let us oft speak kind words to each other;
Kind words are sweet tones of the heart.

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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Proverb 28:20

A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that makes haste to be rich shall not go unpunished.

1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

* * *

Feds Arrest Peregrine CEO After $215 Million Goes Missing
by Halah Touryalai, Forbes Staff, 7/13/2012

Four days after attempting suicide the CEO of now bankrupt Peregrine Financial Group was arrested and charged for lying to regulators about the firm’s finances.

Russell Wasendorf, Sr. was arrested and charged today after his futures brokerage filed bankruptcy this week. The arrest comes after regulators accused PFG of fraud, misusing of client money, violating customer fund segregation laws and making false statements about its finances.

To make matters worse, roughly $215 million in client assets are missing amid the mess. This is the second time a futures brokerage has been hit with a financial scandal resulting in lost customer funds.

* * *

Pyramind & Ponzi Schemes
Confidence Tricksters
YES Entertainment Network

* * *

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Matthew 7:15

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

* * *

2 Timothy 3

[1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
[2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

[3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
[4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

[5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

* * *

We live in time when megachurch pastors and televangelists are drawing large numbers of followers.

Tragically, some of these “religious celebrities” become caught up in the fame, money and power. They yield to temptation and become entangled in sexual and financial scandals. They commit crimes and are sometimes imprisoned.

Examples are given at:

List of scandals involving evangelical Christians

List of religious leaders convicted of crimes

* * *

Christians need to develop discernment along with a relationship with the Holy Spirit in order to judge whether a minister is teaching the truth. Here are some questions to consider:

1. Does the minister draw attention to himself or does he give the glory to God?
2. Does the minister wear expensive clothing and jewelry?
3. Does the minister have expensive cars?
4. Does the minister teach from the scriptures, or does he teach his own ideas?
5. Is the minister humble?

* * *

Did Jesus wear fancy clothes and jewelry?

Isaiah 53:2

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

* * *

Was Jesus humble?

Mark 10

[17] And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
[18] And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Jesus took upon himself our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane and died for us on the cross at Calvary.

John 10

[17] Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
[18] No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

– Tom Irvine

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I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Well-meaning members of my church occasionally make declarations that a testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of his gospel can only come through the Holy Ghost — and not through science.

Yes, the Holy Ghost is the ultimate witness of truth, but science has a complementary and even prequisite role.

Consider the following…

True science is not a collection of esoteric facts or models about some physical system. Rather true science is a methodology of discovery and understanding.

The Scientific Method consists roughly of the following steps:

1. Formulate a Question
2. Hypothesis & Prediction
3. Tests & Experiments
4. Data Analysis
5. Conclusion

This methodology is alive and well in the scriptures, as shown in the following examples.

* * *

Faith is a common theme throughout all of the scriptures.  The Book of Mormon, Alma chapter 30 gives perhaps the best working teaching on faith.  The word experiment is given three times in this chapter.

The prophet Alma taught in this chapter:

[26]   Now, as I said concerning faith — that it was not a perfect knowledge — even so it is with my words.  Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.

[27]   But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

[28]   Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.  Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves — It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

[29]   Now behold, would not this increase your faith?  I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.

[30]   But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow.   And now behold, will not this strengthen your faith?  Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.

[31]   And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed?  I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.

[32]   Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.

[33]   And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.

[34]   And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect?  Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because ye know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.

[35]   O then, is not this real?  I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?

[36]   Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.

[37]   And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us.  And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.

* * *

A testimony of the Law of Tithing also requires experimentation.

The Lord declared in Malachi 3,

[10] Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine 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.

[11] And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

* * *

The Lord even instructed us to develop a hypothesis prior to seeking an answer to prayer.

Doctrine & Covenant Section 9 is revelation from the Lord to Oliver Cowdrey, which applies in larger sense to all of us.

[7] Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

[8] But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

[9] But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong . . .

* * *

Yes, the Holy Ghost provides a necessary, confirming witness.   But we must first formulate the question, devise a hypothesis, and then perform the experiment.

* * *

Science in its common, broadest sense also provides a testimony of the Creator.

Alma declared this principle to an “Anti-Christ” in Alma 30.

[44] But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

* * *

David wrote of the Messiah in Psalm 8.

Verse 3 has the poetic prepositional phrase:

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, The moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained . . .

(See also Hebrews 2:6-9)

* * *

Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

* * *

The mustard seed, the lilies of the field, and sparrows all within their own sphere testified of Christ in the New Testament.

* * *

All truth is ultimately part of one whole in LDS theology.

* * *

Again, the Holy Ghost, or Still Small Voice, is the ultimate witness of truth, but the scientific method is complementary as shown in the following teaching.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, Faith: The Essence of True Religion, October 1995, First Presidency Message

The marvelous and wonderful thing is that any individual who desires to know the truth may receive that conviction. The Lord Himself gave the formula when He said, “If any man will do [the will of the Father], he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).

It will take study of the word of God. It will take prayer and anxious seeking of the source of all truth. It will take living the gospel, an experiment, if you please, in following the teachings. I do not hesitate to promise, because I know from personal experience, that out of all of this will come, by the power of the Holy Ghost, a conviction, a testimony, a certain knowledge.

* * *

– Tom Irvine

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To my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ . . .

The Ten Commandments were given by Jehovah to the Children of Israel, as recorded in the Old Testament, Exodus 20.

* * *

Exodus 20

[1] And God spake all these words, saying,
[2] I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
[3] Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
[4] Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
[5] Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
[6] And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
[7] Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
[8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
[9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
[10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
[11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
[12] Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
[13] Thou shalt not kill.
[14] Thou shalt not commit adultery.
[15] Thou shalt not steal.
[16] Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
[17] Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

* * *

A friend asked me “Are these laws and commandments still relevant to us after the death of our Lord Jesus Christ?”

The answer is Yes!

Jesus taught “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

Jesus of the New Testament is the same being as Jehovah of the Old Testament.

* * *

Our Lord reaffirmed the Ten Commandments in the following New Testament scriptures. He also gave higher laws built upon the foundation of the Ten Commandments.

Matthew 5

[21] Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
[22] But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

[27] Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
[28] But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Mark 12

[28] And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
[29] And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
[30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
[31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Mark 10

[17] And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
[18] And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
[19] Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
[20] And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
[21] Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
[22] And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

* * *

The Apostle Paul warned:

Romans 6

[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
[2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
[12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

* * *

The Apostle Paul reaffirmed the Ten Commandments after Christ’s death and resurrection.

Romans 13

[9] For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

* * *

Please remember that obedience to the voice of the Lord is greater than sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15:22)

And to revere God and obey him are the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

* * *

We are unworthy creatures. We can only be saved through the Grace of Jesus Christ.

But we must still obey the Lord’s commandments in order to become his disciples and to have the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

May the Lord bless you,
Tom

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