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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pain & Progress

"Yes, there is pain in change, but there is also great satisfaction in recognizing that progress is being achieved. We need not feel that we must forever be what we presently are. When change is thought through carefully, it can produce the most rewarding and profound experiences in life."

—Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, Nov. 1979
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Hero at the Grocery Store, by Stephenie Meyer

Suddenly everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.

Christmas stories happen in the most everyday places. I was part of one not long ago at the grocery store. I hope I never forget it, though the memory is bittersweet.

I had been shopping for almost an hour by the time I got to the checkout lines. My two youngest sons were with me, the four-year-old refusing to hold onto the cart, the two-year-old trying to climb out of the basket and jump down to play with his brother. Both got progressively whinier and louder as I tried to keep them under control, so I was looking for the fastest lane possible. I had two choices. In the first line were three customers, and they all had just a few purchases. In the second line was only one man, a harried young father with his own crying baby, but his cart was overflowing with groceries.

I quickly looked over the three-person line again. The woman in the front was very elderly, white haired and rail thin, and her hands were shaking as she tried unsuccessfully to unlatch her big purse. In the other line, the young father was throwing his food onto the conveyor belt with superhuman speed. I got in line behind him.

It was the right choice. I was able to start unloading my groceries before the elderly woman was even finished paying. My four-year-old was pulling candy from the shelf, and my little one was trying to help by lobbing cans of soup at me. I felt I couldn’t get out of the store fast enough.
And then, over the sound of the store’s cheery holiday music, I heard the checker in the other line talking loudly, too loudly. I glanced over as my hands kept working.

“No, I’m sorry,” the checker was almost shouting at the old woman, who didn’t seem to understand. “That card won’t work. You are past your limit. Do you have another way to pay?”

The tiny old woman blinked at the checker with a confused expression. Not only were her hands shaking now, but her shoulders too. The teenage bagger rolled her eyes and sighed.

As I caught a soup can just before it hit my face, I thought to myself: “Boy, did I choose the right line! Those three are going to be there forever.” My mood was positively smug as my checker began scanning my food.

But the smiling woman directly in line behind the elderly lady had a different reaction. Quietly, with no fanfare, she moved to the older woman’s side and ran her own credit card through the reader.

“Merry Christmas,” she said softly, still smiling.

And then everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.

It took a minute for the older woman to understand what had happened. The checker, her face thoughtful, hesitated with the receipt in her hand, not sure whom to give it to. The smiling woman took it and tucked it into the elderly woman’s bag.

“I can’t accept …” the older woman began to protest, with tears forming in her eyes.

The smiling woman interrupted her. “I can afford to do it. What I can’t afford is not to do it.”

“Let me help you out,” the suddenly respectful bagger insisted, taking the basket and also taking the old woman’s arm, the way she might have helped her own grandmother.

I watched the checker in my line pause before she pressed the total key to dab at the corner of her eyes with a tissue.

Paying for my groceries and gathering my children, I made it out of the store before the smiling woman. I had made the right choice of lanes, it seemed.

But as I walked out into the bright December sunshine, I was not thinking about my luck but about what I could not afford.

I could not afford my current, self-absorbed frame of mind.

I could not afford to have my children learn lessons of compassion only from strangers.

I could not afford to be so distant from the spirit of Christ at any time of the year—especially during this great season of giving.

I could not afford to let another stranger, another brother or sister, cross my path in need of help without doing something about it.

And that is why I hope never to forget the Christmas hero in the grocery store. The next time I have a chance to be that kind of a hero, I can’t afford to miss it.

- Stephenie Meyer, “Hero at the Grocery Store,” Ensign, Dec 2006, 20–21 -
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Making Time for Reflection

"Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God". (D&C 101:16)

"Our lives become extremely busy. We run from one thing to another. We wear ourselves out in thoughtless pursuit of goals which are largely ephemeral. We are entitled to spend some time with ourselves in introspection, in development, in thinking, meditating, pondering things."
~ President Gordon B Hinckley ~
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Don't Push the Cow in Today

One of President Lee’s favorite sayings was:

“It’s all right to pull the cow out of the mud on Sunday,provided that you don’t push him in on Saturday night.”
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Excuse me, are you Jesus?

EXCUSE ME, ARE YOU JESUS? As you read this think about what you would do!

"Excuse me, Are you Jesus?" A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago . They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE !!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.

He was glad he did.

The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?" She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?"

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?" Do people mistake you for Jesus? That's our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Sometimes we just take things for granted, when we really need to be sharing what we know... Thanks GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

God is on his throne-and all is right with the world!
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Christmas Story, a Breath of Heaven

*Please mute the music on this blog before playing*

This is my last post before Christmas. This sums up what this season is all about. Wishing you a very happy Christmas, may you be wrapped in the arms of His love, always.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

The First Christmas

The announcement of the first Christmas is the sweetest story ever told—the "glad tidings of great joy"—were to be "unto all people". The Light of the world was to shine in every heart.

I hope He shines in your heart today!
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Receive His Love

"The ultimate expression of following Christ is to receive His love, whether from Himself or from those who serve him, to be lifted and blessed by it and then to be for others what He has been for us...."

—Stephen E. Robinson, Following Christ-
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Pool of Bethesda

"Just as the lame man at the pool of Bethesda needed someone stronger than himself to be healed (see John5:1-9), so we are dependent on the miracles of Christ's atonement if our souls are to be made whole from grief, sorrow, and sin".

