Filling Your Soul with the Good Word of God

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Popcorn!, Peanuts!, Crackerjacks!!!

Popcorn!, Peanuts!, Crackerjacks!!!-As you sit and enjoy a baseball game you will notice vendors walking up and down the aisles selling all types of food and treats for you to enjoy during your baseball viewing experience. As they climb up the stairs and get closer to you, you hear them yell out their pitch of what they are selling. "POPCORN!!!, PEANUTS!!!, CRACKERJACKS!!!, HOT DOGS!!! Who wants a Hot Dog!!!" Their voices fill the stadium and the sight and smell of their food quickly tempts you into buying one of their treats.
   While living in Arizona I would attend many Arizona Diamondbacks professional baseball games. As I sat with my Dad or with friends these vendors would come by calling out what they were selling. The one vendor I remember the most was the one who sold lemonade. He would walk up and down the aisles of the upper decks yelling "Lemonade, Lemonade, Like Grandma Made!!! OOOOWEEEOO!!! You know You Want it!!! You could hear his humorous sales pitch from clear across the ball park! There were many times I bought a nice cold lemonade from him and enjoyed it very much. He and his lemonade surely added to my baseball viewing experience.
   Similarly there are, in a sense, vendors for God. They are His missionaries. His missionaries are called to serve Him by proclaiming, not selling, His Gospel to all of His children in the ball park, world. As a missionary I walk all over trying to get people to listen to what our Heavenly Father wants them to know. Though I don't walk around yelling about the Gospel I do ask others to invite us into their home and hear what our Heavenly Father has to offer them. Unlike the food that the vendors sell at a baseball game it isn't good smelling or good tasting physically, but it is spiritually. John 6: 35 states: And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. As a missionary through preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are able to help others to find that bread of life and that water. Those who are willing to listen and partake will truly never hunger or thirst again. It is my privilege to be a servant of my Heavenly Father and help others come unto Christ and I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Life is Full of Strike Outs and Home Runs

The Cubs and baseball
have been a big part of my life
ever since I can remember.
Life is Full of Strike Outs and Home Runs-My whole life I have loved playing sports. Baseball, basketball, football, soccer, you name it, I played it. But of all the sports baseball was at the top of my list. I looked at it as MY sport. Growing up as a little kid and living outside of Chicago, Illinois is where I found my love for America's pastime. Almost every day I would watch a popular Chicago children's television show, Bozo The Clown, on Chicago's own WGN television station. And not too long after Bozo's program would finish Chicago Cubs' baseball would be on in the afternoon. This is where I fell in love with the game of baseball as I watched Ryne Sandberg, Shawon Dunston, and the Cubbies play to the voice of the famous broadcaster Harry Carry. At the young age of three I was mesmerized. This is what started up my own baseball career.
   As a three year old I would run around with my Cubs hat and shirt on along with my ball and glove. I'd throw the ball around and play with whoever would play with me or on my own. As I grew up I played T-ball, machine pitch, and kid pitch baseball for 12 years up through my sophomore year of high school.
   In the game of baseball you have a lot up ups and downs. As a batter each time you step to the plate there is the possibility of striking out or getting a hit. Every time I stepped up to bat it was my main goal not to strike out. I was terrified of striking out. I hated it. Striking out simply was no fun! On the contrary I remember the first time I ever hit a home run.
   My first year of machine pitch, at the ripe old age of nine, I had been having a decent season thus far. It had started out a little rough with quite a few strike outs but I was starting to gain more confidence at the plate. As the pitch came in I swung away at it. PING! went the ball off of the metal bat. As I sprinted towards first base, like I'd been taught, I caught the ball out of the corner of my eye cross over the tallest part of the fence in left center. The cheers from the crowd then followed as I realized I had just hit a home run! What an exciting experience it was to jog around the bases knowing I had just hit my first home run.
   Now over the years I've realized the lessons I learned in baseball are starting to apply to my life. How many times do we "step up to the plate" in our lives looking for the happiness and joy of "hitting a home run"? At times we will find that success, and happiness. But there will be other times when our Heavenly Father is going to throw us some curve balls, or trials, and strike us out, or humble us. Is this because he wants to strike us out and see us go through disappointing times of trials? No, He wants us to go back to the dugout, refocus, practice, or build our faith, and overcome the tough times of trials in our lives so that we can feel more joy of the "home runs" of life. In Alma 36:3 Alma teaches his son Helaman that "whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."  No matter how many times we strike out as we trust in our heavenly coach, Heavenly Father, he will support us and will lift us up in our times of trial. Our disappointing times of striking out will quickly pass and the joy and happiness of blessings of a "home run" will be ours.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Foul Line of Christ

