I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gospel Message Day 157

Atonement- Pains & Afflictions, Part 4

I feel like that there is not much more for me to say on this topic. Possibly because 50% of this blog relates to personal experiences and me accessing the Atonement particularly for this topic. So I'm going to end this topic with one last thought:

The Atonement is not just to help ease the pain or help us get through the trials. The power also can help us become stronger. People say trials make you stronger. But I believe it is us accessing the Atonement's power during our trials that makes us stronger and more able to endure.

Gospel Message Day 156

Atonement - Pains & Afflictions, Part 3

Today, I went to the temple. I'd been having some rough patches all morning. I felt like it would be better for me to "hide away" in Initiatory where only the Temple workers would see me in case I lost it again. But as I walked inside, the Spirit confirmed that I needed to do sealings instead. Even though I'd already done them twice in the last month and could use the comfort from the words in the Initiatory ordinance. But I followed the prompting. And the sealing session brought something which gave me comfort in my current situation. The something makes absolutely no sense as to why it would bring me comfort. But for me, it did. And the Lord knew that was what I needed right then. Atonement in action!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gospel Message Day 155

Atonement - Pains & Afflictions, Part 2

So, here is the scripture that I love which relates to the topic. Alma 7:11-13:

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

 I'm pretty sure I talked about this subject during my Christmas Advent. I think I shared some past experiences. Today I have a current experience to share. I learned some wonderful, fabulous news today. News that I've been preparing myself for the last couple of years, and which I actually expected within the last couple of weeks. And even though I am thrilled and excited and full of joy and have been trying to prepare myself for the last few years, this was not something I ever expected in my life. Or, at least for the last 22 years. Tears from such feelings that I'm experiencing are very confused, but I know they are not long lasting. They'll pass after a couple of times. And life will move on and have added awesomeness to it.

Now, I don't think my Savior ever went through anything exactly like this situation. But I believe He might understand some disappointment in self. When He was growing up, maybe He experienced what it was like to not have things turn out the way He hoped. There were possibly times He felt left behind. I know that there were times He felt alone. And with that, He probably often felt like no one fully understood what He was going through. And yet, I'm sure Jesus also knew that He wasn't truly alone. His Father was behind Him, supporting Him, loving Him. So I know that because of His experiences, He really does know how to help me find peace and move on from the pain--if only I'll do my part to use the power of the Atonement to access His help.

(And for immediate help, in case you're worried about me, tonight He sent along a friend who listened. I'm going to be just fine.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gospel Message Day 154

I'm pausing in the topic to talk a little about tonight's Institute lesson. So, so good. Each one of them is. Today we talked about filling the measure of our creation--what all it means, how Mormon and Moroni did so, and how we can do so in our lives.

We started the lesson listening to this talk by Elder Holland's wife. I got close to tears a few times--this hit home so much for me right now. I would never have guessed that this was a topic I needed in my life at this point, but it was perfect.

It wasn't necessarily that I have been wondering what my role is right now. But as we talked about it, the Spirit reminded me of ways in the past that I have worked on filling the measure of my creation. There were warnings about not trying to fill something up which is not intended for me. And there was a gently suggestion that perhaps I should step back and evaluate how well I'm doing right now in trying to fill my measure--looking at what I've done (and done well at) and seeing where and how I can improve.

But the biggest thing that I took away immediately (for I'm sure there will be plenty else as I ponder more on this) was that the key to my peace, assurance, and happiness right now with the trials I've been dealing with is to focus on filling the measure of my creation. All the rest will be in the Lord's hands and in His timing, and as I seek to fulfill the role(s) my Savior has in mind for me, I will also find myself being an instrument in His hand and becoming more of who He and I both want me to be.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gospel Message Day 153

Atonement - Pains & Afflictions

There are different aspects of the Atonement, so when I created the topic slips, I broke it down into a few of those aspects. This topic is one that is very close to my heart. I have a deeply rooted, strong testimony of the Savior's Atonement where my pain and afflictions are concerned. Through the Atonement, I have found peace during some of my darkest days. I have received the light of hope when I was surrounded by darkness. I always knew that even though I felt alone, I never was. The Savior was always there to lean on, offering comfort for my pain that He knew of firsthand.