—Merrill J. Bateman, Ensign, May 1995
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Thoughts on Fishing - Part 3

Last thought about these verses, I think:)

.....OK, so they hadn't caught any fish, the Saviour came and they caught a huge amount, which would been VERY lucrative for them. I found this very interesting that the Lord provided such a temporal blessing for them,that would have secured wealth for them, then before they had had the chance to spend any of it, the Saviour invited them to follow Him and to spread the gospel, and they did:

"And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him."

Maybe that was the final step after exercising faith and showing humility, being willing to give up all worldly goods and behaviour. What great examples they were, they forsook all immediately to follow the Saviour, and we have all been blessed by that decision. It has lead me to ask myself the question, am I willing to forsake all to follow the Saviour??? Our hearts always know the answer.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Love & Praise

2 Nephi 1:15
Father Lehi said: “But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”

2 Nephi 4:30
Then Nehpi his son said:“Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say:O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation”.

Elder Maxwell: "What will we and those who witness these marvelous events speak of, then and later? Not the solar display with falling stars! Instead, we will speak of Jesus'"loving-kindness." For how long will we so exclaim? "Forever and ever" (D&C 133:52). The more we come to know of Jesus and the Atonement, the more we shall praise and adore Him "forever and ever."
(Neal A. Maxwell, That Ye May Believe)

I hope that you have felt as Lehi did – that you can feel His love about you, and that it causes you to praise Him forever. I love my Saviour, and I know He loves you - I really feel that sometimes when I send these thoughts out, that your souls are so precious. I hope you have a wonderful day.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

All the World must go to Bethlehem

"All the world must go to Bethlehem though some but shut the door to Christ--all the world must go to Bethlehem and some will find the world's wisdom there. All the earth must go to Bethlehem, for there is earth's hope."

—John F. Mulholland- "We Must Go to Bethlehem,"Treasury of the Christian Faith
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Who the Savior is

"A babe born in a stable of the village Bethlehem, boy reared as a carpenter of Nazareth...a man who never received a school degree, who never spoke from great pulpit, who never owned a home...is actually the Creator of heaven and earth and all that in them are."

—Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, December 1983
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Friday, December 12, 2008

What does Christianity consist of?

"Christianity consists not in abstaining from doing things no gentleman would think of doing, but in doing things that are unlikely to occur to anyone who is not in touch with the spirit of Christ".

—R. H. L. Sheppard, Treasury of the Christian Faith
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Thoughts on Fishing - Part 2

A few days ago I shared some thoughts about the experience of Simon Peter & co fishing and the miracle of catching the fish provided by the Saviour. Well, another thing I really liked was Simon Peter's reaction to receiving this huge blessing, Luke
records:

"When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’
knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man,
O Lord.
"For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
"....And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men." (Luke 5: 8-10)


This showed what a humble man Simon Peter was, and imperfect too - like the rest of us - and he definately did not feel worthy of such a great blessing. Nevertheless the Lord saw fit to bless him, and showed His grace in the miracle He gave, showing
that the Saviour looks for opportunities to bless us, and that He uses those who are imperfect who know they need the Redeemer in their lives, and who show gratitude for what they have received.

I hope you have a wonderful day and feel of the Saviours love for you, and that you feel Him smiling upon the good things that you are doing.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Prince of Peace

"The Prince of Peace was sent to "bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound"(Isaiah 61:1). The Lord Jehovah, who is Jesus Christ, is the Great Physician, the One sent of the Father to heal our wounds, to dry our tears, to settle our souls."

—Robert L. Millet, Alive in Christ-
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Go Back to Bethlehem

"Let us go back in our hearts to Bethlehem—to Jesus, the infant who grew to teach saving principles, to work miracles, to be our Redeemer."

—Elaine Cannon, Woman's Choices: The Relief SocietyLegacy Lectures-
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Monday, December 8, 2008

My Thoughts on Fishing - Part 1

Peter, James and John had worked through the night trying to catch some fish, but had caught nothing.

The Saviour then comes to them and says:

"Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught (or catch)". (Luke 5:2-11)

Simon Peter replies that they had tried all night to catch fish, but have been unsuccessful, nevertheless they will try again, because He has asked them to.

As they followed the Saviour they caught a great multitude of fish, that filled two boats, so much so that the boats were in danger of sinking.

The miracle that happened wouldn't have been so great, and Simon Peter's faith in the Saviours instruction to cast their nets again wouldn't have meant so much, if success had not been witheld from them previously.

Sometimes the Lord witholds blessings from us, not because He doesn't love us, but so that He can show us HOW MUCH He loves us, and sometimes it takes us to 'launch out into the deep' to find those things which have been hidden from our view previously, and to really find ourselves.

I hope that you have a great day, and if things don't seem to be working out the way that you had hoped despite your best efforts, then take courage, the blessings are just around the corner waiting to be found. Things always work out when we exercise faith.
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Friday, December 5, 2008

A Grateful People

"Of all of these wondrous, challenging things with which we live, I hope you regard it a blessing to be alive in this great age of the world. . . . I hope you walk with gratitude in your hearts, really. Grateful people are respectful people. Grateful people are courteous people. Grateful people are kindly people.
Be grateful."

—Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley-
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Joseph B. Wirthlin Tribute Video

This was realeased yesterday.

*You'll need to mute the music on my blog first*

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Come What May, and Laugh" - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Elder Wirthlin passed away yesterday, aged 91 years old. I was reading his last conference address from his talk called ;Come What May, and Laugh', and loved the 'Learn to Laugh' section. Here it is, I hope it brings a smile to your face too:

"The first thing we can do is learn to laugh. Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?

There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.

