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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sufficiently Remembering

Alma 5:6: "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, you that belong to this church, have you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers? Yea, and have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them? And more over, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?"

In the Book of Mormon there are 240 references to 'remembering'. In all the things we are to remember, the most important to remember is the Lord and what He has done for us through His matchless atonement. Fleeting thoughts are no good however, we are to 'sufficiently retain in remembrance'. Our remembering must lead us to love the Lord more and to purify ourselves in Him, if it is to be sufficient.

President Kimball said, "Those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives". Seems like a good place to start.

What would you record today if you could?
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Facts not Opinions

"The word of the Lord never comes to us as an opinion, no attempt is made to support it by argument, it comes as a definite, abstract statement of fact. So it is from the first words... to the last, the works of the Father are declared as facts, not theories."
—Elder Anthony W. Ivins Conference Report, April 1918-
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Truths about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A great video. Remember to mute the music on my blog (located just to the left of this post!).x
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Improving the Quality of your Prayers

Bishop H. Burke Peterson:
"As you feel the need to confide in the Lord or to improve the quality of your visits with him—to pray, if you please—may I suggest a process to follow:
  • Go where you can be alone, go where you can think, go where you can kneel, go where you can speak out loud to him. The bedroom, the bathroom, or the closet will do.
  • Now, picture Him in your mind’s eye. Think to whom you are speaking, control your thoughts—don’t let them wander—address Him as your Father and your friend.
  • Now tell him things you really feel to tell Him—not trite phrases that have little meaning, but have a sincere, heartfelt conversation with Him. Confide in Him, ask Him for forgiveness, plead with Him, enjoy Him, thank Him, express your love to Him, and then listen for his answers.
  • Listening is an essential part of praying. Answers from the Lord come quietly—ever so quietly. In fact, few hear His answers audibly with their ears. We must be listening so carefully or we will never recognize them. Most answers from the Lord are felt in our heart as a warm comfortable expression, or they may come as thoughts to our mind. They come to those who are prepared and who are patient.
    (“Conference Excerpts,” New Era, Jan. 1974, 6)
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Stablizing Power

President Spencer W. Kimball:
"There are depths in the sea, which the storms that lash the surface into fury, never reach. They who reach down into the depths of life where, in the stillness, the voice of God is heard, have the stabilizing power which carries them poised and serene through the hurricane of difficulties".
(“Conference Excerpts,” New Era, Jan. 1974, 6)

"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."
(Mark 4:39)

There is only One who has that stabilising power upon our souls, Jesus Christ. We can have peace, when we are still.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

En-route Thanksgiving

In 1 Nephi 2 the Lord commands Lehi to take his family from Jerusalem, leaving behind their inheritance, gold & silver and go into the wilderness, to the promised land. They come to the edge of the red sea, and after traveling for three days, pitch their tents. I love what happened next:

“And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God.”
(1 Nephi 2:7)

I love that. Lehi didn’t wait to give thanks until he had ‘arrived’ at his destination, but stopped en-route regularly (see 1 Nephi 5 & 7), to give thanks. I am sure when we are promised something or are seeking for a particular blessing or gift, when it is finally received we give thanks, but how many times do we stop en-route to give thanks for the journey we are taking – I know I need to do sooo much better with that. There are always offerings of a broken heart and contrite spirit to give along the way, and figurative altars to build, where we can stand still and thank the Lord for being with us on the journey.

So much to be thankful for, and thank goodness we have today to remember our blessings.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where are my Horses and Chariots of Fire?

"In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike--and they will--you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham's seed."

(Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "For Times of Trouble," New Era, Oct. 1980, 15)
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Spirit and Revelation

Just a couple of good quotes I've been sent recently:
"We are told that our mission in life is to "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him" (Moro. 10:32). But that is not a simple thing. Life is too complex to provide a rule book that covers every situation. Instead, the Lord has given us the Holy Ghost to serve as our teacher, watchman, mentor, and guide."
(Gerald N. Lund. Selected Writings of Gerald N. Lund)

"The patterns of revelation are not dramatic. The voice of inspiration is a still voice, a small voice. There need be no trance, no sanctimonious declaration. It is quieter and simpler than that."
(Boyd K. Packer Ensign, Nov. 1989)
Just liked them:)
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Oil, Lamps, Willingness & Ability

"It is important that you have oil in your lamps so that when you say to the Lord, "Here am I; send me," you are prepared and qualified to be sent. We are all heaven sent, but what we are able to accomplish in the Lord's work depends to a large extent on our willingness and ability."

