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REV up every day

As a Seminary teacher, I am constantly reminding my students and myself of the importance of reading scriptures and praying daily–at least morning and night. I suppose one could go through these motions as a “check list” to say “done. did it.” And when this is my attitude, I wonder, “What difference did that make?” It’s like giving grudgingly.

My entire outlook on this changed when Julie B Beck, former Relief Society General President, gave a talk at the BYU Women’s Conference.

Feasting Upon Faith

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet, Alma, teaches the BEST sermon on faith. Each time I read it in Alma 32, my faith increases. This time as I’m reading it, I’m looking at the words with more discernment. In fact, one of the words Alma uses is a derivative of discernment: discernible:

…whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible…

What does he mean by this?

I looked up the definition of “discern: at Dictionary.com

Both definitions could apply to Alma’s directive:
1. “Light is perceived by sight or some other sense or by the intellect. See, recognize, apprehend.” It can also be felt by other senses. For example, light gives heat, so it can be felt.

Marriage Covenant

The first time I remembering reading Alma’s experience with soon-to-be converts at the Waters of Mormon (which is what every baptismal font could be called) was when I spoke at my nephew’s baptism:

Mosiah 18:8-10
…Behold, here are the waters of Mormon…and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

Obviously this is a sermon and suggestion–even a charge–for those who are ready to be baptized.

However, this morning I looked at these verses from a marital perspective.

My wonderful hubby is beginning a new career selling insurance. It’s been a difficult journey, due in part to the learning curve. I have a lifetime of experience in selling; I love it! So I often give him bits of advice for his career. I’m learning that’s not such a great idea. He’s my spouse, not my student.

As I read these words this morning after Bob left for work, I saw how this can also be part of our marriage commitment and covenants with each other.

Marriage is a lot of fun when we’re having fun. When most people begin to question their marriage decision it’s when challenges arise. This is when spouses really need to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light and to be willing to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort–not to be critical or contentious.

Multiple Recipe Books

This past week has been a rugged, mountain climbing experience. My fasting intent for last week’s fasting was to have more love and empathy toward my eternal best friend/hubby. Boy did the challenge kick in the next day! I felt Satan’s influence and temptation first thing Monday morning. I was tempted to say and do things that were not conducive to my goal. I couldn’t sleep that night, so I spent time praying and reading the scriptures and thinking of what I should do. Some of my thoughts were not in tune with the spirit; good thing I did not take action.

The next morning I read Luke 14:28:
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, siteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”

My thoughts from the night before were not pure, and I didn’t calculate the consequences. During that time, I didn’t feel filled with the spirit, but I know I was being guided because I didn’t take any of the actions I thought about. After I read this verse, I know I was being protected because I had not thought of the cost or consequences of my mental plans.

I noticed one of the cross references to this scripture was to loo up Problem-Solving in the Topical Guide. My fingers were resting directly on that page. As I looked at all the subjects listed, I am in awe of the scriptures that relate to problem solving! A book could be written. Well…it has been!

Then I looked at all of the other topics and realized the scriptures have hundreds of “recipe” books to guide our lives.

Sunday Dinners

What did you have for Sunday dinner yesterday? As a kid, mom usually made a roast with potatoes and gravy. I haven’t followed in her footsteps. I don’t have a “traditional” Sunday meal.

Yesterday we had wild-caught salmon (great buy for only $3.99 a pound!), fresh corn on the cob, and salad. Oh…in the summer months, I always have a watermelon cut up into bite-size chunks, so I put that bowl on the table for added color and the refreshing taste.

I’m trying to think what I had for Sunday dinner the week before??? What did you have??

Let’s see…that was the Sunday I took dinner to my son’s house. Oh yeah….I made a great homemade pasta sauce; it was delicious! I even had some leftovers to enjoy for the week.

What about the weekly spiritual feast of the sacrament? Do you remember that experience?

In an attempt to make the sacrament more meaningful and personal to me, I am not only working to remember my Savior and His gifts throughout the week, but to remember the experience and my feeling during the sacrament.

What did I ponder on while the emblems were being passed? Did I look at the deacon’s blue striped tie, or did I remember that Christ’s stripes will heal me as I seek forgiveness?

One Sunday I imagined what it would be like if the Savior himself carried the trays of bread and water. Would I be more in tune to the spirit? Would the sacrament be more meaningful to me?

Yesterday, I thought of how many drops of Christ’s blood would it take to fill the less-than-one-ounce cup of water. It really doesn’t matter how many drops. What matters is that He did shed his blood in Gethsemane and on Calvary for me. And you. And all of us.

Had I been in either of those places and witnessed Christ’s love for me, I would always remember those experiences. I can do the same thing every week.

When I remember the experience, I can remember my Savior. I can feel His love and desire for me to take full advantage of His atonement. It starts by remembering Him.

Do you remember your sacramental experience this week? If so, don’t share it here. Write it in your journal.

Food in Scriptures

Today I read Colossians 4:6
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

What do you think this means?