"I remember loading up our children in a station wagon and driving to Los Angeles. There were at least nine of us in the car, and we would invariably get lost. Instead of getting angry, we laughed. Every time we made a wrong turn, we laughed harder.

Getting lost was not an unusual occurrence for us. Once while heading south to Cedar City, Utah, we took a wrong turn and didn’t realize it until two hours later when we saw the “Welcome to Nevada” signs. We didn’t get angry. We laughed, and as a result, anger and resentment rarely resulted. Our laughter created cherished memories for us.

I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. She was all dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. In walked a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the door. We watched as she got into the car, but the car didn’t move. Eventually our daughter got out of the car and, red faced, ran back into the house. The man that she thought was her blind date had actually come to pick up another of our daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife.

We all had a good laugh over that. In fact, we couldn’t stop laughing. Later, when our daughter’s real blind date showed up, I couldn’t come out to meet him because I was still in the kitchen laughing. Now I realize that our daughter could have felt humiliated and embarrassed. But she laughed with us, and as a result, we still laugh about it today.

The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable."

(Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin , General Conference, October 2008)

Thank you Elder Wirthlin, you will be missed.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Star in Bethlehem

"Whether the world accepts Jesus Christ as the literal Son of God or not does not change the absolute truth that he is. If the Lord Jehovah can place billions of stars in the cosmos, he can certainly cause one star to hang in suspended brilliance over Bethlehem."

—Vaughn J. Featherstone, More Purity Give Me-
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Careful & Keep

Philippians 4:6-7
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God".
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus".

There are a couple of footnotes I like to these verses: Verse 6 - 'Careful' - meaning 'don't be unduly concerned' (GR). I think it's easy to get caught up with things that in the long run don't really matter. Sometimes our priorities and perspective get confused, and we put the most effort into the things that matter the least- neglecting the 'weightier matters'(Matt 23:23).

Verse 7 - 'keep' - meaning 'guard' (GR). The blessing of peace is such a wonderful thing. When it is absent confusion and despair reign, when it is present faith carries you through your trials giving you hope and purpose. I like the use of the word 'guard' here - it makes me feel as if God is protecting us from unnecessary pain and anguish of heart, which I know He will as we come unto Christ more fully.
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gordon B. Hinckley Tribute

Once again, mute the music on my blog.

In memory of Gordon B. Hinckley.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Needing No Other Reason

"Blessed are those who need no reasons other than their love for the Saviour to keep his commandments."


James E. Faust, "The Lord's Day," Ensign, Nov. 1991
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude & Spirituality

"I believe there is a definite link between gratitude and spirituality. Those who are unaware of their blessings miss the opportunity of rejoicing in the goodness of God, [and] the richness of life. I believe that personal peace and increased humility often follow our expressions and feelings of gratitude."
(Elaine L. Jack, Eye to Eye, Heart to Heart)

I have noticed a difference in my life, and my overall attidude when I try and notice the little mircales that are dotted throughout my day. When my heart is grateful, trials that I imagined were big, appear to be more like speed bumps that just slow me down enough to notice the beauty that is close by if only I would look.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We Need Not Postpone

“We need not wait for Christmas, we need not postpone till Thanksgiving Day our response to the Savior’s tender admonition: ‘Go, and do thou likewise.’ ”

—President Thomas S. Monson (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 71)
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Counting and Recounting

Short but sweet:

"Counting blessings is better than recounting problems."

—Russell M. Nelson, Perfection Pending-
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Looking Beyond Imperfections

Mormon 8:12
"And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these.Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you."

When I read this the other day I recognised what great principle is shown here that can be applied to our relationships. It is sometimes so easy to notice the imperfections in each other (but also ourselves), but if these imperfections become our focus it shadows us seeing who people really are and missing out on the "greater things" than these.

The people who have motivated me the most in my life are the ones who look beyond my weaknesses, and see meas God sees me. So, that is my invitation you today -to look beyond the imperfections, and allow yourself to see the greater things which are available to those who do.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Saviour

A post for the weekend. You will need to mute the song playing on my blog (bottom right-hand column) before playing. Enjoy:

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Faith

(D&C42:48-51)

"And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed.
"He who hath faith to see shall see.
"He who hath faith to hear shall hear.
"The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap.

All we need is faith.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who we belong to

"..Those who have chosen to 'come unto Christ' soon realize that they do not 'own' themselves. Instead, they belong to Him. We are to become consecrated along with our gifts, our appointed days, and our very selves. Hence, there is a stark difference between stubbornly "owning" oneself and submissively belonging to God."

—Neal A. Maxwell
Ensign, November 1990
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our True Source

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on Relying on the Savior

"Jesus said, 'Without me ye can do nothing.' (John15:5). I testify that that is God's truth. Christ is everything to us and we are to 'abide' in Him permanently, unyieldingly, steadfastly, forever. For the fruit of the gospel to blossom and bless our lives, we must be firmly attached to Him, the Savior of us all, and to this His Church, which bears His holy name. He is the vine that is our true source of strength and the only source of eternal life. In Him we not only will endure but also will prevail and triumph in this holy cause that will never fail us." ( "Abide in Me," Ensign, May 2004, 32)
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Positive Proofreading

This is an excerpt from a talk by Elder Oaks, called“Judge Not” and Judging (from the August 1999 Ensign) which I love:

“In a BYU devotional address, Professor Catherine Corman Parry gave a memorable scriptural illustration of the consequences of judging by the wrong standards.The scripture is familiar. Martha received Jesus into her house and worked to provide for Him while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His words.

