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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shield of Faith

Never before in the history of the world has the need for faith been greater.
James E. Faust, Liahona, July 2000, 20–23; or Ensign, May 2000, 17–19
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Monday, June 29, 2009

S.M.I.L.E.

2 Nephi 9:39, to be.......

Spiritually
Minded
Is
Life
Eternal
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Returning Good for Evil

"The Lord Jesus Christ liberated man from the world, by the pure gospel of love. He lived the plain and sure doctrine of service, of doing good to all men, friends and enemies alike. His charge to return good for evil is still the greatest challenge to the mind of man."

—Ezra Taft Benson, I Know That My Redeemer Lives
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Motivating Force

"Hopes and desires often fail to materialize with many of us because we lack faith—the one great motivating force which makes all things possible."
—Howard W. Hunter, Teachings of Howard W. Hunter-
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hope

"A perfect brightness of hope": what a phrase that is! I've stood on a mountaintop at sunrise and thought of that phrase. Hope—think what it does to the soul when we feel it. Hope—think what it does for the world when we act on it."
—Elaine L. Jack- Eye to Eye, Heart to Heart-
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Faith as a Power

"Faith is literally the power by which God Himself operates in earthly and heavenly affairs. Miracles are the fruits of faith; faith precedes the miracle. Behind each miracle is divine power, and that power is faith".

—Ardeth Greene Kapp, My Neighbor, My Sister, My Friend
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Monday, June 22, 2009

A Beautiful Vista

From this month's Ensign:
"I think back on my days as a pilot and those times when thick clouds and threatening thunderstorms made all appear dark and gloomy. In spite of how bleak things looked from my earthly vantage point, I knew that above the clouds the sun beamed brightly like a dazzling jewel in an ocean of blue skies. I did not have faith that such was the case—I knew it. I knew it because I had experienced it for myself. I did not need to rely on other people’s theories or beliefs. I knew.

In the same way that aerodynamic lift can transport us above the outer storms of the world, I know that the principles of spiritual lift can take us above the inner storms of life.

And I know something else. Although it was a breathtaking experience to break through the clouds and fly to the bright blue horizon, that is nothing compared to the wonders of what we all can experience as we lift up our hearts in humble and earnest prayer.

Prayer helps us transcend the stormy times. It gives us a glimpse of that blue sky that we cannot see from our earthly vantage point, and it reveals to us another vista—a glorious spiritual horizon filled with hope and the assurance of the bright blessings the Lord has promised to those who love and follow Him.

(Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Prayer and the Blue Horizon,” Liahona, Jun 2009, 2–5)
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Charity

1 Corinthians 16:14
"Let all your things be done with charity."
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"In principles great clarity,
In practices great charity"
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Self-Mastery

Elder Robert D. Hales:
"Everyone has something they must learn to master. Some are just more obvious than others."
(Ensign, May 1998, 77)

Ether 12:27:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gathering Daily

Do you remember the great lesson the Lord taught the children of Israel in providing manna for them which they had to gather daily? Exodus 16:4 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 (or portion) every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no."

They had been slaves in Egypt and had forgotten their relationship with the Lord. To teach them and prove them, the Lord required that they gather the manna every day except over the Sabbath. They could not collect it or store it. It had to be gathered every day. Spirituality, that condition of closeness with the Lord through his Spirit, is like manna to us. We cannot live well without it, and it must be gathered every day. It isn’t enough to have known, to have read, to have given, to have prayed, to have obeyed.

“If ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26). I hope so:)
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thoughts on Marriage

Here are Harold B. Lee’s thoughts on marriage:
"The ideal partner may not exist. The ideal man or woman of your dreams that you plan one day to select as your life's companion very likely really doesn't exist, although you may think so when you fall in love, for your ideal is probably a composite of the best qualities you have observed in any number of your choice associates.

Resolve to sacrifice for each other. If [young people] would resolve from the moment of their marriage, that from that time forth they would resolve and do everything in their power to please each other in things that are right, even to the sacrifice of their own pleasures, their own appetites, their own desires, the problem of adjustment in married life would take care of itself, and their home would indeed be a happy home. Great love is built on great sacrifice, and that home where the principle of sacrifice for the welfare of each other is daily expressed is that home where there abides a great love.

