Thursday, December 17, 2009
My Christmas Talk, December 2009
In the days of Isaiah, Ahaz was king of Judah. The kings of Syria and Israel tried to persuade Ahaz to ally with them against Assyria, their neighboring superpower. The prophet Isaiah pleaded with Ahaz to trust the Lord for deliverance from the invading armies. The Lord extended a sign to Ahaz to demonstrate that the events surrounding the plot of Syria and Israel would occur precisely as Isaiah had prophesied. The sign, was to give Ahaz courage and faith to trust the prophets words that God's power was far greater than man's armies. The scripture says,
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
"Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14
The name Immanuel means "God is with us" and indicates that God''s love, power, knowledge, grace and presence are with the righteous. The name also indicates that God himself came down from heaven and took upon himself mortality.
Ahaz rejected Isaiah's spiritual counsel and won the support from the king of Assyria. Because Ahaz rejected Isaiah's plan (God's plan), the armies of Syria and Israel invaded Judah slaying thousands of warriors and carried away two hundred thousand woman and children. Judah was slaughtered, in part because of the great sins of her king and her people.
This prophecy has direction application for us. Assyria is a type and symbol of the warring nations that exist in the latter days shortly before the second coming. If we accept the Lord's sign of Immanuel, if we accept Jesus Christ and his atonement we will be protected during the wars in the last days. The central message for us is to trust the Lord's words that comes through his prophets, rather than rely on the arm of the flesh.
Indeed we have every reason to trust in our Lord, in Isaiah 9:6 we read
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
Which of us could be without a Wonderful Counsellor, an advisor or mediator and advocate with the Father?
Which of us could be without a Mighty God, a Jehovah that overcomes the nations and all forms of oppression?
Which of us could be without an Everlasting Father, the father of our eternal life?
Which of us could be without the Prince of Peace, a God of love and peace who eliminates war and contention and reigns over a peaceful kingdom?
The scripture goes onto say....
"Of the increase of his government and peace there is no end."
From the first presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declaration, entitled "The Living Christ" we read
"As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth."
I testify to you Jesus Christ was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament. He was the babe born to a virgin, a pure and chosen vessel. He was the child born unto us...He was the Son given unto us. . . and of his peace there is no end.
Notes: Understanding Isaiah by Donald W. Parry, Jay A Parry & Tina M Peterson was my source of study and where I found many understandable concepts and phrase.. They really put this in everyday language.
Friday, July 17, 2009
G. Michael Alder, “Earth—A Gift of Gladness,” Ensign, Jul 1991, 27
God has made us responsible for the earth and all living things. How well are we doing?
As I was reading the scriptures recently, my mind flashed back to a Sunday morning thirty-five years ago. I was ten years old at the time, walking home from church. The sun was breaking through the trees with those wondrous, slanted rays, backlighting leaves and turning their edges to gold. The fields beyond the trees were covered with color—lavender and pink. The delicate hue was suddenly everywhere. I was surrounded and stunned by the beauty. There was no one to share the experience with, but the Spirit whispered, and for the first time I sensed Heavenly Father’s love for me, expressed through his creations.
The verse that brought that memory to mind is in Doctrine and Covenants 59. There the Lord tells the Prophet Joseph that “all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart, … to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.” The Lord goes on to tell us that he is pleased to give all these things for our benefit and use, but that they are to be used “with judgment, not to excess.” (D&C 59:18, 20; italics added.)
A recent awareness of man’s activities on earth came to me in the form of a report from a Boy Scout. He wrote this paragraph for his Environmental Science merit badge: “Although nature doesn’t have much of a chance against us humans, the mountains are still a place of beauty. There are laws that protect parks. Most people don’t care anyway. If we would ask ourselves if what we are doing would harm this mountain or that forest, maybe nature would have a better chance.”
The relevance of this simple message comes with repetitive impact these days as we read about the environmental damage caused by such man-made problems as acid rain, excessive carbon dioxide and other chemicals in the atmosphere, deforestation, and the pollution of our oceans, lakes, and streams.
Scientific American has noted that at the beginning of this century mankind did not have the power to radically alter the global environment. Today we have that power, and as a result, serious, mostly unintended changes are taking place in the air, water, and land around us. These changes outstrip our present ability to cope with them, largely because the world’s financial, social, and political systems are out of step with natural processes. (See Gro Harlem Brundtland, “How to Secure Our Common Future,” Scientific American, Sept. 1989, p. 190.)
At one time, there may have been reason to be skeptical about the idea that we are damaging the earth on a global scale. But no longer. The evidence is mounting that we are doing ourselves and our mortal home serious damage. An observatory on Mauna Loa in Hawaii far away from large industry has recorded a rate of 1.5 to 2 parts per million increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1958. Similar observations were made at the South Pole. A continued increase in carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere, produced by our vast consumption of oil, coal, and other fossil fuels, appears to be responsible for a general increase in temperature worldwide. (See Sylvan H. Wittwer, “The Greenhouse Effect,” Carolina Biology 163:8.) That increase threatens possible major changes in climate around the world, potentially causing drought in some areas and greater rainfall in others.
Evidence for this global warming also comes from studies made by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which analyzed records going back to 1860. The studies showed that the greatest global temperature increase has taken place in the last decade. Carbon dioxide and trace gases produced by our industrial societies were considered to be the cause. (See R. A. Haughton and G. M. Woodwell, “Global Climatic Change,” Scientific American, April 1989, p. 37.)
Another consequence of our burning large amounts of fossil fuels has been a condition called acid rain. Forests, streams, and lakes have all been seriously damaged in regions where pollutants in the atmosphere are converted into mild acids that are brought back to earth through rain and snow. As the acid accumulates, it kills both plant and animal life.
At the same time, we are combining that indirect and largely unintended attack with a more direct attack: deforestation. As forests are cut in many parts of the earth, the effect they have on slowing global warming decreases, and the loss of animal and plant habitat increases.
In Doctrine and Covenants 104:17, the Lord said, “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” [D&C 104:17] My impression on reading those words is that the Lord is an ample provider—but he did not plan that we waste the gifts he has given us. The scriptures make it clear that we have dominion over the earth, but they also make it clear what that dominion means: We are to care for our planetary home and use its resources wisely. It was never intended that we abuse it.
Unfortunately, it is the nature of most people that when they are given authority, they begin to exercise “unrighteous dominion.” (See D&C 121:39.) I confess that when I was a young man, my respect for God’s creations was not a high priority. My attitude was not much different from that of my friends. Together we used and abused nature as we felt inclined. Scouting introduced me to the concept of conservation, but somehow I was slow to abandon my “consumer mentality.”