—President James E. Faust, Ensign, Nov. 2002-
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blessing of the Temple

Just a footnote about last weeks video I posted on 'Why Mormons Build Temples' that was released by the Church - it was the no. 1 most watched video on You Tube last week. This clip is a part 2 to that:

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Daily Priorities

I worked in a temple office in Europe for several years and so I would have to show my temple recommend to enter each day. One week I wasn’t at work from Friday until Tuesday, so my recommend hadn’t been used between those days, and when I got to work on Tuesday morning I had to have a bit of a hunt for it in my wallet, as it had worked it’s way down to underneath my bank card and library card, those being the cards I had used most recently.

I thought about that in relation to the account of the children of Israel in the wilderness, and how the Lord provided substance for them during their journey. It says:

“Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”
(Exodus 16:4)

The Lord could’ve rained enough ‘bread from heaven’ to last a week or a month at a time, but chose to only send down enough to last the day. He wants us to remember Him and have daily experiences where we know that we need Him, and that He will daily provide for us.

Whilst my recommend being under those two other cards bears no eternal significance, it just reminds me that it’s easy to sometimes put other things first in our lives. Life can get so hectic; we have meetings to go to, errands to run, family to support, friendships to develop, problems to solve, assignments to get done, callings to serve in etc. etc. etc., whilst these are 'good' things in and of themselves, if we are neglecting our personal relationship with the Saviour, developed mainly through personal prayer and scripture study - then application, it becomes more and more hidden, and life becomes harder and harder as a result - the good covers the great, instead of the great UNcovering the good.

So, I suppose what I am saying is that I hope that our daily priority will be our relationship with the Saviour, as all the other things really do take care of themselves, because He will take care of us if we do.
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Beyond Confirming Evidence

Faith is not perfect knowledge (see Alma 32:26). As President Boyd K. Packer, has stated: "Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which there is confirming evidence … , must go into the unknown … , must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness"
(In Faith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983, p.42).
I hope you have opportunities to exercise your faith in Christ today. I hope I can too.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Shape up and Say your Prayers"

"Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?"
(ECCL 3:22)

"Love the work. Don't do it grudgingly. Smile about it. Be happy in your duty. Shape up and say your prayers. Everything will be all right".
(President Gordon B. Hinckley)

-----------------

Isn't President Hinckley amazing. So straight to the point - "Shape up and say your prayers", I find, that for me, a lot of my problems are exasperated because I haven't done those two things - It's just great counsel:)

I hope you have a wonderful day.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Commanded in All Things

After Nephi receives the interpretation of Lehi’s dream he returns home, and his brothers are disputing about what their fathers dream meant.

Nephi said to them: “Have ye inquired of the Lord?” (1 Ne 15:8), and they replied: “We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.” (1 Ne 15:9).

This highlights the difference in attitude between the brothers. Nephi knew that the Lord would provide the way, and ‘went and did’, whilst Laman and Lemuel wanted things handed to them on a plate without any effort being put forth on their part. The Brother of Jared was the same as Nephi and when faced with the problem of being in complete darkness in the barges, he came up with a solution, the sixteen clear stones, (Ether 3) and asked the Lord to touch them to give them light – he didn’t say; “Lord we need light in the barges, make it happen”, but he did his part, and the Lord then did His.

It’s sometimes easy for us to justify inaction, saying that if the Lord wanted me to do this or that He would tell me, but I firmly believe the Lord will usually only guide us as our feet are moving. He has already told us so many things we need to be doing, that we don’t need to be “commanded in all things”, and receive confirmation after confirmation. Just as when Nephi was building the ship he said the Lord showed him “from time to time” (1 Ne. 18:1) so will He show us from “time to time” what we should do, but at all other times we need to remember what the Lord has said:

“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

“For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

(D&C 58:26 - 28).
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Monday, March 16, 2009

How do You Come Out of Bed on Monday Mornings?