“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha,thou art careful and troubled about many things:“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her”(Luke 10:40-42).

Professor Parry said: “The Lord acknowledges Martha’scare: ‘Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things’ (Luke 10:41). Then he delivers the gentle but clear rebuke. But the rebuke would not have come had Martha not prompted it. The Lord did not go into the kitchen and tell Martha to stop cooking and come listen. Apparently he was content to let her serve him however she cared to, until she judged another person’s service: ‘Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me’ (Luke 10:40). Martha’s self-importance, expressed through her judgment of her sister, occasioned the Lord’s rebuke, not her busyness with the meal” (“ ‘Simon, I Have Somewhat to Say unto Thee’: Judgment and Condemnation in the Parables of Jesus,” in Brigham Young University 1990-91 Devotional and Fireside Speeches [1991], 116).

The great essayist William George Jordan wrote: “There is but one quality necessary for the perfect understanding of character, one quality that, if man have it, he may dare to judge—that is, omniscience.Most people study character as a proofreader pores over a great poem: his ears are dulled to the majesty and music of the lines, his eyes are darkened to the magic imagination of the genius of the author; that proofreader is busy watching for an inverted comma, a misspacing, or a wrong font letter. He has an eye trained for the imperfections, the weaknesses. …

“We do not need to judge nearly so much as we think we do. This is the age of snap judgments. … [We need] the courage to say, ‘I don’t know. I am waiting further evidence. I must hear both sides of the question.’ It is this suspended judgment that is the supreme form of charity(“The Supreme Charity of the World,” The Kingship of Self-Control [n.d.], 27-30; emphasis in original).”

I hope that we will be proofreaders of the positive qualities and attributes of others (and ourselves!) today.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Magnifying Glass Goals

"When we set goals, we are in command. Clearly understood goals bring our lives into focus just as a magnifying glass focuses a beam of light into a burning point. Without goals, our efforts may be scattered and unproductive."

—Ezra Taft Benson-
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Barefoot to the Celestial Kingdom

"I would rather walk barefoot all the way to the Celestial Kingdom than to let the things of this world keep me out of that kingdom."

—N. Eldon Tanner-
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Nevertheless....

I thought more about this scripiture today:

"And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."
(1 Nephi 4:6)

Often we read this familiar scripture and stop there -what caught my attention today was the next few words of the verse which follows:"Nevertheless I went forth,....." (v.7)

I love Nephi's example of faith in action - he didn't wait to be instructed or to receive knowledge, but 'went forth' knowing the Lord would guide him. He is much like his father Lehi, who didn't just pray in behalf of his people, but went amongst them and prayed as he did (1 Nephi 1:5).

It reminds me of the quote which says: "Some people pray cream and live skimmed milk"

I hope that the energies with which we live the gospel and exercise faith will be equal to the energies with which we pray to our Father in Heaven.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Setting Ourselves Free

I love this little bit from the article by Elder Holland in March 2005's Ensign on Elder Uchtdorf:

"Elder Uchtdorf’s son, Guido, remembers a German phrase his father often used when there was a problem or a difficulty in their lives. “Man könnte sichdarüber ärgern, aber man ist nicht verpflichtet dazu,”he would say, which roughly translated means, “You could be upset about it, but you are not obligated to be.” Dieter Uchtdorf feels that with agency and self-control, with the gospel of Jesus Christ and power in the priesthood, no one has to be victimized by circumstance. Terrible things can happen—and they have happened in his life—but with our hand in the hand of God, we can still chart a course that will set us free, that will eventually bring triumph. It requires courage, patience, optimism, and faith in God, but things can come out right if we stay with the task and stay in control."
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Making the Most of it

2 Nephi 5:16:
“And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.”

I read this scripture a couple of days ago, and loved how resourceful Nephi was. Coming closer to Christ and worshipping the Lord was important to Nephi, and although he didn’t have the resources available to him that Solomon had, he made the best of the things he DID have, and made it holy. Sometimes in our own lives as well we may want to wait for everything to be perfect, or covet someone else’s gifts or talents, thinking that we can’t do what they have done as we don’t have those same abilities - but that’s a sad error, as the life we build, to be a happy one, is made holy when we use whatever God has blessed us with, and then look to Him to make up the rest ~ and do you know what, when we put our trust in Him, He always does:)
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why Not Now?

Mosiah 27:31:
“Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God;”

Neal A. Maxwell:
“And, if you sense that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, why not do so now? For in the coming of that collective confession, it will mean much less to kneel down when it is no longer possible to stand up!”
(“Why Not Now?” Ensign, Nov. 1974)

I want to do so now - what a privilege that we can.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

A Cosmic Fact!

"Isn't it marvelous, brothers and sisters, that God, who knows everything, still spends time listening to our prayers? Compared to that cosmic fact, what does the world really have to offer us? One round of applause, one fleeting moment of adulation, or an approving glance from a phantom Caesar? May God bless us to see things as they really are and as they really will be."

(Neal A. Maxwell, "The Tugs and Pulls of the World,"Ensign, Nov. 2000, 37)
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Sunday, November 9, 2008

But...

Here's todays.....

These verses give an important message to us all:
“And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way,a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
“And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
“And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said,Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
“Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead:but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
“And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
(Luke 9:57 - 62)

Are we like these men - do we say, 'Lord, I will follow thee'? These men all said that, but when the time came for them to do it, in effect they said ‘But,let me just do this first, and then I’m all yours’.