A three inch straight white line runs from home plate to the outfield fence 355 feet away. Though this line may not seem overly important it controls a large aspect of the game of baseball. This line is known as the foul line. The foul line determines which hit baseballs are in play, fair, or out of play, foul. Every day before a baseball game a member of the grounds crew, who helps take care of the baseball field, re-chalks the foul line so that it's perfectly straight and bright white. Because this bright white, and straight chalked line runs over the brown dirt and green grass of the baseball field it really sticks out so everyone on the field or in the stands know what is fair and what is foul.

      Like the foul line our Savior, Jesus Christ, has set before us a straight path, or line, to follow his teachings and our Heavenly Fathers commandments. Alma 37:44 says "give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss." This straight course, or line, of the word and commandments determines what is good or bad, fair or foul, in this life. This line will determine a large aspect of our lives whether in this "game" or the "game" to come.
     Along with that just as the ground crew member keeps the foul line chalked straight and white our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have appointed a Prophet as his crew member to re-chalk and remind us of the teachings and commandments that our Father wants us to follow. Likewise as the white chalked line stands out on the field our Heavenly Father's commandments will stand out above what those of the world are doing. This helps everyone know, as Nephi said in 2 Nephi 33:9, to "walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.", or game. As we continue to follow God's commands of what is fair and what is foul we will be able to get a "hit" of eternal life!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Sandlot #2: The True Beast, Satan.

In the movie The Sandlot, Squints tells of the legend of The Beast.
 He says"The legend of the Beast goes back a
 long time...before any of us could even pick up a baseball.
Back to a place called Mertle. It all started about, mmm, 20 years ago, when thieves kept stealing junk from Mertle's Acres junkyard. So Mr. Mertle, the guy that used to own the place, got him this new pup from the dog pound. He fed him whole sides of beef...and turned the pup loose in the junkyard. And the pup was grateful. And so, in a few weeks, the pup grew into The Beast. And he grew big, and he grew that he could protect the junkyard with only one thing on his mind: to kill everyone that broke in. And he did, and he liked it! The Beast was the most perfect junkyard dog that ever lived. A true killing machine. But after a while, the cops started getting phone calls from people...reporting all the missing thieves, the ones The Beast had killed. They never found a single body. Not one. Some people say they all got away. But we all know what really happened. The Beast ate them. He ate them bone and all. The Beast was too good at his guard dog job, so the police said he had to be retired. My grandpa, Squidman Palledorous, was police chief back then. He ordered Mr. Mertle to turn his backyard into a fortress...and chain up The Beast and put him under the house... where he could never get out to eat children and stuff. That's where he's been for years. And that's where he'll be for the rest of his life. Because Mr. Mertle asked the cops how long...he had to keep The Beast chained up like a slave, they said until forever. Forever. Forever. Forever. Forever. Forever. And so, The Beast sits there under that lean-to, dreaming of the time when he can break the chain and get out, dreaming of the time he can chase and kill again." Click to Watch Clip
   As the Sandlot gang continued to play baseball near The Beast's territory they quickly learned how to avoid him because of their fear of him. They learned that they needed to do their best to keep their baseballs out of his possession if they wanted to keep playing because once in his possession you don't get it back, it's history, and kiss it goodbye. 
   Everything changed though the day they found out that Smalls had allowed an autographed Babe Ruth baseball to get into The Beasts possession. As they attempted to help their friend get the ball back they realized the power of The Beast as he foiled every attempt and technique from vacuum cleaners to Erector sets. The plan that eventually worked was Benny pulling a sneak attack on The Beast and running for his life as The Beast chased him through town. Eventually The Beast was stopped and they soon realized he and his owner weren't so bad after all. 
Not the cute little character this attempts to portray
     Moses 4:5 says "And now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which I, the Lord God, had made".  If you thought The Beast from The Sandlot was bad then this scriptures shows you that the serpent, Satan, is worse. Satan, like The Beast, will do everything in his power to make our lives miserable. He will do a lot more than take baseballs away from us. Satan tries to use his tactics to foil our Heavenly Father's plan for us and our lives. He will lie, cheat, and do every foul thing out there to make make us unhappy as he is. He wants us to kiss a happy life full of blessings from our Heavenly Father goodbye. Elder L. Tom Perry said "As we take a long, hard look at the world today, it is becoming increasingly evident that Satan is working overtime to enslave the souls of men." The Beast eventfully was found to be good but Satan will never be found for good or doing good. His attacks will be many but we have no need to fear. If we will follow our Heavenly Father's commandments, learn Satan's tactics and how to avoid them and, like Benny, run for our lives from Satan and into our Heavenly Father's care we will be able as it says in Romans 16:20 "bruise Satan under your feet shortly."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Sandlot: Knowing Jesus Christ