Now, as a trained biologist and a member of a bishopric, I find my past behavior totally out of line with being a son of God. A disregard for the gifts of nature is an attitude contrary to the instructions given by our Father in Heaven. We all enjoy scenic vistas, wilderness experiences, or opportunities to commune with nature. Too often, however, wise dominion conflicts with convenience, and usually it is convenience that prevails.
However, restoration is possible, though in the case of the damage we are doing to our global environment, including the destruction of living species, restitution is very difficult if not impossible. After all, how do you restore a species once it is gone? Some measures must be truly global in scope, involving governments worldwide. But there are also steps we can take as individuals.
Every spring our stake high priests group spends a Saturday morning cleaning the roadsides in our neighborhood. It is hard to imagine the good that participating in that project has done for us all. The amount of trash collected always astounds us, and we come away from the experience sobered by the realization that even acts like littering can add up to big problems.
It is also sobering to recognize that in the support of our living here on earth, some life must be sacrificed. We all need to ponder that humbling fact. Whenever the United States Army Corps of Engineers draft plans that will disturb a habitat, they must also draft plans on how they will mitigate the effects of their activities. This means they have to reclaim, restore, or develop new habitats that are equal to those being destroyed. If we have to destroy life or the habitat of a species for any reason, we could try to adopt the same policy. Why not have a personal plan to mitigate our own destructiveness by building, adding back, or supporting life whenever we can?
Every year we hear about worthwhile projects that improve our environment. Why not make it a point to be less passive in the future and to participate more? As we do so, our understanding will grow, we will effect positive changes, and we will be humbled to see what it takes to successfully reclaim, restore, or beautify natural areas. Heavenly Father has already provided these processes naturally; we need but learn how to copy and use them.
I used to wonder why President Spencer W. Kimball admonished us so often to raise gardens. But as my gardening skills grew, I came to appreciate the wisdom of his counsel. Not only do we center that activity at or near our homes where the focus of our attention should be, but we learn much about the processes of nature. When we work with the soil and learn ways of producing food from the earth, we begin to understand the delicate balances in nature. This harmony is difficult to see if the only way we get our food is by visiting the supermarket.
Gardening also teaches us that life is fragile. It teaches us that all living things require food, water, space to grow, clean air to breathe, and protection from natural and man-made enemies in ways that God has established. This is true of both plants and animals. Pollution, erosion, waste, destruction of unique environments, careless use of resources, and uncontrolled “sport” killing destroy those creatures and the places in which they live.
Can Heavenly Father be any less pleased with this willful destruction of nature than when we break the Word of Wisdom? Certainly, if we are to become like him, we must begin to master the skills necessary to preserve and encourage the processes of life. It seems to me that part of our responsibility as caretakers for the earth is to learn about those processes and take advantage of opportunities to protect our world’s resources. Ecology and the natural sciences should be areas of interest for us all. (See D&C 88:79.)
These matters are vital. Apart from the fact that our personal safety is being increasingly endangered by the deterioration of our environment, we need to recognize that someday we will be asked to account for how we have managed our resources. What will our answer be when the Lord asks how we treated the earth—this gift he gave us gladly and which he asks us to use with gladness?
How You Can Help
Here are a few ideas you might consider in trying to take better care of the earth:
• Find ways to reduce unnecessary personal consumption of energy, water, wood products, and other products that come from scarce resources.
• Stop using products that damage the environment.
• Recycle metal, glass, plastic, and paper products.
• Be conscientious in disposing of chemical wastes properly.
• Learn more about natural processes and earth science.
• Cultivate a garden where possible; learn the art and science of composting.
• Adopt a conservation rather than a consumption attitude.
• Be grateful.
Dennis Rasmussen, “Three Gardens,” New Era, Apr 1972, 14
“… I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11:25–26.)
We celebrate this month the anniversary of what one writer has called the strangest story in the world. No matter how familiar we are with this story, it still remains infinitely above our understanding. It is more wonderful than any dream. It is unlike any other account. And yet it is true.
Because the story is true, the children of Adam shall live forever. Grasping this truth, man can hope for limitless, joyful tomorrows.
“He is not here, for he is risen.” (Matt. 28:6.) These words announced the most significant victory ever to be won in the history of man: a victory of God and man over death and sin. It was a victory for God because his power won it. It was a victory for man because Jesus, subject to all the temptations of mankind, proved that man can live above sin. Our Savior, being both Son of God and son of man, at great personal cost and personal valor, finally secured the field so that mankind could be redeemed. Our Redeemer, in awful loneliness, transformed longing into reality and plan into achievement as he walked the road toward a battle that he alone could fight.
Along that road there were three gardens—gardens that symbolize the great events in the plan. In the beginning God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and he placed there the parents of the human family. We are told that God walked in that garden in the cool of the evening, blessing the earth with his presence. Then, through his free choice, man left this garden, never to return, and entered a world of suffering, sin, and death. God withdrew his personal presence and man was left to walk by faith and the Spirit in a hostile world, in a world that was now enemy-occupied territory, for everywhere was found the influence of the adversary, the prince of this world.
Thus man began his long journey through mortality, made bearable by simple moments of hope, companionship, beauty, love, family closeness, and earth-oriented goal achievements. As he ventured further and further from the garden, the awareness of his true condition settled over him like a dark cloud. This was a world of time where everything would soon pass away. Youth, physical beauty, even life—all would one day be gone. Man, a little lower than the angels, knew that at the end of all his most cherished dreams and associations was a grave and a few spadefuls of earth.
His ideals never seemed quite within his grasp. Always there was a dark and sinister force trying to pull him down, tempting him with strange, unholy thoughts and deeds.
“I have seen,” says the writer of Ecclesiastes, “all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
“That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.” (Eccl. 1:14–15.)
Yet beside this cry of despair there was another voice, the voice of a small, politically insignificant people claiming that beyond all hope and from beyond the world, help would come. “For I know that my redeemer liveth,” cried Job, “and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” (Job 19:25.) Could such a thing be believed?
In a small province of the Imperial Roman Empire, an aged man, Simeon, first believed, and then knew beyond doubt: “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
“And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
“And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
“Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
“Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people.” (Luke 2:25–31.)