Wives and husbands need love to be happy. What is our relationship with our wife? Someone has said the opposite of love is not hate; the opposite of love is apathy. And I say to you brethren, the most dangerous thing that can happen between you and your wife or between me and my wife is apathy—not hate, but for them to feel that we are not interested in their affairs, that we are not expressing our love and showing our affection in countless ways. Women, to be happy, have to be loved and so do men. Someone has said that little children soon outgrow their love or their need for the love of a mother, but husbands never do. We need that, but we have to give love; we have to express love to our wives if we expect it in return.

Developing love in marriage takes effort. In answer to the teenage daughter who asked: "Mother, how do you fall in love?" the wise mother had answered: "My darling, you don't fall in love, you must keep working at it all the time." Yes, love is like faith, it isn't something you can capture today and it will remain with you always. It must be nurtured day after day by a husband who continues to "court" his wife after marriage by studiously trying to do the things that will make her happy. Someone has aptly said that "a woman happy with her husband was better for her children than a hundred books on child welfare." The flame of romantic desire in marriage is fanned each day by a wise companion who wins her man every day she lives with him. Marriages are not successful merely because these couples have fewer problems than others, but they are successful because, when problems come, as come they will, a husband and wife sit down together to solve their problems like grown-up, mature individuals, rather than with the immaturity of adolescence.

A wife should sustain her husband. Several years ago when Sister David O. McKay, the wife of our President, was in the hospital, I called to see her just after the President had been there, and she said in her sweet way, "You know, I think he misses me." And I replied, "I am sure he does." Then she said with a smile, "I have always tried to be where I thought he needed me the most." There you are, you sisters, try to be where you feel your husbands need you the most.

Wives, have your family prayers, even when you must take the lead. See that your husband takes the lead in that, if you can. See that he attends his priesthood meetings, that he responds to the call to do home teaching, and then do everything you can, lovingly and patiently, to help him to perform and magnify his duties".
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What springs to mind is: “As I have loved you, love one another” (John 14:15). That holds true for all relationships we have. The Saviour is our perfect example of how to love.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Learning from Mistakes

Bruce C. Hafen:
“A young piano student once became very discouraged by her mistakes. Each time she learned a piece, her teacher assigned a new and more difficult piece, and the student would begin playing wrong notes all over again. She concluded that she wasn’t learning anything, because she would always make mistakes in her new pieces. Then her teacher explained that nobody ever learned to play the piano without making many, many mistakes. The successful students are those who learn from their mistakes.

We learn many other life skills the same way—through the practice of trial and error. We can learn to love, for example, by responding to the sour sounds of wrong notes that jangle in our emotional ears when we thoughtlessly hurt someone close to us.

Life is a school, a place for us to learn and grow. We, like Adam and Eve, experience “growing pains” through the sorrow and contamination of a lone and dreary world. These experiences may include sin, but they also include mistakes, disappointments, and the undeserved pain of adversity. The blessed news of the gospel is that the atonement of Jesus Christ can purify all the uncleanness and sweeten all the bitterness we taste.”
(“Beauty for Ashes: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Liahona, Apr. 1997, 39)
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Priesthood Power

"Each of you [brethren] has been endowed with unique talents and abilities. That, coupled with some special powers of the priesthood, will help you tremendously in any endeavor. It will be a great challenge to be in the royal army that takes the Church into the future under the guidance of the Lord and His leaders. It will also be a most rewarding and exciting experience. It will require great faith, sacrifice, discipline, commitment, and effort. I have every confidence that you are equal to it."
James E Faust - Be Not Afraid, Only Believe
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Handing Over Your Whole Self

Speaking of the necessity for the control of our desires and independence, C. S. Lewis wrote:

"The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self--all your wishes and precautions--to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call "ourselves," to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be "good." We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way--centred on money or pleasure or ambition--and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do".
[C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1952), 168; book 4, chapter 8, paragraph 7]
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Habits, Habits, Habits

"The chains of habit," said one man, "are too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken" (Samuel Johnson).
_______________________