Sometimes we may feel that living that gospel, really living the gospel, isn't convenient for us. We can have that attitude towards, home/visiting teaching & sharing acts of kindness - we can put it off. Sometimes it’s our scripture study, prayers or temple attendance. Sometimes it’s with overcoming our weaknesses and developing our true character.

Elder Russell M. Nelson said: "Our busy lives force us to focus on things we do from day to day. But the development of character comes only as we focus on who we really are. To establish and accomplish those greater goals, we do need heavenly help."
("Getting Where You Want to Go," New Era, May 2003)

Life is busy, and will ever be so. We need heavenly help, we need our Saviour. He will help us to focus on who we really are and accomplish the goals which are of real worth, but we must be focused on Him first. He knows us and loves us perfectly.
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Seek Faith, Dispel Doubt

The Saviours disciples were on a boat one night and they saw a man walking across the water to them. The Saviour told them, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
“And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith,wherefore didst thou doubt?
(Matthew 14:27 - 31)

Like Peter, we desire to come closer to the Saviour, and the Saviour always says "Come". Often when we make the initial decision to make a concerted effort to come closer to Him we step out with all confidence in our actions and direction. More often than not the sea we cross to reach Him isn’t calm, usually, as Peter found, it is ‘boisterous’. The movement of the waves shook Peter’s faith, and He cried out for the Lord to save him. I think that is beautiful. And how long did it take the Saviour to save him? It says,‘immediately’ he stretched forth His hand, and caught him. The Saviour taught him that despite the external forces around him, that faith can overcome all obstacles in our journey to Him.

We will all have times when the vastness and immensity of what we are to cross seems greater than us, at those times when we reach for the Saviour He will reach for us, but He will also teach us that we don’t need to doubt, only increase in faith.

President Thomas S. Monson shared this:
"President Stephen L Richards, who was a counselor in the First Presidency many years ago, was a profound thinker. He said, 'Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other.' My advice is to seek faith and dispel doubt."
(Thomas S Monson, "Pathways to Perfection," Ensign,May 2002, 99)

Seek faith, dispel doubt.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Let the Sunshine in!

"You're going to have some dark moments. We all do. But when they come, I hope you will remember to let the sunshine into your life. Don't be hard on yourself, and don't let other people be hard on you either. Give yourself credit for the good things you do. If you make a mistake, give yourself credit for trying. Laugh a lot. Catch yourself singing. Whistle or hum as you go about your duties. If you do only half of what you wanted to do, or do it only half as well as you would have liked, pat yourself on half your back. But lighten up! Be lighthearted enough that you can float above the dark clouds and see the rainbows in your life. The gospel brings a whole rainbow of light into our lives".

(Chieko N Okazaki - 'Lighten Up!')
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Purposeful Decisions

"It must not be expected that the road of life spreads itself in an unobstructed view before [you]... You must anticipate coming upon forks in the road. But you cannot hope to reach your desired journey’s end if you think aimlessly about whether to go east or west. You must make your decisions purposefully."

President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, May 1999
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Leaning into Trust

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding".
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths". (Proverbs 3:5-6)

This scripture was mentioned at least a couple of times during General Conference April 2005. I have always loved it, but have always abbreviated it in my mind to: 'Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; ….and he shall direct thy paths.'

Two other parts really struck me this time though, and have stuck with me since. I thought about the word ‘lean’, and what we lean on. It seems the Lord is saying to us: “give your heart to me, don’t solely rely on your own thoughts/opinions”. Sometimes we can work things out in our minds, trying to see what makes sense or what is logical, and ‘lean’ on that. The image that I had in my mind was that of walking down a path, and along this path we have to make decisions,we come to some ‘forks’. I then thought, “well how can we progress if we are leaning on something?” - I imagined leaning against a wall, and therefore halting my progress, as your feet are no longer moving. I’ve seen that in my own life, times where relying on my own understanding and trying to work things out in my mind has stopped me being directed, because I have closed my heart to divine guidance.

I remember when my best friend had asked me to pray about going on a mission – I remember thinking “are you crazy, what would I want to do that for?” – but I prayed because I loved her. For 3 months or so, my prayers sounded something like this: “Heavenly Father, do I have to go on a mission? Amen”. My heart definitely wasn’t open, whilst my mind definitely thought of all the fun I could have at home, the thought of talking to strangers (or anyone!) about the gospel was just so scary, and I really couldn’t imagine contributing to the building of the kingdom in that way. I don’t remember what happened, but one day I remember thinking, “Sarah, sort yourself out! Pray and have faith, and Heavenly Father will do the rest”. So that night and prayed and said, “Heavenly Father, I will go if Thou wants me to, and I know that Thou wilt change my heart so that I will be excited to go, I just want to know Thy will for me.”. Well, that night I had a dream and woke up, with the first words being “I’m going on my mission”, and as I heard myself say these words my heart changed in an instant, and I was filled with a great desire to serve in this way –which I will always be grateful for.

The Lord says: “And I will give them one heart, and Will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:”
“That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people,and I will be their God.”(Ezekiel 11:19 - 20)

The Lord can and does change hearts. Progress happens when we take leaps of faith, trusting the Lord, even at the expense of what we sometimes think is wisdom, knowing that the Lord desires our happiness, and will change our hearts so that the journey will bring joy to us.