At some time in our Savior’s own earthly youth, he knew what he would do when grown. He came to know that he was the person prepared from before the foundation of the world to be offered as a lamb in sacrifice. His life, by its very nature, was to carry him toward a grim rendezvous with the prince of darkness. And long before that crisis came, his face was set toward Jerusalem and toward a garden called Gethsemane. There he would meet his adversary. There all things would hang in balance, awaiting the outcome.
As the duel began that night, his seconds fell asleep. In terrible loneliness he stepped off the brink of earthly support and plummeted downward in his spirits, grappling with his foe and his duty of love until, in a way unknown to us, he had plumbed to infinity the wages of human sin and suffering. And then he rose. He had carried with him the whole of the world’s weakness into a garden and a night; now he must bear it up a hill toward day.
As he hung on the cross, he experienced that which was essential to his victory and yet almost too much to bear. His feeling was beyond words as he pleaded, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” [Matt. 27:46] The sustaining power of heaven had been withdrawn. The face of his Father had turned away and he was left unto himself that the awful battle could be his alone—to win—or lose. From the purity and love and power of his own soul he drew his measure of strength, and (as it appears) breaking his heart, fulfilled his quest. “It is finished,” said the Savior, and then he died.
The power of sin passed away in that moment. The victory of love had been won. The Son of God had ransomed his Father’s children paying a price of suffering none of us really understand.
Then, on the third day, friends of the Christ, coming at daybreak to the place of his burial.,found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. To Mary, lingering in confusion and grief before the abandoned tomb, it was given to behold the risen Christ—walking again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
He starts out in verse 6 saying, " have you sufficiently retained in aremembrance the captivity of your fathers? Yea, and have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them? And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has bdelivered their souls from hell?"
To me this means do I appreciate and value enough what others have done so that I can and do have the blessings in my life that I so enjoy. Do I really value and appreciate the sacrifice of the saints so that I can have the gospel in my life. Do I really value and appreciate the sacrifice of my parents to teach me, to put me in many extra curricular activities, to send me to college and to pay for me to go to college, and the value that they put on education so that I would study hard and have a desire, which they planted within me, to go to college and get my degree? And then do I remember all that the Lord has done for so many. The scriptures are there to teach me what He has done. Do I study them enough, do I value them enough?
Verses 14 and 15 are so insightful, " have ye aspiritually been bborn of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty cchange in your hearts?
I love the question of do you exercise faith in the redemption of the Savior. I think about that a lot. I think faith is more than believing and having a testimony. Faith is also a belief that the Lord will help you daily. My good friend pointed out to me today that we are helped when we are trying to do good things. I think it is so true. He knows what we need and oft times helps us without our asking.
I want to read more in Alma 5. I will have to do so another day.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I then went on to read the Young Women session of conference. It ws such an inspiring session. I loved the following quote about 3 things that the YW general presidency would like the young women to set as daily goals;
"First, pray to your Father in Heaven, morning and night, every day.
Second, read the Book of Mormon for at least five minutes every day.
And third, smile! Why? We have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which brings us true happiness."
I love the last part. We should smile and be happy because we do have the gospel, we do know the truths and we do know that everything will work out and work out for our good. What a great reminder to smile everyday!
"We must know and realize that, just as Winston Churchill said in a critical hour during World War II, “to every man [and young woman] there comes . . . that special moment when [they are] figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing unique to [them]. . . . What a tragedy if that moment finds [them] unprepared or unqualified for [that] which [could have been their] finest hour” (see Jeffrey R. Holland, “Sanctify Yourselves,” Liahona, Jan. 2001, 49; Ensign, Nov. 2000, 40). This is a critical time. You are being tapped on the shoulder. You are preparing now for that work which will be your finest hour. You are preparing for eternity."
I have another quote on my refridgerator that says, "We must work at our responsibility as parents as if everything in life counted on it, because in fact everything in life does count on it. “If we fail in our homes, we fail in our lives." This is a great reminder to me of the great importance of the role that I have as a mother.
President Monson gave three great ways that the Young Women should have courage toady. They are;
- First, the courage to refrain from judging others;
- Second, the courage to be chaste and virtuous; and
- Third, the courage to stand firm for truth and righteousness.
Finally, there was one more quote from this session. It was Sister Dibb who said the following, "Thinking back to when I was a young woman, I recognize that I did not understand the magnitude of what was happening in my life. I did not realize that my participation in each and every Church activity was helping me develop a lifelong pattern and commitment to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. I didn’t understand that I was being prepared for my future life as an individual, a wife, a mother, and a leader. I didn’t understand that as I tried to choose the right, I was honoring my baptismal covenants, exercising faith, increasing my virtue, and preparing to go to the temple. I couldn’t see all of this then, but in very small, increental steps, I was becoming a believer—and “an example of the believers.”
I love this quote. It truly is the daily small and simple things that make us who we are. I want to refocus to becoming more like my Savior and doing the simple things like smiling to live my life the way that He would have me too.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I have been listening to Elder Holland's talk from last conference on the ministry of angels. I am struck by so many of his thoughts. No matter how many times, I listen to a talk, I pick up something different every time. I can remember the following thoughts. I love this first quote,
"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.”10 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.”11 The latter days are not a time to fear and tremble. They are a time to be believing and remember our covenants."This whole talk is amazing, but I just love those words. We only have to search diligently, pray always, and be believing. Then, he will cause that all things will work together for our good. He will send angels to minister and help us.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
In Saturday's Young Women's conference, a good friend of mine quoted the following:
Sister Dalton quoted Winston Churchill as saying the following:
"To every Young Woman there comes a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a choice to do a very special thing unique to them. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour." Sister Dalton added: This is a critical time. You are being tapped on the shoulder. You are preparing now for that work which will be your finest hour. You are preparing for eternity."
What a great reminder that we must do our best everyday. We cannot wait for the end to be good. We must try hard and rely on the Savior to do our best today. I see the great blessings in our lives at times when I know that Drew and I were trying to do our best. I would hate to have passed those great blessings by. I hope that I can always strive to be on the right path, so that I can return to my Father in Heaven.
Friday, March 27, 2009
So what does Mickey Mouse have to do with studying the scriptures? Mickey Mouse is looking in the mirror to paint his creator. How many of us can look in the mirror and paint our creator?
Alma 5:14,16,19,26 reads "And now behold, I ask of you my brethern of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenace? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? " "..can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?" "can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands?" "if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"
I have always loved these scriptures. I have always looked foreward to the second coming. I loved the song "His Image in your countenance" as a youth.
