Scared and Skunked

What would you do if the bushes started shaking? If you’re anything like me, you fall into the category of “Curiosity killed the cat” and don’t forget that “satisfaction brought it back.” With a garbage bag in each hand, slippers and pj pants, I watched the bushes shake and move. I felt that if I stayed there long enough I would see something remarkable. Well, I did.

I quickly realized that it wasn’t a cat, wasn’t a snake, wasn’t a dog. The longer I stood there, the more the bush moved until under the front edge came a little black face quickly followed by a round little body streaked with white. Can you guess my first reaction? I started to back off very slowly. This little creature has my heartiest respect.

No, I didn’t get skunked. I went back into the house and waited a few moments and went back outside. The skunk hadn’t gone very far, but I kept my distance by going around a building instead of between to get to the dumpster. The little critter wandered around the back of the house, turned a corner and ambled into the night.

So, what do you recommend for skunks? I’d say that we should stay as far away from them as possible. The effects of close contact are hard to get rid of. If we give such a healthy respect to a little creature that leaves a lasting impression, why do we not run as quickly from the things that leave an eternal impact? We should run as fast as we can away from all things that leave a “spiritual stink”: pornography, immorality, crudeness, anger, etc. Just because much of the world stinks with these things does not mean we should join the stench. Let us create a haven of purity and those seeking for a breath of fresh air will be drawn to the sweetness of the truth.

For those who have been caught in the stench of sin, like skunk-stink, there is work to do to be clean again. The Savior’s promise is we can be clean from all the impurities we come in contact with, if we follow His directions and strive ever afterward to stay in the bounds He has set and run from the danger of crossing the Lord’s bounds.

“Oh, Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me from the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me shake at the appearance of sin?” (2 Nephi 4:31)

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Playing with the Big Boys

When I was little, I thought it was fun to tease my dad. I’d jump on and wrestle with him. It would usually end with me pinned to the ground while Dad tickled me. Occasionally, though he tried to be gentle, I’d get a little hurt, thrown off the bed or turned the wrong way when Dad tried to pin me down and Mom tried to console me  but always added the line, “If you’re going to play with the big boys, you’re probably going to get hurt.” I didn’t appreciate the comment. I fancied myself the family tom-boy and my job was to get dirty and play rough. And I loved it.

But my mom’s words were those of a wise parent. I finally learned (from experience) to pounce when my landing would be softened by pillows, grass, or something else, I still loved playing the the Big Boy. And I still got hurt doing it.

So it is in life, though the battle is not for fun. There are no greater, or more powerful players, than the God of the Universe and His adversary, Lucifer. Their wrestle is not for power, for God will always have the upper hand, but for souls. In his anger and misery, Satan swore to take as many of Our Father’s children into that misery he must always have.

It is the great battle of the universe. Regardless of the side, we will all face the heartache and strife of life. There will be casualties and pain, but we already have the promise of victory if we side with the Lord of Hosts. There are more with us, seen and unseen, than there will ever be with him.

I ask everyone within the sound of my voice to take heart, be filled with faith, and remember the Lord has said He “would fight [our] battles, [our] children’s battles, and [the battles of our] children’s children” 1. And what do we do to merit such a defense? We are to “search diligently, pray always, and be believing[. Then] all things shall work together for [our] good, if [we] walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted” 2. . . .My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. . . . And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.                                           – Jeffrey R. Holland (The Ministry of Angels)

Never fear, the Lord will always be there. Though the darkness gathers around, He who conquered death and sin will, in the end, lead the side that wins.

Who’s side will we join?