I find that so exciting. I hope your day is happy, and once again, thanks for listening to one my rambles:)
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Temple Attendance

The revelation to build the Kirtland temple was given in December of 1832. In June of the following year, just six months later, the Lord said, “For ye have sinned against me a very grievous sin,in that ye have not considered the great commandment in all things, that I have given unto you concerning the building of mine house . . .” (D&C 95:3)

Think about the implications of this rebuke. If you wait six months to start this house, it will take six months longer to finish. Clearly, six additional months without the blessings of a temple would be costly to the people – and their delay in preparing for these blessings was a 'grievous sin.' Think about the longest time you have gone without a visit to the temple when there was a temple available. How many blessings have we missed because of our delays in seeking the blessings that come from being in the Lord’s House?

The Lord is just so eager to bless us:)
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Monday, November 3, 2008

More Than These

After the Saviours resurrection he appeared to Simon Peter whilst he was fishing. They then dined together:

'So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.' (John 21:15)

I’ve thought about the phrase 'more than these'. The Saviour here was referring to the fish, asking maybe “do you love me more than fishing?”, I wonder what 'these' things would be for you and I?

Maybe the Saviour says to us, “do you love me more than………your job, the TV programme you’re watching, your studies, the clothes you wear, your money, your friends, your bed” (which is hard to get out of sometimes:), really there is a never-ending list of things which could be 'these'.

After Simon Peter had responded that he does love the Saviour, the response from Him, in effect, was “prove it” [Feed my Lambs]. If we do really love the Saviour, we’ll turn off the TV and go and do our Visiting & Home Teaching, we’ll get out of bed and read our scriptures, we’ll wear clothes that are modest and clean, we’ll help those in need, we’ll share the gospel, we’ll 'feed his sheep'.

I hope that our love for the Saviour is easy to detect.
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fasting Blessings

A Fast Sunday scripture. As you read it, particularly look out for the blessings the Lord promises us as we fast with real intent:

“6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones:and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not”.(Isaiah 58:6 - 11)

We have access to all of these…. Heavenly Father loves us all so much.

I hope that this Fast Sunday that the Lord will answer your prayers.
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Love Glorious Love

“Love is not just a nice feeling about someone. It is the pure and joyful pulse of the universe, and being in tune with it means you are in tune with the forces that bind together the stars on one hand and the atoms on the other. If we truly love each other, most differences become irrelevant and most forms of helping are pure delight.

Love literally has the power to cause change. During the 1970s, Ohio University conducted an experiment on rabbits, feeding them high-cholesterol diets and hoping to duplicate the effect that such a diet has on human arteries. "Consistent results began to appear in all the rabbit groups except for one, which strangely displayed 60 percent fewer symptoms. Nothing in the rabbits' diet could account for their high tolerance to the diet until it was discovered by accident that the student who was in charge of feeding these particular rabbits liked to fondle and pet them. He would hold each rabbit lovingly for a few minutes before feeding it; astonishingly, this alone seemed to enable the animals to overcome the toxic diet. Repeat experiments, in which one group of rabbits was treated neutrally while the others were loved, came up with similar results." (Deepak Chopra, Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine [NewYork: Bantam Books, 1989], p. 33.)

The student could not change the diet or refuse to give the high-cholesterol food. But what he did was to define a new reality for the rabbits. He did not see them primarily as animals that were going to die. Instead, they were worth loving. Because his assignment was to be with them, he was kind and gentle. And somehow, that attention was enough. Something within the rabbit itself seemed to reorganize its body chemistry to resist the toxic diet.

This example calls to mind the Savior's promise: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10.) According to the measurements we usually use, for the most part Jesus did not make people's lives physically better. He fed the five thousand and healed the sick and even raised some from the dead, but his whole nation remained in political bondage. He didn't permanently improve anybodies standard of living or assure better jobs or good educations. Can we really say that he gave them a more abundant life?

Yes, he did. The Savior didn't want to give his followers a better version of the old life; he wanted to give them a new life. He gave them transformation, abundance, victory. And he did it by loving them. It is that same love that he feels for us, here and now”.(Chieko N Okazaki – ‘Lighten Up!’)
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Building a Palace Instead

‘His House’, by CS Lewis:

“I find I must borrow yet another parable from George MacDonald. Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and soon: you knew those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way which hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation if that He is building quite a different house form the one you though of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Through the Eyes of the Pure

This is from 2003:

Recently I was helping out in the [Preston] Temple Cafeteria when I saw a young man, about 20yrs old approaching with his Father in the queue. This young man was wearing a white shirt which had been pressed to perfection, a tie, uncreased trousers, and highly polished shoes. He also had Downs Syndrome. I observed this presentable young man, and I couldn't take my eyes off him. I watched how he interacted with people, always smiling, always with a look of love in his eyes. The Spirit told me that this was a very special soul, one who the Father loves dearly, one who is pure.

After he had sat down with his Father to eat his meal, I thought more about the feeling I had had as I watched him. I thought about how I wanted to be more like him, more pure, more innocent and more loving to people.

As I was thinking about this, a voice behind me said, "thank you for the food", it was him. All I could say in reply as he went on his way was, "you're very welcome", when really, what I wanted to do, was give him a big hug and tell him how much he is loved and thank him for coming to the Temple today. I suspect though, that Heavenly Father will take care of the hugging and loving for me.

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matt 5:8), and we will see God through the eyes of the pure.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vague Goals

"A vague goal is no goal at all. The Ten Commandments wouldn't be very impressive, for instance, if they weren't specific, but simply were couched in a phraseology such as 'thou shalt not be a bad person."