I really enjoyed ELder Bednar's talk on Clean Hands and a Pure Heart in Oct 2007. He talked about how we can attain these two things and said that we can have clean hands and not a pure heart.
He said, "Let me suggest that hands are made clean through the process of putting off the natural man and by overcoming sin and the evil influences in our lives through the Savior’s Atonement. Hearts are purified as we receive His strengthening power to do good and become better. All of our worthy desires and good works, as necessary as they are, can never produce clean hands and a pure heart. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength. The infinite Atonement is for both the sinner and for the saint in each of us. "
As we were going to the temple last Friday, I was talking with my good friend about so many things in the gospel and she recounted to me something she remembered from a talk. I wish I could remember who gave it. The important factor was that the most important thing was that we were on the right path. It isn't as important how far we are on the path, but that we are in the right direction. That being said, we recieve different blessings when we strive harder to stay on the path and move farther to being closer to our Father in Heaven.
The older I get, the more I realize how dependant I am upon the Lord. I can do all things through Him. I have to let things go and strive to have my will aligned more with His. When I do that, I am happier, more fulfilled and I get so much more done. It isn't always easy, but it is so worth it.
Monday, March 23, 2009
In 2 Nephi 1:5-6 it says, "we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord god hath covenanted with me should be an inheritance for my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord. "
1 Nephi 17: 37-38, "And he raiseth up a righteous nation, and destroyeth the nations of the wicked. And he leadeth away the righteous into precious lands, and the wicked he destroyeth, and curseth the land unto them for their sakes. "
3 Nephi 15: 13-19, I will just quote a few lines; " "And behold this is the land of your inheritance." "And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem." "because of ... unbelief... they understood not my word,... I was commanded to say no more..." "the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you."
It is written so many times in the scriptures of how much the Lord loves this land and preserved it for His people so that they could establish a land of peace. This land was prepared for the restoration of the church. Our founding fathers were led by the Lord to establish this land with a great constitution. We have grown up in a world that is blessed by the US.
The premises of the book, the 5000 year leap is that for about 5000 years, the world was at about the same state when it came to inventions and living their lives. There were inventions, but then all of a sudden, America was formed and inventions skyrocketed. If you look at the inventions that have blessed the earth within the last few hundred years, it is an amazing leap. All of this was able to take place because of the way that this country was set up. People want to invent and prosper and learn when they know that they will be blessed by their own good.
I am so grateful that I live in a country that has so many freedoms. I am grateful that I live in a country where I can worship the way that I want to. I feel more and more blessed after studying the scriptures for the privilege to live in this country. I also remind myself that where much is given, much is required.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I was struck first when I read verses 12 through 14 as it describes how the Lord promised the Israelites that if they were diligent in keeping the commandments they would ble blessed with rain in the season that they would need the rain for their crops. Disobedience would conversely withhold rain. How often do we take the rain and the weather for granted? How often do I look at the weather as purely an area thing, or just a natural occurance. This reminds me that rain come from the Lord as a gift. How more thankful I need to be when we recieve the good rain.
Verse 18 has some great reference to the temple. Reminding us that they too were temple covenant people and showing significance to what happens in the temple.
Verse 19 was a great reminder of the importance of teaching our children. It says to teach them when you sit, when you walk, when you lie down, and when you rise. So pretty much all the time. That is so many times the answer to my prayers when I want to know how to reach a child. A reminder to teach them the gospel and the answers come from there. Also, I can't count the times that the scripture in Family Scripture Study or one on one study with our kids has been an answer to a pray.
Verses 26-28 has the theme I see many times in the scriptures. A blessing and a curse, a great and dreadful day. The Lord gives blessings and consequences according to our obedience. It is up to us to choose to obey and recieve the blessings.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I think of 2 Nephi 2:25 where is says, "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." When you look at the footnote under joy, it says, "Man, potential to become like Heavenly Father." That puts clarity on joy. Our joy comes as we become more like Him. I know that is something I have always known, but today, it struck me with more clarity. True happiness comes from becoming like him and finding joy in the process. As I think about some of the refining times that I have had in my life, I truly did feel joy throughout, as tough as it was, because I could see where it was taking me. I could see the transformation in perspective and understanding and I am so grateful that the Lord cares enough about me to provide opportunities for me to learn and grow and become like him.
I love Elder Uchtdorf's talk, Happiness, Your Heritage. In it he introduces how we can attain God's happiness. He says, "Heavenly Father is able to accomplish these two great goals—the immortality and eternal life of man—because He is a God of creation and compassion. Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father’s perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate"
I love to create and so many time feel a need to creat something worthwhile, whether it is sewing a dress, cooking dinner, scrapbooking, and the list goes on. It all stems from my desire to create. It is a God given desire, and I feel so blessed for the joy I find in creating and the many talents I have been given in creating.
There is more in creating. Elder Uchtdorf goes on to say, "remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination." How we are helping our children to learn and to grow is the ultimate creative process in our lives. The fact that our Father in Heaven loves and trusts us enough to be parents is such a blessing. I find my greatest joys truly do come from my children.
My favorite quote from this talk is, "The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you." I am so thankful for the Spirit in my life and the promptings that I am so blessed to recieve. I am thankful for the joy that comes from knowing that I am listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
He closes his talk by saying, "My dear sisters, I have a simple faith. I believe that as you are faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, as you draw closer to Him in faith, hope, and charity, things will work together for your good.14 I believe that as you immerse yourselves in the work of our Father—as you create beauty and as you are compassionate to others—God will encircle you in the arms of His love.15" I think I needed to read this talk today. I am so thankful for the words of the prophets and the love that they share with us. I am also thankful for the blessing that it is to know of my Father in Heaven's love for each of us and for the strength He gives to me every day.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I studied the story of Jonah, which again just reminded me how mindful the Lord is of each of us individually and also that my children are His children, and if I just take my worries and concerns to Him, He will help me because they are His children and He wants what is best for them even more than I do.
I also read 2 Nephi Chapter 1 and remarked on how Lehi just continued to teach truth when Lamen and Lemuel were rebellious. Not that my child is bad or rebellious, I am just trying to stay on top of the determination to channel it correctly. It is a great reminder to me of the importance that I have in continnuing to teach the gospel and to bring the love of our Father in Heaven in all that I do and say. For I truly must, "talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, preach of Christ, prophesy of Christ, and write according to our prophesies that our chilren may know to waht source they may look for a remission of their sins." 2 Nephi 25:26. I remember as a young mom how determined I was to always focus on the gospel and the blessings. I still talk about the many blessings the gospel brings to my life and the positive influences that I am blessed with. I do think that I can be better at discussing concerns and frustrations in a gospel sense.