In the classic baseball movie "The Sandlot" the main character, Smalls, finds himself and his buddies in what he calls "the biggest pickle of his life".
The Sandlot gang was in need of a baseball one day in order to be able to play. Smalls, who was new to the game of baseball and its history, went home and swiped his step-dad's autographed baseball so they could play. What he didn't realize at the time was that he was taking an autographed baseball signed by non other than the iconic baseball player Babe Ruth . Despite his friends constantly talking about "The Great Bambino", aka Babe Ruth, all the time Smalls, not wanting to look foolish, always plays it off that he knows who this is. This really comes back to hurt him though.
   As he brings the ball to his buddies they tell him you got the ball you get to bat. Smalls amazingly hits his very first home run off of the first pitch sending his step-dad's autographed baseball flying over the fence and into the infamous Beast's territory behind the ball field. As the team rejoices in the home run Smalls is struck with fear. In his mind his step-dad is going to kill him for what he's just done. As his buddies circle around Smalls to see what's wrong Smalls tells them that that baseball wasn't his. Click to Watch Scene They quickly learn that Smalls never really knew who "The Great Bambino" was and the also quickly realize that a Babe Ruth autographed baseball has just landed in the Beast's possession.

    How many of us are like Smalls? Smalls kept saying he knew who "The Great Bambino" was but truth be known he didn't. This lead to some serious trouble as they attempted to get the ball back. How many of us say we know Jesus Christ when we really don't? Are we just saying we believe in Him not to look foolish around our peers? John 17:3 says "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
   If one of our main purposes in life is to truly know Christ we better strive to be able to say as Job said in the Bible "I know that my Redeemer liveth (Job 19:25).
  We need to gain a strong knowledge and faith in Him so that we aren't just saying we believe to please others. We need to know who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. If we will come to know Him in this way we won't find ourselves in the biggest pickle of our lives on judgement day.