—Neal A. Maxwell-
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Monday, October 27, 2008

The Blessings WILL Come

This is probably one of the most famous Book of Mormon scriptures that there are:

1 Nephi 3:7 –
“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them”.

The commandment that he was speaking of specifically here was the one to obtain the plates. When faced with the enormity of keeping ALL of the commandments it can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming. Something that I take courage from in Nephi’s example is that keeping the commandments is sometimes not an easy road to travel. With the commandment to obtain the plates, there were two unsuccessful attempts before he succeeded, and it was something that tried him physically, and also spiritually. This continued throughout his life, and there seemed to always be great opposition to keeping the commandments of God, but he never chose the easier way.

The last statement we have recorded from Nephi is:"…….thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen”. (2 Nephi 33:15).

The Saviour tells us of the rewards of obedience in a revelation through the Prophet Joseph Smith in D&C58:
2 For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.
3 Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.
4 For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.
5 Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which is to follow”.

I hope that when there seems to be obstacles to prevent or discourage us from keeping the
commandments, that we will remember that God has promised that after much tribulation the blessings will come.
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Boring Sunday Meeting?

This is from a talk given in the Spring 2005 Open Houses for Sunday School, given by the Sunday School General President, and I thought I'd take a peak at it. It begins with this experience, which really gave me some food for thought. Hope you like it too:)
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"Someone once asked President Spencer W. Kimball,"What do you do if you find yourself caught in a boring sacrament meeting?" President Kimball thought a moment, then replied, "I don't know; I've never been in one" (in Gene R. Cook, Teaching by the Spirit[2000], 140). With his long years of Church experience, I'm sure that President Kimball had been to meetings where people had read their talks, spoken in a monotone, or given travelogues instead of teaching doctrine. But I suspect that President Kimball was teaching that he did not go to sacrament meeting to be entertained; he went to worship the Lord, renew his covenants, and be taught from on high. If he attended with an open heart, a sincere desire to be "nurtured by the good word of God," and a prayer—rather than judgment—for the speakers, the Spirit would teach him what he needed to do to be a more effective and faithful disciple. President Kimball was teaching the principle of learning by the Spirit."-
-----------------------------
I hope your Sabbath day is one of learning and of feeling the Spirit.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Bread & Water

JST, MARK 14:20–25 says:
20. And as they did eat, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them, and said, Take it, and eat.
21. Behold, this is for you to do in remembrance of my body; for as oft as ye do this ye will remember this hour that I was with you.
22. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them; and they all drank of it.
23. And he said unto them, This is in remembrance of my blood which is shed for many, and the new testament which I give unto you; for of me ye shall bear record unto all the world.
24. And as oft as ye do this ordinance, ye will remember me in this hour that I was with you and drank with you of this cup, even the last time in my ministry.

I hope this is going to make sense…..Whilst I was thinking about these verses, I started pondering more about why we use ‘bread’ and ‘water’ as the emblems of the sacrament. There are the obvious symbolisms of ‘bread’ and ‘water’, but the thought that came to me was; that bread and water are two of the most basic foods/fluids that people in the world use, or have.

I thought again about the fact that these most basic things are used to represent the Saviour and His atonement for us, and what I could learn from that. For me, I have been reminded that the sacrament, and remembering the Saviour, need to have influence over even the most basic elements of my life. It is easy to be focused on the Saviour when we are fulfilling our callings to reach out to His children - but it is easy to forget in our everyday associations with people to remember the Saviour, or in doing the housework, in running errands, in our employment, or in our academic learning. These are the basic things we have to do everyday in some way, and we (I), will miss out on spending time with, and remembering the Saviour, if I don’t allow Him to be involved with them.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thanking People

Gordon B Hinckley:
"In large measure, we get what we ask for. The problem is that so many of us fail to ask and, more frequently, fail to express gratitude for that which is good”.
(“In Opposition to Evil”, Gordon B Hinckley, Ensign Sept. 2004)

“As long as our hearts pump,” Elder Maxwell said, “some of the time they should pulsate because we’re reaching out to others. And as long as there is breath in our lungs, some of that breath should be used to bestow on others deserved commendation and needed encouragement”
(“Neal Ash Maxwell: A Promise Fulfilled”, Ensign Sept. 2004).

There is a lot of good in the world, but sometimes we forget to express to those who are promoting that how thankful we are for them making this world a better, brighter place. We can stand for ‘truth and righteousness’ not only by making our voices heard against things that are wrong, but also by positively encouraging those things which are wonderful.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Promises & Timing

I was talking with a friend the other week about God’s promises, and why some promises aren’t immediate.

You’ll remember Abraham’s promise that his seed would be as the sands of the earth, yet Sarah was not able to conceive for many many years. Then when they had Isaac he was told to sacrifice him – surely these things made him question how his promise would be fulfilled.

Then we have the example of Moses who was told that he would take the children of Israel from bondage to the promised land that took well over 40 years to be fulfilled.

There are many other examples throughout the scriptures or in church history, and I am sure in your own life too. This scripture came to mind as we talked:
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: …. the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,….” (1 Peter 1:6 – 7)

Sometimes in the middle of the “rejoicing” sandwich there is heaviness for a season. So many blessings come from feeling heavy at times – we realize a deeper need to be closer to the Saviour; our level of gratitude when the promises is fulfilled is that much more; we have increased empathy and love for others who may struggle; we develop patience and learn how to really pray; we can feel more motivated to live the gospel in word and deed, we daily seek for joy where joy can be found; we gain that all precious eternal perspective about life; and so many more. One day we will look back and realize how precious the experience was, and thank God for it.