I love this first chapter in 2 Nephi! I feel like it is full of so much. There is verse 15 which says, "I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." We can be encircled about in his love. President Hinckley gave a talk in the Women's Meeting of General Conference and related this story, which gives such good insight into how mother's often feel.
"Some years ago in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Elder Marion D. Hanks conducted a panel discussion. Included in that panel was an attractive and able young woman, divorced, the mother of seven children then ranging in ages from 7 to 16. She said that one evening she went across the street to deliver something to a neighbor. Listen to her words, as I recall them:
“As I turned around to walk back home, I could see my house lighted up. I could hear echoes of my children as I had walked out of the door a few minutes earlier. They were saying: ‘Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?’ ‘Can you take me to the library?’ ‘I have to get some poster paper tonight.’ Tired and weary, I looked at that house and saw the light on in each of the rooms. I thought of all of those children who were home waiting for me to come and meet their needs. My burdens felt heavier than I could bear.
“I remember looking through tears toward the sky, and I said, ‘Dear Father, I just can’t do it tonight. I’m too tired. I can’t face it. I can’t go home and take care of all those children alone. Could I just come to You and stay with You for just one night? I’ll come back in the morning.’
“I didn’t really hear the words of reply, but I heard them in my mind. The answer was: ‘No, little one, you can’t come to me now. You would never wish to come back. But I can come to you.’”
There are so very many like this young mother, who found herself in loneliness and desperation but was fortunate enough to have faith in the Lord, who could love her and help her."
He closes his talk with this statement,
What a blessing!
I love verse 6 in 2 Nephi as well. We talked about it in Gospel Essentials on Sunday, and I have thought about it much since. It reads, "there shall non come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord." This made me think of hte scripture that says to whom much is given, much is required.
I am thankful for the gospel and for the Love of the Lord. I am so grateful he touches my heart and teaches me and loves me.
Monday, March 9, 2009
". . . war which broke our amongst ourselves . . . for those kingmen who shed much blood amongst ourselves."
" . . .there was much contention amongst ourselves . . ."
Kingmens desire for power and authority and their unwillingness to fight for the cause of freedom. . . traitors to our country.
some had forgotten the blessings that come from God.
Then I read the following: But behold, now the Lamanites are coming upon us, taking possession of our lands, and they are murdering our people with the sword, yea, our women and our children, and also carrying them away captive, causing them that they should suffer all manner of afflictions, and this because of the great wickedness of those who are seeking for power and authority, yea, even those king-men.
Does this sound like anything you've heard on the news lately?
What weakens our nation? LACK of UNITY. We quite simply need to be UNITED in the cause of freedom. What was our motto shortly after 9/11? United We Stand! May the prayer in each of our hearts be that as a nation we are united for the cause of freedom.
You hear that word thrown around a lot lately. What does it mean? Richard G. Scott said: "Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances. It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle." ("Aquiring Spiritual Knowledge," Ensign, November 1993, pg. 86.)
Simply put: A principle is a truth by which we can govern our behavior.
As I studied Alma 61, Pahoran's response to being censured by Moroni. Remember, Moroni did not hide his feelings about not recieving food and reinforcements and even accused Pahoran of sitting on his throne in a state of thoughtless stupor. Personally, whenever anyone in my family thinks I am sitting home watching tv and eating ice cream, living the easy life, I get defensive, even a little angry. How could they say that? Do they have any idea the countless acts of service I do for them each day? However, that is not Pahoran's response. He is governed by a completely different principle. He says, "I am not angry and do rejoice in the greatness of your heart." What a great lesson for me. (1)Choose not to be angry, no matter the circumstance. (2) Look upon others hearts
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The kids were out of school on Monday and Tuesday, so I guess I was just being a mom and didn't put the effort needed to study the scriptures in depth. So, we are starting back at it today!
I love studying the Doctrines and Covenants and seeing all the miracles that surround the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. This is the section where Oliver Cowdery came to see Joseph Smith as being called by the Lord, and where Joseph had prayed for a scribe and was told that one would come in a few short days. Every time I read about the Book of Mormon and how it came to be translated, I stand in awe of the hand of the Lord throughout the whole process.
In verse 2, it talks about the word being quick and powerful. I pondered tis and thought about how it truly is so powerful and quick to help us follow the Lord. As I looked in the student manual, it says, "quick in the bible dictionayr means something 'living, alive.' Thus, to be quickened by the Spirit means to give spiritual life. The work of the Lord is quick and powerful because it is a source of life, energy, and real power. " I like that. It truly does enliven us. I see such a difference as I study the scriptures.
I have been pondering a lot and I want to be more of whom the Lord has in store for me. I knw that can only happen as I turn my will over to the Lord. I need to be more diligent in praying always. In following the talk given by Elder Bednar, I can be strenghtened through my weaknesses if I turn to the Lord and give my life over to Him. Reading the scriptures puts Him first and helps me to have perspective for my day. I know that I can do and be so much more. I have so much to work on and it is only through the Lord that I can become who He wants me to become.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I remember a talk about what is not enough, I searched and found this quote in a talk by President Faust, "The greatest challenge in the world-good parenting" Given in conference in 1990.
"A few years ago, Bishop Stanley Smoot was interviewed by President Spencer W. Kimball. President Kimball asked, "How often do you have family prayer?" Bishop Smoot answered, "We try to have family prayer twice a day, but we average about once." President Kimball answered, "In the past, having family prayer once a day may have been all right. But in the future it will not be enough if we are going to save our families."
President Faust goes on to say, "I wonder if having casual and infrequent family home evening will be enough in the future to fortify our children with sufficient moral strength. In the future, infrequent family scripture study may be inadequate to arm our children with the virtue necessary to withstand the moral decay of the environment in which they will live. Where in the world will the children learn chastity, integrity, honesty, and basic human decency if not at home? These values will, of course, be reinforced at church, but parental teaching is more constant. "
I have thought about this and how important it is that we teach our children at home. Many times, when I am worried about a child's behavior, the answer that comes to my heart is to teach that child to love the scriptures and to understand the teachings of the Lord, and then the other problems will be resolved. And it always helps. Teaching our children the truth truly does make the difference.