Plato, it is said, once rebuked a person for engaging in a gambling game. When the person protested that he had only played for a trifle, Plato replied, "The habit is not a trifle"
(Home Book of Quotations, Burton Stevenson (ed.) [New York: Dodd, Mead, 1956], p. 845).
_______________________

It may not be out of place to say that every man (and [every] woman) is controlled by Habit. When Habits are young they are like lion cubs, easily managed, but later there comes a time when they manage you. Bad Habits may put you on the Avernus Jerkwater, No. 23, with a one way to Nowhere. Good Habits are mentors, guardian angels, and servants that regulate your sleep, your work, your thought.
[Selected Writings of Elbert Hubbard (New York: William H. Wise, 1922), vol. 2., p. 195]

_______________________

So you'd better make good ones!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

An Award, Woohoo!

A few days ago I got a lovely message from Nurture Mama telling me that she loves this little old blog and gave me a "One Lovely Blog Award". Thanks for the recognition!

Here are the rules for the award:
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
3) Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
Now it's my turn to share the love. So below are a list of some of my favorite blogs. Feel free to visit them, I'm sure they would LOVE IT, and you will too:):
1. Everyday Food Storage - She actually makes food storage seem manageable, and tasty.
2. Away From It All - ...in Poland!
3. Diapers and Divinity - Finding Faith in Motherhood
4. Pensievity - The Misplaced Americans have a new home
5. Family Home Evening - A great resource for families with kids
6. A Toddlers Guide to Scripture Study - And who doesn't need that!
7. Visiting Teaching Surprise - Some great ideas, I love me some VT!
8. Family Home Evening Spot - Another FHE favorite
9. Scripture Mom - Some great inspirational thoughts!
10. Nap Time Journal - Some great craft ideas, if only I had the same creative gene.....
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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.

(**Re-posted from 12 October 2008)
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Monday, June 8, 2009

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.
(**A re-post from 16 October 2008)
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Saturday, June 6, 2009

When the Heat Cometh

Jeremiah 17:7 - 8
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.”
“For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”

When we have hope and trust in the Lord, and not ourselves - with our limited understanding, and perspective - even ‘when heat cometh’ our roots will stretch deep enough that we won’t wither, never ceasing to yield the fruit which will bring us joy amidst trial.

Have a beautiful day
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Friday, June 5, 2009

The Secret of a Happy Marriage

“I have long felt that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley. “That involves a willingness to overlook weaknesses and mistakes.”

“The secret of a happy marriage is to serve God and each other,” taught President Ezra Taft Benson. “The goal of marriage is unity and oneness, as well as self-development. Paradoxically, the more we serve one another, the greater is our spiritual and emotional growth.”
(“Strengthening the Family: A Solemn Responsibility to Love and Care,” Ensign, July 2005)
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Mosiah 18:21:
“And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.”

I like the thought of “hearts being knit together”, a weaving of attributes and characteristics, which sometimes looks like it’s going in different directions, but is really an overlooking of weakness, underpinned with service – which when put together creates something that is warm, beautiful and lasting.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Seeing Eternity

I really liked this part of a book I recently read called “House of Glory” by S. Michael Wilcox:

“We should also realize the words, the covenants, the clothing, and the architecture all present opportunities for wonderful insight. I once learned a great lesson on marriage while witnessing the sealing of a relative. After the ceremony, I stood with my wife looking into the mirrors that reflect a strait and narrow path into eternity. As usual, I was moving this was and that way, trying to see a little farther, but my own reflection was in the way, and I could not see as far as I waned. I remember consciously thinking: “I wish I could take myself out of the mirror. I could see eternity better, but I keep getting in the way”.

As I pondered this, the Spirit bore a strong witness to its truth. Concentrating too much on ourselves obscures our view of eternal things. I thought of all the couples I had counselled while serving as bishop and realized that in every case of marital conflict, one or both partners had focused so much on themselves that they could no longer see eternity. I wanted to bring each couple in my ward to the sealing room, stand them in front of the mirrors and say: “Can you see what we sometimes do? Can you understand the problem and also perceive the solution? The mirrors teach us a powerful truth that can strengthen, enhance, or save our marriages”.
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Psalms 27:4:
“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”

Have a lovely day.
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Amazing

Ecclesiastes 9:9
“Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life….”
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“A young couple gave birth to a son. They named him “Amazing”, hoping that somehow he would live up to his name and do something great. Actually, he never did. In fact, all that he did was rather mundane. He never really accomplished anything great. He married, lived on the family farm, raised a family, and was the brunt of all jokes all his life because of his name.