Elder L Tom Perry:
"Let's first look at Genesis 2:23.
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Six days of labor are to be followed by a day of rest. It seems to me that the judge should be how we come out of bed on Monday morning. If you just crawl out, feeling tired and weary from a heavy weekend, probably the Sabbath-day observance has not been appropriate. You see, I believe you should come up out of those covers on Monday morning more refreshed, more alive, and more enthused than on any other day of the week. If this is not the case, we had better examine what we are doing on the Sabbath day. Test yourself tomorrow morning and see how you come out of bed."
(BYU speeches – “Choose ye this day”)
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why We Build Temples - video clip

A timely video by the church. I that love there are people from other faiths talking about 'Mormon' temples on there too. I am grateful to live at a time when there are temples are the earth once more - there's no place like it.

Mute & enjoy.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Family Friendship

"If our children feel friendship within the family, with each other, and with parents, they will not be desperate for acceptance outside the family. I think no finer compliment can be paid to parents than to have children say that their parents are among their best friends."
—Marlin K. Jensen Ensign, May 1999
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Friday, March 13, 2009

It's not called the 'Solution' Society!

I really love this quote:
“The very name "Relief Society" describes our purpose: to provide relief. While we often have the desire and the natural tendency as women to fix what's broken, we are not the "solution society." We are the Relief Society. We can soothe a suffering heart when we can't eliminate the trouble. We can bring reassurance and support, kindness, and calm.”
—Elaine L. Jack , Ensign, Nov. 1995
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another Journal Entry - Happiness!

I just re-read this that I had written from September 2005. As I read it it reminded me that I need to do that again, to take joy in the little things that happen all the way throughout the day, and record them, because it is so easy to not even recognise how awesome your life is! Here it is:

“And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.”
(2 Nephi 5:27)

I thought about that scripture when I woke up yesterday, and made it my goal to ‘live after the manner of happiness’ that day. So as I lay in bed coming around to consciousness (which sometimes takes me a while!) I decided to count the number of times I felt happy that new day - after 200 times I stopped counting, but kept feeling happy. I had counted things like:

Singing in the shower, hugging a stranger in the supermarket, pointing the shower head the wrong way and spraying myself in the face (which I have done umpteen times before!), skipping and running through the park with the kiddies, jumping up and down on the bed and then falling off because I was laughing so hard (which also kept me laughing for hours after!), remembering ‘June memories’, driving with the windows in the car down and singing at the top of our voices and seeing other drivers laugh at us, seeing the sun shining on a beautiful flower, smelling freshly cut grass, flopping on my bed with fresh crisp sheets on, reading my Book of Mormon, having a gospel conversation, doing research for something I’m writing, getting an email from a friend, feeling needed, receiving a thank you from a stranger, remembering my testimony, making a present for someone, basking in the sun, looking at a picture a young woman painted of me, reading a card another young woman had sent me, wearing a yellow t-shirt that reminds me of my mum, finding a pair of trousers which I thought I had lost as they were too small – only to discover they now fit:), wearing some fluffy socks, feeling peace, looking at a bag I had made on Saturday night (it's sooo lush!)and laughing at fighting with me friend over bits of material for it, reminiscent of my mum:), counting the flowers in my bedroom, doing a handstand (which is something that you all would’ve found very funny if you had seen it too!), saying my prayers, praying sincerely for a couple of people and feeling how much Heavenly Father loves them, pretending to conduct an orchestral piece for my sister & dad, finding accommodation near to the temple in Denmark for me to stay in, cleaning my sisters room, doing a boy push-up, seeing if I could walk from the lounge to end of the garden with my eyes closed, playing songs on the piano, meeting a baby's gaze, oh oh oh, and I went in a shop yesterday and there was some music playing in the background, and there was a baby boy, about 18 months old, whose head was bobbing in time to the music, with the kind of rhythm I could only dream of having:).

Well, those are just the ones which came to mind first off – so you can see how I got to 200 so quickly. I suspect that is normal, but I certainly didn’t recognize how many happy moments I had each day until I counted them.