So thoughts on the second coming that came from Joseph Smith History 1:37-41 took me on a bit of a different route. I will try to go back to the second coming again. Verse 37 says, "And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Verse 39 says, "So likewise, mine elect, when they shall see all these things, they shall know that he is near, even at the doors;"
I look around and see that He is near and that the prophesies are coming forth in these days. I know that it will be harder before it gets better and I guess that is what prompted my thoughts on preparing for the second coming. I love that as we treasure His word, we will not be deceived. I love the gospel and hope that I can grow to love the scriptures more and more, and like President Hinckley said, have a "love affair with the scriptures."
Monday, February 23, 2009
I am working with the Elders to teach a sister in our ward English. She has a good heart, but believes that all churches are true. She thinks that the Lord just wants us to turn to Him, whether we are Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, it matters not, just as long as we turn to Him. She read the first vision and flat out told me she didn't believe it. That was hard for me to hear. I have had other people say they believe different things, but I don't know if I have ever had someone I thought could believe it, flat out say they don't. She then looked at me incredulously and asked me if I really believed it. I bore my testimony and shared that not only did I believe it, but I know in my heart through the Holy Ghost that it is true. I asked her to pray about it. She said that she would, but she is too set in her ways to change right now. I am hoping that her heart will soften. She is from Iran and trying to learn English. That is her main purpose of going to school. We are teaching her through the Book of Mormon reader and a book that she has of her own. I keep praying that she will see the light. I think it will just be line upon line. If she never accepts the gospel, it will be sad. Yet, I am so grateful for agency and the gift that we are all given here on earth.
I love reading the account of the first vision and remembering all that took place before that led up to this miraculous event. He was brought up in a family where scripture study was important. I often think of how many families studied and knew the bible. I think it was two fold. One to learn to read and write and the other for religious purposes. I think of this society and how it is so much easier for people to turn on the TV or the computer... rather than read from the scriptures. I think they read from them so much. I want my children to know the scriptures that well.
I love the scriptures and how that pattern answers so many prayers. Just last night, the scriptures were such an answer to prayer. Elisabeth has been having a hard time falling asleep. I went to read her personal scriptures with her. It was about Alma the Younger and the four sons of Mosiah leaving each other to serve missions to the Lamanites. They were getting ready to separate and Alma gave them each a blessing and they knew that they could have the necessary courage if they had the Spirit with them. We talked about how scary it would be to go to the Lamanites, who delighted in the shedding of blood, in theft and so forth. It would be really scary, and yet they knew that they could have courage through the Spirit. So we talked about how she could have the Spirit with her before bedtime so she could have the courage to fall asleep. She is such a sweet girl. She has asked for a blessing from her daddy last night. She did fall asleep better. I see how much the scriptures strengthen us and give us answers to prayers.
There is also the story of young Joseph having his leg injury and having it cut out. The strength and determination and conviction he held was such a preparation for all that he had to endure as the prophet. I see how we have trials to strengthen us and prepare us for other times in our lives.
I am so grateful for the first vision and for the prayer of young Joseph Smith and for the testimony that I have of the restoration of the gospel.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
"For this cause I have said, Stop and stand still until I command thee."
I see the Lord like us as parents. He sees the big picture and He is just asking us to stop and wait on Him for the right time and He will direct us through all things. There are times when we see that our children are headed in the wrong direction and they don't understand that we see the bigger picture. The Lord sees an even bigger picture, which is why it is so imperative that we heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost and strive to follow Him.
Then, there is the great promise that if we head the promptings of the Spirit, keep the commandments, and not yield to the persuasions of man, then we shall have eternal life.
An elder in my ward shared this quote on Sunday. I loved it and had to copy it down.
"Remember that this work is not your and mine alone. It is the Lord's work, and when we are on the Lord's errand, ... we are entitled to the Lord's help." President Thomas S. Monson.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
In John 5:2-9, it is the story of the man that went to the pool of Bethesda where the angels would turn the water and the first one in would be healed. He was unable to move quick enough to get into the pool before someone else would each time the pool turned. The Lord came to the man and said, "Rise and take up thy bed and walk." "And immediately the man was made whole. " We can all become whole through the Lord.
In Matthew and Mark we read of the story of the Apostles on the water and the winds come and it is on the 4th watch that the Savior calms the waters. He often waits until we are in our final watch when we feel like we have done all that we can and have endured and then He comes and answers our prayers and calms the troubled waters.
3 Nephi 17: 20 - 24 is one of my favorite scriptures. I love that He took the children one by one and He knew them by name just as He knows each of us by name, and then He blessed them and then the angels did minister unto them. I talked with a member of the Stake Presidency in Texas about this set of scriptures, and he pointed out that maybe the reason this happened was so that the parents could see their children being taught by the Spirit and to see the important role that is as parents. I have often reflected on this and thought on how my children are so benefited when we provide opportunities for them to feel the Spirit and to know for themselves the truthes in the gospel. Our trip to Palmyra and Kirkland Ohio this summer were great testimony builders for my sweet children, where they felt the Spirit for themselves in the Sacred Grove and on Hill Cumorah.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
I love this quote. It goes back to the whole reason that we have the gospel. I was going back to the Sunday School lesson quite a few weeks ago. I am in Gospel Essentials for my calling, so I am wanting to personally study the D & C, at least once a week. This lesson mostly covers sections 18, 19, and 76. I love the testimonies of the Savior. I also love how it points out his roles and attributes.
I marvel at how much He has to offer us when we do what He asks. In D & C 6: 20-21, he says that if we are faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments, He will encircle us about in the arms of His love. What a beautiful promise. I have felt His arms around me as I have tried to do His will. I think of our move here and all the trials that were placed before us. I never felt alone. When I would get concerned, He would give me little answers. I still remember the early morning when He whispered the time line to me. I held on to that, and then when it worked out exactly as He has told me, I knew that He had done that for my peace of mind. It drove Drew nuts occasionally as he was getting discouraged at finding a new job and I said quietly, the job will come in March. It wasn't me, it was the Lord giving me the strength to hold out.
I keep going back to the Sacrament prayers. When we lose the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, if we will remember Him, then we can get the Spirit back. It really isn't that hard to remember Him.
In D & C 76:5, He says that He is merciful and He delights to honor those who serve Him in righteousness and truth. I look at where we are now, and all my dreams have come true. I have more than I could ever imagined and it is through the many blessings that He has given our family.
