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.