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jesusMark 2

1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

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See also: Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong Rescue in Unity

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– Tom Irvine

Matthew 15

21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

25 Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me.

26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

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A common explanation of this story was that Jesus was putting the woman to a test. Be that as it may, there are additional layers of meaning to this story. The key is verse 24. Jesus “was sent” by his father.

To bless the woman’s daughter, Jesus effectively broke a rule given by his father. But Jesus did not sin. Rather he followed a higher law of his own free choice.

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Doctrine & Covenants 58

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

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The story also shows that we are not held to unquestioning obedience in all situations. We can reason with the Lord and plead for mercy in special cases, especially when we are praying for a loved-one.

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– Tom Irvine

This Too Shall Pass

Professor Shnayer Z. Leiman wrote:

“This too shall pass” is an adage that has provided succor for many a person in distress. It is a powerful reminder that life does not stand still, and that one must always anticipate change, hopefully for the better.

Much mystery surrounds this adage. We know almost nothing about its origin, whether in its Hebrew or non-Hebrew versions. Surprisingly, the phrase “this too shall pass” occurs nowhere in Scripture, Talmud, or Midrash.

Indeed, it seems to appear nowhere in all of Jewish literature prior to the nineteenth century. In that century, the phrase was attributed—apparently in non-Jewish sources—to King Solomon.

In the twentieth century, the connection to King Solomon became part of an elaborate legend that was often told, but rarely recorded.

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“This too shall pass” also appears in the works of Persian Sufi poets, such as Sanai and Attar of Nishapur.

Attar records the fable of a powerful king who asks assembled wise men to create a ring that will make him happy when he is sad, and vice versa. After deliberation the sages hand him a simple ring with the words “This too will pass” etched on it, which had the desired effect.

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Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 4:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Spiritual Beings

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

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Also quoted by:

President Thomas S. Monson, BYU Devotional Be a Light to the World, November 1, 2011

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– Tom Irvine

Remembrance

Deuteronomy 5

[13] Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
[14] 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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
[15] And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

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Deuteronomy 8

[1] All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.
[2] And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
[3] And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
[4] Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.
[5] Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.
[6] Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
[7] For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
[8] A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
[9] A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.
[10] When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
[11] Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
[12] Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
[13] And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
[14] Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
[15] Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
[16] Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
[17] And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
[18] But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
[19] And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
[20] As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.

Do neighbors await our love, our kindness, our help?

A few years ago I read a Reuters news service account of an Alaska Airlines nonstop flight from Anchorage to Seattle, carrying 150 passengers, which was diverted to a remote town on a mercy mission to rescue a badly injured boy. Two-year-old Elton Williams III had severed an artery in his arm when he fell on a piece of glass while playing near his home in Yakutat, 450 miles south of Anchorage. Medics at the scene asked the airline to evacuate the boy. As a result, the Anchorage-to-Seattle flight was diverted to Yakutat.

The medics said the boy was bleeding badly and probably would not live through the flight to Seattle, so the plane flew 200 miles to Juneau, the nearest city with a hospital. The flight then went on to Seattle, with the passengers arriving two hours late, most missing their connections. But none complained. In fact, they dug into their pocketbooks and took up a collection for the boy and his family.

Later, as the flight was about to land in Seattle, the passengers broke into a cheer when the pilot said he had received word by radio that Elton was going to be all right. Surely love of neighbor was in evidence.

President Thomas S. Monson, The Way of the Master, Ensign, April 1996

Noahide Laws

The Babylonian Talmud (dated to 300 CE) lists seven laws which God gave to the Children of Noah (B’nei Noach):

1
Acknowledge that there is only one G-d who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.

2
Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.

3
Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.

4
Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of G-d and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.

5
Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on G-d rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.

6
Respect G-d’s creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted – but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.

7
Maintain justice. Justice is G-d’s business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.

Reference:  Chabad Universal Morality

The Talmud states that the instruction not to eat “flesh with the life” was given to Noah, and that Adam and Eve had already received six other commandments.

Jewish scholar Maimonides (13th century) taught that gentiles may have a part in the world to come (Olam Haba) just by observing Noahide law.

But Jews are obligated to observe the whole Torah which is comprised of 613 commandments.

– Tom Irvine