To view another Sandlot/gospel blog by Sister Weir Click here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Gospel of Baseball Part 4- 3rd to Home through the Spirit and Enduring

D&C 18:22 says "And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved. If we change that scripture around a little those who Endure to the End the same shall be "Safe". Currently we are standing on third base. By going from first to third base we've gained faith, had a change of heart, and have committed to getting to home plate. All we have left to do is make it the 90 feet home to score a run. We've got to step up our efforts and endure to the end! This is one of the last principles of the Gospel of Baseball.
   Because we've been so dedicated to making it home to score we need to know we aren't alone. We have a third base coach to help us along the base path home. 1 Nephi 2:22 says that by the Spirit, or third base coach, all things are made known. This is the other last principle of the Gospel of Baseball.  Our third base coach is here to lead, guide, warn, and coach us away from the defense. It's important though that we listen and know how his guidance is going to come to us. Sometimes it may be a loud shout of what to do and other times it may be a quite hand signal. Not matter how it comes to us if we will follow his counsel we will, as it says in Alma 40:11, make it home to that God who gave us life.
   The same thing happens in our lives. After we have gained faith, repented, and been baptized we will be given a third base coach of the Holy Ghost to help guide us home to our Father in Heaven. And though the defense of Satan will try to tag us out of returning home, if we will heed and follow that still small voice, or sometimes that load voice, of the spirit and continually strive to endure to the end by building that faith and repenting, we will make it home safely to that God who gave us life.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Gospel of Baseball Part 3- Second to Third through Baptism

The second to Third principle of The Gospel of Baseball is Baptism. As a baseball player you have to progress from first base to second base before reaching third base. Once we pass second base we truly have a desire to make it safely home to score. But first we must make a covenant, promise, or commitment to making it to third base. When we were on first or second base we were just trying to work our way around the bases safely and figure out what we needed to know about the defense. But as we approach third we gain a stronger desire to make it there because it means we are one step closer. Third base is the gateway or door to home. We can't score without it. So we have to be fully immersed in our decision and progress to third, cross through that doorway, and score. 
    Baptism is also very key in our lives. Just as the baseball player can't skip first or second base and go straight to third base we need to have faith and repent before baptism. But by gaining those two key principles we gain a desire to make a covenant with our Heavenly Father. A covenant is a promise or commitment to following God. Just as the baseball player commits to getting to third base we commit to keeping God's commandments, taking the Lord's name upon us, and always remembering Him. Baptism is the gateway or doorway to heaven. Without it we cannot make it home to our Heavenly Father. Baptism is performed by being fully immersed in the water for a remission of our sins. It is truly a blessing in our lives to be baptized and receive the blessings that come from making a covenant with God.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Gospel of Baseball Part 2: First to Second through Repentance

The first to Second principle of the Gospel of Baseball is Repentance. The Bible dictionary states that repentance is a change of mind, a fresh view about God, oneself, and the world. As a baseball player now that we've had sufficient faith to get on base through our faith and our works, hitting the ball, we need to refocus and have a change of mind. Our primary goal is no longer to just get to first base but to make it home and score. We now have a fresh view on the importance of getting to second base. Luke 12:3 says "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." In other words if we don't shift our focus to now getting to second base we will surly perish and get tagged out.
   Likewise in our lives once we've gained faith in our Heavenly Father it will cause us to have a desire to make a change in our lives. We will have the desire to repent of our wrong doings and, like the baseball player, get onto Gods base path to our heavenly home. And when we do this we feel freed from our mistakes and we are ready to rededicate ourselves to following our Heavenly Father.
  But this repentance, to make it to second base and eventually home,  can only be accomplished with the help of a team mate, Jesus Christ. In order for us to make it to second base he lays down a sacrifice bunt of himself to move us over as he gets thrown out at first base. Without our Savior, Jesus Christ, and this sacrifice bunt of the atonement we would have no way to overcome our mistakes and make move onto second base. I am so grateful for the sacrifice of my Savior, Jesus Christ, for me. It allows me to have a change of heart and mind, rededicate myself through repentance, and return home someday.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Gospel of Baseball Part 1: Home to First through Faith