I read this somewhere yesterday:
“First, we must visualize our objective. What is our purpose? The Prophet Joseph Smith counseled: “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God”
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 255–56).

I hope that happiness will be yours today also:)
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"The Publicity Dilema" by the LDS Church

A fabulous article from the Church addressing the HBO show 'Big Love', 'Prop 8', and other responses to the negative portrayal of the Church and it's members - a definite model to how we should personally act when faced with criticism.
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Experiencing Joy

"When I think of happiness or joy in this life, I begin with some experiences that are simple and basic. I see the expression on the face of a one-year-old taking those first steps. I think of a child loving a puppy or a kitten. If the more mature have not dulled their physical or spiritual sensitivities by excess or disuse, they can also experience joy in what is simple and basic..."

Dallin H Oaks Ensign, Nov. 1991
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Undeveloped Film

I believe most of what we need to know is already within us.

When N. Eldon Tanner was made president of the West European Mission in the early 1960’s he visited the missionaries in France. He told them that they were not really taking to their investigators some new and undreamed–of doctrine. “No,” he said. “Instead, think of it this way: all these people were exposed to the gospel long before you or they came to this earth. It’s all these in their minds and spirits, like undeveloped photographic film, your job is just to develop the film.”

When I was a little girl we used to have a darkroom in our attic as one of my brothers was very much into photography. I used to love going up there and watching the film develop in the dark. Just like an undeveloped photographic film, it seems to me that the way that we are developed is often in a ‘darkroom’ also. The times of greatest growth seem to happen at times of our greatest need or trial. It’s those times that we realise what is really within us, and what our relationship with our beautiful Saviour is.

I am so grateful for the times in the dark, but also for the times in the Light which is when I can fully appreciate what has developed within me.

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

May the Light shine in your hearts today.
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Monday, March 9, 2009

Which One is Me?

There should not be, as someone has said, “one self for church, another self for business, another for recreation, home, travel, and so on.” This point is well expressed in the following verse by Edward Sanford Martin:

Within my earthly temple there’s a crowd;
There’s one of us that’s humble, one that’s proud,
There’s one that’s broken-hearted for his sins,
There’s one that unrepentant sits and grins;
There’s one that loves his neighbor as himself,
And one that cares for naught but fame and pelf.
From much corroding care I should be free
If I could once determine which is me!

(“My Name Is Legion,” in Obert C. Tanner, Christ’s Ideals for Living, Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union Board, 1955, p. 118.)

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

President Hinckley Always Makes Me Cry!!

This is a clip called "Lesson I Learned as a Boy", from a talk given by President Hinckley, and it made me cry! It shows the power of choices. When we make choices based on love the Lord can use us. Don't you just love President Hinckley, oh, and remember to mute the music on my blog before watching.



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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Winning the Battles

Maybe some of you have wondered, like me, why the wars are recorded in the Book of Mormon. I am sure there are lots of explanations and things that we can gain from reading them. As I read Mormon 1 & 2 I noticed that the Nephites usually won the battles against the Lamanites, or else they ran away from them, here’s a quick rundown:

Abt 322AD
- There were many battles between the Nephites and the Lamanites, the Nephites won each of these battles.

Abt 327 - 330AD
- The Lamanites came into battle against the Nephites and the Nephites fled and went to fortify themselves against attack
- The Lamanties come again and drive them out of the next land
- Then there’s another big battle and a lot of bloodshed, the Nephites eventually win

Abt 345AD
- Lamanites attacked again and the Nephites fled again
– Then they were driven forth again.

Abt 346AD
- Lamanites attacked. Nephites won.
- Nephites attacked the Lamanites and won

I wondered why the Lamanites kept on attacking even though the Nephites mostly won the battles, surely they would’ve given up especially at the beginning when there were many battles and they lost every one?

I believe Satan deals with us the same way - just because we have beaten him, or a temptation one time, that doesn’t mean that’s it forever. Sometimes the battles are easy because the Lord is with, other times, we are ill-prepared and we have to flee to fortify ourselves, other times, serious damage is done. I remember not so long ago, thinking I had conquered a particular weakness, but realized that what I now thought was a strength was still be subject to attack. That was good for me to know. Satan is very persistent, and never gives up on us, but can never win, only as we let him – as we have the strength of the Lord on our side.