“For he will fulfil all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers.” (Alma 37:17)

I hope you have a lovely day.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Journals

Elder Henry B. Eyring talked about how the Holy Ghost can help us remember as we write in our journals. He said,
'Journals are a way of counting our blessings. .. . As you start to write, [you could have an experience with the gift of the Holy Ghost.] [You]could ask yourself, "How did God bless me today?" If you do that long enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings. And sometimes, you will have gifts brought to your mind [by the gift of the Holy Ghost] which you failed to notice during the day, but which you will then know were a touch of God's hand in your life' .
(Ensign, Nov. 1989, 11)
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Humble Up and Down

Fabulous quote on humility, courtesy of Elder Maxwell:


"One can be sincerely grateful for his major blessings but regularly murmur over minor irritations. One can have humility that is hierarchical: being humble up, but not humble down. Enduring large tests while failing the seemingly small quizzes just won’t do."


—Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, November 1997-
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Parenting Tip from Sister Hinckley

"My mother taught me some basic philosophies of rearing children. One is that you have to trust them. I tried hard never to say 'no' if I could possibly say 'yes.' I think that worked well because it gave my children the feeling that I trusted them and they were responsible to do the best they could."


—Marjorie Pay Hinckley-
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Friday, October 17, 2008

.... And

Something to laugh about from a Deseret Book Magazine in 2005 -“And”by Robert Farrell Smith

There is a division out there. Not male or female or young and old not those who carefully wind the vacuum cord around those two smug little hooks and those who just loosely hang it around the top one. Nope, the division I'm talking about is one of words, or word, or more specifically, and. Let me clarify. You're in the church foyer wondering where a person could actually purchase furniture like the furniture which lies before you, and someone comes walking down the hall. They say, "You cut your hair." They then walk off to get tithing envelopes, or zip-lock bag filled with chalk and erasers. Lets call those kind of people group "B."

Now, you’re the foyer; thinking, about how avant garde it is to use burlap on the walls when someone comes walking down the hall. They look at you and say, “'You cut your hair ... and it looks good.” Lets call this group of people group "A".

For the record I like these people better.

Not that I don't love group "B." They are often wonderful people and their behavior in no way stops me from contemplating how nice it will be when we finally share one heart and one mind. But I’m usually perfectly aware that my hair has been cut, other things night pass me by, but it would take a significant event for me to forget that some strange person recently spent fifteen minutes hovering around my head with sharp scissors: l know about the haircut; it's the looking good part that confuses me. Again, I'm clarifying.

I have a friend, well actually, I know someone named Les: Which is appropriate, seeing how he truly feels that less is more. He apparently hasn't heard of the word and. "You got married." "You're wearing a new dress."”You wrote an article." I don't know about you, but I was always taught that it was impolite to simply point. ‘And’ makes most things better. "You got married . . . and we're happy for you." "You're wearing a new dress . . . and it looks nice." "You wrote an article . . . and I'm confused."

Sometimes I'll help by filling in the ‘and’ for those who might be ‘anduarly’ challenged. "Hey Robert, you cut your hair." "And I've never seen anything more handsome," I'll add for them. It's then fun to watch them try and find a nice way to express that that was not where they were going with that.

It's petty, I know, but I just think life's nicer when we move from observation to positive opinion. Where would the original Saints have gotten by simply announcing that they were Mormon? It's that "We're, Mormon and let me tell you every single wonderful thing about it" that got most of us here today. That's my gospel tie-in to my random thinking. I suppose I simply want to spread the good word by saying more and not less. To clarify, "You read my article . . . and I couldn't think more fondly of you.”

I just rely loved this thought AND I am going to express positive opinion more today because of it:)
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Being Cumbered

A short, but poignant scripture today from D&C 66:10:
"Seek not to be cumbered."

'Cumbered' isn't a word that we use very much in everyday conversation, but I do associate the word with feelings of weight, burden or botheration. The other time it is mentioned in the scriptures is in the account of Mary and Martha, where Martha was 'cumbered about with much serving' (Luke 10:40). Sometimes with the everyday things of life we can feel burdened, weighed down, or bothered. However, the reason I like this scripture is because it doesn't say, 'don't be cumbered' - it says: 'SEEK NOT to be cumbered'.

Sometimes, actually most of the time, I think we bring this encumbered feeling upon ourselves, mistaking busyness with righteousness, burden with humility and exhaustion with perfection. Sometimes, we may hold on to sin as a form of self-inflicted punishment, or not forgive another and live with bitterness, which in our mind justifies our bad feelings towards another. None of these things are the Lord's way. He says:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,and I will give you rest.
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light".
(Matthew 11:28 - 30)

I hope that we can turn to the Saviour in the moment we feel these encumbering feelings, as that is where we will find rest in His love.

Have a wonderful day.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We Need Not Wait

“We need not wait for Christmas, we need not postpone till Thanksgiving Day our response to the Savior’s tender admonition: ‘Go, and do thou likewise.’ ”

—President Thomas S. Monson (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 71)
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Each New Morning

"...Each new morning is a gift from God. Even the air we breathe is a loving loan from him. He preserves us from day to day and supports us from one moment to another. Therefore, our first noble deed of the morning should be a humble prayer of gratitude".

—Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, Nov. 1986
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Threefold Cord

Ecclesiastes 4:9 - 12
9¶ Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

When I was thinking about this scripture, I thought about the different relationships it could relate to. It could obviously relate to a marriage, but also friendships, family relationships, work relationships, presidencies and auxiliaries etc. What stood out to me this time around was verse 12, where it says: "and a threefold cord is not quickly broken". As we invite our Saviour to be that third Person all the relationships we have will be strengthened - with the cord remaining strong. I hope you take some time to strengthen those around you and you and to bring them closer to the Saviour.
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