The first base principle of the Gospel of Baseball is Faith. The book of Alma, in the Book of Mormon, chapter 32 verse 21 states "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." As a baseball player you stand at home plate you know nothing about what will happen next. The goal is to get a base hit but there are a lot of different scenarios that can play out before that happens. You could strike out, get walked, ground out, or even get hit by a pitch. But you have to have hope that you can get a base hit and make it to first. This hope is also faith. Alma 32:27 states "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." So in order for us to experiment on the word, or in this case if we're going to get a base hit, we need to grab our bat, take a practice swing or two, and step up to the plate. And by doing so we are showing we have at least a desire to make it to first base. And over time that desire and faith builds, through diligence and patience, in us until we believe we are going to get a base hit every time.
   This same principle of faith is the first principle in Christ's Gospel too. Just like the baseball player can't see if they're going to get a hit or not, we can't see God, we don't know if He is there through sight. But if we will show a desire, have faith and experiment, through scripture study and prayer, we can come to know if He really is there. Through that faith we can come to know that He is our Father in Heaven, He hears and answers our prayers, and He loves us, just like the baseball player knows he'll get on base as the ball Cracks! off his bat and he reaches first base safely.

Monday, April 4, 2011

One Shining Moment!

NCAA March Madness Championship game is tonight. As tradition goes at the end of all of March Madness CBS plays a video montage of the tournament to the song One Shining Moment. So here's a gospel related, Davis Daily Bread version of One Shining Moment dedicated to all of the blog posts that have been on the blog this month. Sing along if you'd like (Music provided below) and enjoy the Championship game.

You come from God,
And there you are.
You're starting a new life,
you're a shooting star.
And over all the years
no one knows
just how hard you worked
but someday you'll know...
But time is short
and the road is long
in the blinking of an eye
ah that moment's gone
And when it's done
win or lose
you hope you did your best
cuz inside you know...
Feel the beat of your heart
feel the wind in your face
it's neither a contest
it's neither a race...

And when it's done
 It's Heaven or bust
you hope you did your best
cuz inside you'll know...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Final 4: Enduring To The End

It's down to the Final 4 in the NCAA March Madness Tournament and this weekend that will be narrowed down even more as we find out who will be playing in the National Championship game. For these four teams they have shed blood, sweat, and tear while battling and playing their hardest to get to this point. If your team makes it this far its a feat in of itself when you look at the fact that they have had to win four games against some of the best teams in college ball. And now they are just one game away from having the chance to play in the Championship game and two games away from potentially winning it all. Its a chance in a life time. This is their time to shine. But for many making it this far isn't enough! They have a desire for more! Its not enough to just be called good, they want to be Great!, they want to be Champions! So as they step onto the hardwood today they will have to give their all to Endure To The End.
    Endure to the end, its something we hear a lot about in our church. Why is this? Maybe its because we have the same desire as those teams who make the final four. We have a desire to be Great, not just good. Just as the teams competing want to be Champions for time and all eternity, we also have a desire to return to our Heavenly Father to live with him for time and all eternity. For us this would make us Champions. But this reward isn't cheap or free. Its comes with a price. A price, just like the basketball teams, of sacrifice.
      We as children of our Father in Heaven, with the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, have to dedicate our lives to taking our Saviors name upon us and following him at all times, and in all things, and in all places. This sacrifice of blood, sweat, and tears of our Savior, and us, push us to do more. There is hopefully a constant drive in us all to do better, to follow God more closely, to pray more earnestly, to study more diligently, and follow our God's command more fully. This is all part of Enduring to the End. It is my prayer that as we do these things, as we put all our time, talents, and efforts into following the Gospel of Jesus Christ that ultimately We Will Be Champions. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Means Mormon Baseball

Hey Daily Bread followers, It's April, which means its time for baseball! So just like Davis' Daily Bread brought you Mormon March Madness, now its time to "Take You Out To The Ball Game" and Play Ball! This month will feature stories of baseball players who are Mormon, the gospel of baseball, stories from a baseball playing Prophet, and much, much more. So grab your ball, glove, cap, peanuts and crackerjacks and take me out to the ball game for some Mormon Baseball!
Harry Carey - Take Me Out To The Ballgame .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine
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