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!’)

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.”

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.

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-

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.

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:)
"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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


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)

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-

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-

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:)

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.

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)

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

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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