One more thing I really learned from our move here, while I am on that subject, is that the Atonement is more than for repentance. I have a testimony of the great blessing it is for us to be able to repent and be cleaned through the Atonement. It is amazing to me. I also learned that I can't do all that I am asked without His help. I am more when I submit my will to His and I strive to do His will. I have been taught it throughout my life, but I understand it so much more now. I am so thankful for this testimony and for His love and understanding and His arms that do encircle me when I strive to do His will.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I am grateful for the power of prayer and the blessing it is in my life. I know that as I search and study and pray that He does hear and answer my prayers. He blesses me continuously. I am able to know of His will and be comforted through hard times, and blessed.
I want to leave with a great quote by Elder Packer concerning scripture study, "With the passing of years, these scriptures will produce successive generations of faithful Christians who know the Lord Jesus Christ and are disposed to obey His will. The older generation has been raised without them, but there is another generation growing up. The revelations will be opened to them as to no other in the history of the world. Into thier hands now are placed the sticks of Joseph and of Judah. They will develop a gospel scholarship beyond that which their forebears could achieve. They will have the testimony that Jesus is the Christ ad be competatn to proclaim Him and to defend Him." Elder Bednar states that we are that generation. I see my children and see how much better they know the scriptures and I know they will be even stronger than my generation. I am so grateful for them and the influence they have in our lives. As we cleave unto the iron rod, the scriptures, we will be able to make it back to our Father in Heaven.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Section 4 is an awesome section, quite often referred to as the missionary section. In verse 2, as it talks about serving God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, I have a written referral to Mark 10:17-22, 25-31. This is the story of the man who came and asked the Lord what more he could do as he had kept the commmandment from his youth. The Lord responded with go and sell all that you have and then follow me. And the man sadly turned away. I wonder if the man was looking for a pat on the back, and then it was his pride that caused him to deny his riches to be given up. I like the second part of that chapter as it talks about how with men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. We can't do it all on our own. We have to rely on the arm of the Lord to be able to give our wills to Him. In verse 30, it says that he shall recieve an hundred fold. When we give it all up and let it go to the Lord, we recieve so much more. I feel that way so much in my life. Right now, I have all I ever dreamed of and more. I have a great family, a great husband, and awesome children. I feel so blessed.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I read the bible dictionary. The part that interested me was when it said that the "so called difficulty" people have in praying comes from forgetting the relationship that God is our Father. I like that because as long as we remember that we are His children and He is our Father, then prayer comes naturally. I love how prayer gives me such clarity into so many things in my life. When I pray, I gain a greater understanding of my children, who they are, what they are doing, and how I am doing as their mother. A quite humbling perspective that helps me immensely.
As I studied the scriptures, I liked in Jeremiah where He talks about loving us and wanting to give us the great ending. He truly does want what is best for us.
I also read in Luke 18 the parable of the Unjust Judge. In my trying to understand this parable a bit better, I found this quote, “Jesus did not indicate that as the wicked judge finally yielded to supplication so would God do; but He pointed out that if even such a being as this judge, who ‘feared not God, neither regarded man,’ would at last hear and grant the widow’s plea, no one should doubt that God, the Just and Merciful, will hear and answer” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. I know He hears and answers my prayers. I know that the more I pray, the more in tune I am to His will and the better my day goes.
I love Elder Bednar's talk. I love how he talks about praying always. I was touched by his thoughts on how to pray each day. He says,
"We learn from these verses that the spiritual creation preceded the temporal creation. In a similar way, meaningful morning prayer is an important element in the spiritual creation of each day—and precedes the temporal creation or the actual execution of the day. Just as the temporal creation was linked to and a continuation of the spiritual creation, so meaningful morning and evening prayers are linked to and are a continuation of each other.
Consider this example. There may be things in our character, in our behavior, or concerning our spiritual growth about which we need to counsel with Heavenly Father in morning prayer. After expressing appropriate thanks for blessings received, we plead for understanding, direction, and help to do the things we cannot do in our own strength alone. For example, as we pray, we might:
- Reflect on those occasions when we have spoken harshly or inappropriately to those we love the most.
- Recognize that we know better than this, but we do not always act in accordance with what we know.
- Express remorse for our weaknesses and for not putting off the natural man more earnestly.
- Determine to pattern our life after the Savior more completely.
- Plead for greater strength to do and to become better.
Such a prayer is a key part of the spiritual preparation for our day."I want my prayer to be more sincere and to be more linked. I remember in Texas and talking with Patti, that we shared how each day should begin with gospel study to show the Lord that we put Him first. As we do this, everything else falls into place. My goal for this week isn't just to increase the sincerity of my prayers but also to begin my days with gospel study to set the tone for the rest of the day.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
I had a friend recently write the quote, "At the end of the day, think not on the harvest that you reaped, but the seeds that you sowed." -Robert Louis Stephenson on her blog. I have been pondering that a lot and thinking how I can become more of a sower. How can I change my heart to look out more and to think more on others. I know that it is in giving and losing yourself that you find yourself.
Friday, January 30, 2009
The other reference is to the temple and how it is a great deal for us. The Lord knew that we would sin, and so he has offered us a great deal through His mercy to return to live with Him. We repent and go to the temple to know what is required of us, then we can return to live with Him.
Finally D & C 84 is a very insightful section. It talks about the oath and covenant of the priesthood. We usually jump ahead, but lets look at the whole section. It is all there for a purpose. He talks about the priesthood being handed down and then says in verse 22-23, "For without this (referring to the priesthood) no man can see the face of God, even the Father and live. Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;" So, what is our purpose on earth? To return to the presence of our Father in Heaven and to see His face. What do we have to have in order to see His face? The priesthood? What does that mean? We have to recieve the priesthood, verse 36 says, "For all they who receive this priesthood, receive me." Not just obtain, but receive. You can obtain the priesthood, but until you accept it working in our lives, you don't recieve me. When you receive Him, you recieve the Father and all that the Father hath. What a great section in the scriptures.
I hope that made sense. I am so grateful for the gospel and all that I learn.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"I believe the real crisis of our time is . . . an exhaustion of the soul. This spiritual apathy is described by the world acedia, a word which comes from the Greek a ('not') plus kedos ('care')-- hence, not caring, boredom, or apathy . . ."
"But acedia signifies more than just spiritual laziness or even indifference. It cannotes misplaced priorities, a darkening of the soul, a hatred of the good, a death of the heart. It leads to spiritual paralysis, leaving its victims 'past feeling'" (A Caring Community: Goodness in Action," Ensign, February 1999, page 16)
This morning I studied all the references in the topical guide under APATHY and of course I wasn't suprised to learn that we are surrounded by apathy in our world today. One of my children constantly says . . . "I don't care . . ." whenever they have to face a harsh reality, or are being corrected or even complimented. Naturally I was a bit worried to see it written " . . . real crisis of our time . . ."