Spiritual Dessert

How sweet an ending to a meal when dessert is served. It can be a simple bowl of sherbet (not to be pronounced sher-bert), a classic apple pie topped with ice cream, a decadent chocolate cake, or simple cookies. Whatever the choice, it is a great ending, and we usually remember what our experience ended with.

As I feast upon the scriptures, I have spiritual dessert when, like physical food, I wait for the last course to be served. Yes….dessert is normally served last, so we do wait.

When I wait upon the Lord and am not quick to close the cover of my scriptures, I have partaken on the sweetness of the spirit.

This morning I was reading one of my new-favorite scriptures about meekness (D&C 100:7). It’s a verse listed in Preach my Gospel. As I looked at that scripture, my eyes were led to view verse 4:

“Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.”

I had one of those spiritual experiences where my entire body was filled with a spiritual confirmation. Two years ago this month, my husband and I made a decision to move from our comfortable home in the beautiful city of Nauvoo, Illinois to be near our son and his family while he and his then-wife were going through the divorce process.  We love living near our three grandchildren.

My son is very independent, and during that process, which took about a year, we were “in the wings.” We moved here to help him with the kids, but also wanted our daughter-in-law (I still cannot put the “ex-” in front because she is the mother of my grandchildren; I do not want to “ex” her out) to know we can help her as well.

A month ago our son really needed us. He didn’t have to ask, we just knew. We have had him and his kids with us many days during this time. The kids are so patient and well-behaved. Our son is working things out as well. But we know it has been a blessing for all of us that my husband and I are living here. It’s not been easy at times, but it doesn’t matter where we live, we always have challenges.

What if Bob and I would have been here for the first year and then moved on thinking our “mission” had been finished? We would not have been here to feast upon the dessert of the last month.

Stay in the scriptures for your spiritual dessert. Like dinnertime at our home, we don’t serve dessert every day. Most of the time dinner is for our nourishment and conversation; dessert is extra. The scriptures are for our nourishment and conversation. You never know when you’ll be served your spiritual dessert, so be patient and wait.

 

Check in, not check off

When the FIRST thing I do every morning is to kneel and pray in gratitude and then ask for guidance, I am not just checking this activity off my to do list, but I am checking in with my Heavenly Father for earthly guidance throughout the day.

When I add scripture study to this, I am treasuring up the words I need to remember and share throughout the day. It’s amazing that I will have conversations about the scriptures I read that very day. Yes…I believe in the promise in D&C 84:85 that I sill receive the blessing: “it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.” Before I can be inspired to met out the portion, I must do the first part of the scripture: “treasure up in my mind CONTINUALLY…not just once in a while or when I feel like it or when I am in spiritual need, but CONTINUALLY…the words of life.

I am thankful for and love the scriptures and the words of living prophets.

What do you want to build?

One of the many times I read about Nephi’s “building a ship” dilemma was just before we moved to Nauvoo, Illinois nearly five years ago. It was one of those scripture “Pair-A-Bowls” that has stayed with me. The other day, I read this story again and so I share my perspective with you.

The verb “build” is used often and in many different instances:

Build a house, build relationships, build a temple, build a business, build your testimony, build a team, build, build, build.

As my husband and I were reading this story together, we discussed how Nephi might not have seen a ship before since Jerusalem, his hometown was inland. So, how was he going to build something he might not have seen before? And if he had seen a ship, he certainly had not built one.

What things do we need and want to build that we might not have seen or experienced before? New parents often remark that their newborn did not come with instructions, yet they are eager to build strong family ties.

The answer to building anything tangible or not comes in Nephi’s recipe, 1 Nephi 17:51 when Nephi testifies to this doubting brothers with a rhetorical question:

“And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?”

What do you want to build in your life? My testimony is always “under construction.” I need to build it every day.  Likewise, my relationship with my husband and kids needs to be built continually. I am also building a new business model. In all cases, I need the guidance of the Master Builder, the Savior Jesus Christ. He is the one who can build us individually along with the things-spiritual and temporal-in our lives.

Now I ask myself the question that Nephi asked his brothers, who, like Nephi, knew the answer:

“And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a _________________?”

The Lord can and will instruct us to build whatever we ask him in meekness and humility. He is the great builder of all.

 

 

Family and Friends Plan

The story of Jared and his brother is a great example of how they were closely connected to their family and friends.

Several cellular telephone companies have Family and Friends plans so people can save money. In the case of Jared and his brother, their family and friends had their lives saved, both physically and spiritually because of the faith of these two men.

I love how the Lord confirmed to the Brother of Jared that all the blessings the Lord was prepared to give him and his family and friends was “because this long time ye have cried unto me” (Ether 1:43).

I learn two things from this.  First, I don’t believe the Lord meant the Brother of Jared had one loooooooooooooonnnnngggggggggg prayer. My belief is that for a long period of time, probably most of his life, the Brother of Jared had been faithful at crying unto the Lord.

Next, the Brother of Jared’s righteousness extended to bless his entire family and friends. Yes, we are all accountable for our own relationship with our Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. Yet, when we “hang out” with righteous people (or we are the righteous people others hang out with), lives are influenced by the spirit and are blessed.