“But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;”
“Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.”
(Alma 13:28 - 29)
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Overcoming Aloneness

"The key to overcoming aloneness and a feeling of uselessness [is] to step outside yourself by helping others... We promise those who will render this kind of service that, in some measure, you will be healed of the loss of loved ones or the dread of being alone. The way to feel better about your own situation is to improve someone else's circumstances."
(Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1989)

And there are definitely many people who need us at the moment.
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Inconsistent Discipleship

Neal A Maxwell in his book 'Men & Women of Christ' said:

"We can ease the stress caused by our inconsistency, pain through which we put ourselves repeatedly. Unfortunately, like Oliver Cowdrey, we do not always "continue as [we] commenced" (D&C 9:5). As with our wasteful automobile driving habits that consume extra energy because of quick starts and stops, so it may be with inconsistent discipleship we actually inflict costs on ourselves in the face of divine counsel."

It's hard to keep the momentum of change going sometimes isn't it. Sometimes we try to run faster that we are able, which leaves us too tired to complete the journey as we had planned. To be a consistent disciple we need to run as fast as 'the Lord' knows we need to run, and just as we would regularly service our cars, so we need those regular spiritual tune-ups too to keep our engine in tip-top condition. It's the only way we won't 'become weary and faint' on our journey.

I hope you will be full of energy today - if not physically, spiritually!
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Warm Glow for the Elderly

"What [the elderly] need in the loneliness of their older years is, in part at least, what we needed in the uncertain years of our youth: a sense of belonging, an assurance of being wanted; not merely a room in a building, but room in someones heart and life. We cannot bring them back the morning hours of youth. But we can help them live in the warm glow of a sunset made more beautiful by our thoughtfulness..."
—Richard L. Evans, Thoughts for One Hundred Days

Please share some of your love today.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spiritual Lightning

This is from one of my favorite gospel writers:

“And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word [the doctrine of Christ] in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen.” (Alma 33:23).

Having burdens lightened through the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ requires planting in the soul a spiritual knowledge of things as they really are (see Jacob 4:13). Much of the heaviness that we bear develops from a faith that is not sufficiently informed.

When we are weighed down by the problems of a telestial world, we need some spiritual lightening. Spiritual lightening suggests spiritual principles and powers that can light up our minds and lighten our loads. It may be possible to assume too great a burden and to take it all too seriously. This is possible even when the damages in our lives involve sex, drugs, and other heavy sorrows – because virtually all damage, innocently incurred, or self-inflicted, is ultimately reversible through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is spiritual lightening to realize that in most cases the actual details of the elements of our lives matter less than what we choose to become in the midst of them”.
(from ‘Spiritual Lightening’ by M. Catherine Thomas, p.2 & 7)

I think that is a powerful statement that “the actual details of the elements of our lives matter less than what we choose to become in the midst of them”. The “why me?” questions are often the ones which accentuate the burdens we face, and the way forward is when we start answering the questions of “what am I to learn?” and “who am I to help?” because of these things.

As we come unto the Lord with full purpose of heart we will see things as they really are, because we will have the vision of eternity.
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Tools from the Rock

The story of Nephi being commanded to build the ship has always been one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon. The Lord had told Lehi and his family to get to the promised land, and he told Nephi how that journey would be possible:

“And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.”
(1 Nephi 17:8)

To build his ship, he knew he would need to right tools, and this is where he went to get them:

“And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock.”
(1 Nephi 17:16)

If we liken the ship to the type of life we lead, and the tools to the attributes that we have, the only place to go to make a ship, or a life, which is after the manner God has in mind for us, is to go to the Rock, our Redeemer, this is the only place we can go to find the tools of love, peace, kindness, longsuffering, patience, faith, that will help us to build a life that ensures our journey will be a happy one for us. This we can control.

I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and for the Comforter which enlightens our minds and brings understanding along the way.

With best wishes for a beautiful day.
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