Finally, as he grew old, he said to his wife, “When I die, please do not put my name on the gravemarker; maybe that will stop all of the jokes.” Later he died, and she was true to her promise but decided she ought to have something inscribed. She had them put, “Here lies a man who for sixty years loved and was faithful to his wife.” And now people read the inscription, then point and say, “That’s amazing.”
(Vaughn J Featherstone, “The Incomparable Christ”, p.68)

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There are some things in life which matter, and some that just don’t. This example shows one of the things which matters the most.

Hope you have a wonderful day loving each other.
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gaining Knowledge

Alma 12:9
"And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him."
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Spencer W. Kimball
"The knowledge of the spiritual will not come to an individual without effort any more than will the secular knowledge or college degrees."
(Conference Report)
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Faith & Abilities

"Faith intensifies and magnifies our gifts and abilities. There is no greater source of knowledge than the inspiration that comes from the Godhead, who have all understanding and knowledge of that which has been, is now, and will be in the future.

At Haun’s Mill, a heroic pioneer woman, Amanda Smith, learned by faith how to do something beyond her abilities and the scientific knowledge of her time. On that terrible day in 1838, as the firing ceased and the mobsters left, she returned to the mill and saw her eldest son, Willard, carrying his seven-year-old brother, Alma. She cried, “Oh! my Alma is dead!”

“No, mother,” he said, “I think Alma is not dead. But father and brother Sardius are [dead]!” But there was no time for tears now. Alma’s entire hipbone was shot away. Amanda later recalled:

“Flesh, hip bone, joint and all had been ploughed out. … We laid little Alma on a bed in our tent and I examined the wound. It was a ghastly sight. I knew not what to do. … Yet was I there, all that long, dreadful night, with my dead and my wounded, and none but God as our physician and help. ‘Oh my Heavenly Father,’ I cried, ‘what shall I do? Thou seest my poor wounded boy and knowest my inexperience. Oh, Heavenly Father, direct me what to do!’ And then I was directed as by a voice speaking to me.

“… Our fire was still smouldering. … I was directed to take … ashes and make a lye and put a cloth saturated with it right into the wound. … Again and again I saturated the cloth and put it into the hole … , and each time mashed flesh and splinters of bone came away with the cloth; and the wound became as white as chicken’s flesh.

“Having done as directed I again prayed to the Lord and was again instructed as distinctly as though a physician had been standing by speaking to me. Near by was a slippery-elm tree. From this I was told to make a … poultice and fill the wound with it. … The poultice was made, and the wound, which took fully a quarter of a yard of linen to cover, … was properly dressed. …

“I removed the wounded boy to a house … and dressed his hip; the Lord directing me as before. I was reminded that in my husband’s trunk there was a bottle of balsam. This I poured into the wound, greatly soothing Alma’s pain.

“ ‘Alma my child,’ I said, ‘you believe that the Lord made your hip?’

“ ‘Yes, mother.’

“ ‘Well, the Lord can make something there in the place of your hip, don’t you believe he can, Alma?’

“ ‘Do you think that the Lord can, mother?’ inquired the child, in his simplicity.

“ ‘Yes, my son,’ I replied, ‘he has showed it all to me in a vision.’

“Then I laid him comfortably on his face, and said: ‘Now you lay like that, and don’t move, and the Lord will make you another hip.’

“So Alma laid on his face for five weeks, until he was entirely recovered—a flexible gristle having grown in place of the missing joint and socket, which remains to this day a marvel to physicians. …

“It is now nearly forty years ago, but Alma has never been the least crippled during his life, and he has traveled quite a long period of the time as a missionary of the gospel and [is] a living miracle of the power of God.”

The treatment was unusual for that day and time, and unheard of now, but when we reach an extremity, like Sister Smith, we have to exercise our simple faith and listen to the Spirit as she did. Exercising our faith will make it stronger."

(Ensign, May 2000, The Shield of Faith, President James E. Faust)
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