I have a little book entitled Pierre A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak. It's a story about a little boy who says he doesn't care about anything, eventually gets eaten by a lion, retrieved from the lions stomach which magically makes him "CARE." The tradgedy for Pierre is that he misses time with family, is disrespectful, rude and basically out of control. A story with and great moral: CARE.
In the scriptures it describes lots of ways that we can show apathy
1. Ignore the widows
2. Turn our backs on the poor and needy
3. Procrastinate the day of our repentence (busy in our favorite sins)
4. Not caring for others
5. Being lukewarm
6. Lulled away by thinking "All is well" when we know its not.
7. Being slothful or from Proverbs being a "Sluggard," idle or burying your talents
8. Not valiant
9. Seeking your own and not Christ
10. thoughtless stupor, spiritually blind or/and deaf, need to be compelled in all things.
The list seemed to go on and on and I could find little ways that I fit into some of the categories. But there seemed to be an antedote.
Luke 10:27 . . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
D&C 4:2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
This has given me the chance for personal reflection. When I say, "I don't care," what's really going on? Have I relaxed my effort in my relationship with God? Have I let less important things get in the way of the most important thing. When my children say "I don't care," are they feeling unloved, unimportant, unwanted, misunderstood? For myself, I know I need to soften my heart and turn to God. I know He always cares, He always hears, He always reassures. I recently was earnestly praying about a situation. In my prayer I explained the ins and outs, the ups and downs and how much it really meant to me to be able to accomplish this particular objective. I pleaded for help and then posed the alternative "I give up" solution. With nothing coming to my mind, I closed my prayer. Minutes later as I crawled into bed the words, "Have I ever let you down?" came vividly to my mind. I cling to this when the natural man in me starts to get me down. I recall it and feel enveloped in His love. I know He CARES!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
thought: Judas (keeper of the money bag) wanted to sell a certain ointment and give the money to the poor, ointment must have been expensive, a luxury maybe so I'm thinking maybe this woman has spent a lot of money for this ointment, she is making a personal sacrifice.
Then she begins to weep and bathe the Saviors feet with her tears, wipe them with her hair, and annoint them with the ointment I see personal and sincere service and sacrifice.
Then comes the Saviors' story about the two debtors (one owing a lot, one owing a little) and the creditor who frankly forgives both of them. He poses the question, which debtor loves the creditor most? Simon answers that the one who owed the most, loves the most. I love verse 47! After a little lecture on courtesy the Savior points out all that the woman has given and done on His behalf and then says, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven for she loved much." Then he tells the woman that her sins are forgiven and "Thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace."
thought: I am not anywhere near perfect but I can:
1. Exercise faith and come to the Savior
2. Give my personal best
3. Give of myself
4. Love much
Hopefully, like her, my faith will save me.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I love Mother Eve. Sometimes I just like thinking about Eve, and the phrase “the mother of all living”, makes me feel connected to her. I read in a book entitled, Eve and the Garden, and the author referenced a finding that each of us females have DNA that can be traced back to Eve. I like what she teaches us by word and example from the scriptures in Moses.
1. Have children.
2. Find joy in your children
3. Taught her children the gospel
4. Pray with your husband
5. Work beside (not against) your husband
6. Rejoice in the plan of salvation, accept and keep the commandments, makes sacrifices
7. Never stop praying and then listen for the voice of the Lord
8. Mourned with her husband at the death of a child
Eve is a woman of great faith, why else would she have been chosen first? As a woman of faith she could set an example for each of us daughters. She had vision and understood exactly what our Heavenly Father wanted her to do and then found a way to make things happen. She never once whined or complained that the way was too hard or plain impossible, but instead, with faith and courage went forward. Her top two priorities marriage and family. Granted, back then there weren’t many alluring things to distract her, but she easily could have got caught up in herself and had one big pity party, but she didn’t.
In the Bible Dictionary, under Esther, it says that the Book of Esther contains no direct reference to God, but is everywhere taken for granted as the book infers a providential destiny and speaks of fasting for deliverance. There have been doubts at times as to whether it should be admitted to the canon of scripture. But the book has a religious value as containing a most striking illustration of God’s overruling providence in history, and as exhibiting a very high type of courage, loyalty and patriotism. While I sometimes get lost in the many details of the Esther story, with Mordecai, the king and all the other names that get mixed up in my head, but I’d rather focus on the most important things I learned from her.
Fast and Pray
Have Courage and follow the spirit.
As I deal with my teenage children who are really good kids with an occasional bad day here and there, I sometimes wonder if the Lord knows what he is doing allowing me to be their mother. The words from Mordecai to Ester come to mind, “Who knoweth whether thou art sent to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Words of Ezra Taft Benson say that we were saved and sent to bear up the kingdom of God in the last days. I know I was saved and sent, so I’m glad they didn’t leave her story out of the scriptures, it inspires me to have courage and conviction to stand for what is right.
I first learned of Dorcus, or Tabatha when I was a college student at Utah State. I was the Interchapter president of the LDS sorority Lambda Delta Sigma. As the USU representative I was assigned a large speaking role in the model induction ceremony to be given at the Western States Sorority Convention. Dorcus was referred to as an example of a sister who did many almsdeeds. Not having done in further research at the time, I only new she was a good woman. Upon further exploration, I learned what the “good works and almsdeeds” were. She would sew clothes and coats for all the widows she knew. She died and these widows went and got Peter and asked that he bring her back to life. He prayed over her and told her to arise. She did and went forth as a testimony, many believed in the Lord because of her.
We have so many options to serve and do good works in the time in which we live. My biggest obstacle is just getting something, anything done. As we serve and do any kind of service we glorify God and many will brought to believe in the Lord because of us.
While it may seem odd to talk about Lehi and Ishmaels’ daughters they offer us real life examples to grasp onto.
First, we know that Lehi and Ishmael were very wealthy families. They and their families left their wealth behind and went and lived in tents in the dangerous Arabian desert . I’m sure there was weeping and wailing, complaining and cursing, but eventually we learn that they learned not to complain, they bore their children in the wilderness nursed them and were strengthened so much so that they were strong as the men, raw meat was made sweet unto them. With the Lord nothing is unbearable, impossible or intolerable.