Can't talk about this topic without sharing music. So for the first day on this topic, here is one we're working on in the Sterling Singers right now:

And lyrics for you with particular attention to the 3rd verse because even in all the sorrow from our trials we have so much to gain and a merciful God who will not abandon us.

Thou gracious God, whose mercy lends
the light of home, the smile of friends,
our gathered flock thine arms enfold
as in the peaceful days of old.

Wilt thou not hear us while we raise
in sweet accord of solemn praise
the voices that have mingled long
in joyous flow of mirth and song?

For all the blessings life has brought,
for all its sorrowing hours have taught,
for all we mourn, for all we keep,
the hands we clasp, the loved that sleep.

The noontide sunshine of the past,
these brief, bright moments fading fast,
the stars that gild our darkening years,
the twilight ray from holier spheres.

We thank thee, Father; let thy grace
our loving circle still embrace,
thy mercy shed its heavenly store,
thy peace be with us evermore.

Words: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., 1869
Music: Wareham

Monday, February 23, 2015

Gospel Message Day 152

Prophecy, Part 2

I found a talk by LeGrand Richards about Prophets and Prophecy. Here are a couple of quotes from that.

“For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Pet. 1:19–21.) If we have that same power, then we ought to be able to understand prophecy.

So, prophecy does not have to be foreign and not understandable to us. If we have the Spirit with us, then the Spirit can help us to understand and know for ourselves of the truth of prophecy--since that prophecy came to the prophets by the same Spirit.

Now if we understand the words of Peter when he said, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Pet. 1:19), then in other words, there isn’t any other way in this world that we can know the mind and the will of the Lord as intelligently and assuredly as we can know it through the holy prophets. Then coming back to Amos, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7.)

Prophecy is a gift to us to help us know what the Lord wants for His children. And we are able to open and enjoy that gift through prophets and the Spirit.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gospel Message Day 151


Wow--I actually talked of this yesterday! How neat. Ok, first let me try to define this in my own words: Prophecy is the foretelling of something. In the LDS Church, prophecy is often used to give us hope of something great to come (like Christ's birth was prophesied for many thousands of years, and how His Second Coming is prophesied about now) or it is used to warn us of what will happen if we don't repent (as we see often throughout all of the LDS works of scripture as well as today).

I found this on LDS.org: “Latter-day Saints believe in both ancient and modern prophecy; indeed, continuing prophetic guidance is held to be a characteristic or sign of the true church. These concepts were an integral part of the LDS Church's origin and restoration, and they continue to distinguish the Church from many other religious movements” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism [1992], 3:1160).

I think a crucial thing to know about prophecy is that it must come from a person who has authority to prophesy. I am not one who has that authority. We believe that 15 men are on this earth who have been given the Priesthood keys of prophecy (and they make up the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Gospel Message Day 150

Gospel Study Insight

I feel I've finished the last topic, but my scripture study wanted to be shared today instead of beginning a new topic. My bishop challenged our ward to read the New Testament this year, to help us with our study of it in Gospel Doctrine. I decided to start today, but this time for my reading I thought I would try going by the Harmony of the Gospels as listed in the Bible Dictionary. I remember being challenged to this before. Maybe in my New Testament class at BYU? But I can't remember if I finished it. I don't think I did.

So I feel it is a good challenge for me. As I waited in the temple to do some service, I began this challenge and managed to get up to Jesus' baptism. (I'm also reading the scriptures that we have received through latter-day revelation--meaning revelation since the Gospel was restored (thus Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price). I love reading these together. Because I had time to read, I was able to manage a lot of reading and not just a few verses. And I was able to see better than I usually do with my typical focus on chapter by chapter in one work and book of scripture just how much all 4 of our scripture works correlate to each other. How the others truly testify of Christ and support the New Testament in what was written.

I also found it amazing that in a world WAY before cell phones and any other digital device and connection, people all over the world testified of one Jesus Christ. Jacob did ~550 years before Christ's birth. And could prophesy and testify of Him by name. King Benjamin prophesied and testified of Him by name 124 years before the Savior came. Samuel the Lamanite prophesied of Jesus by name 5 years before His birth. Isaiah also prophesied and testified of Him by name hundreds of years before the birth. And even further back, Enoch testified of Christ by name when he told of how the Lord revealed the Plan of Salvation (and the Savior's name and mission with it) to Adam. The very first man on Earth.

Christ was foretold of for many generations. He has been talked of for generations since. All before anything digital could spread the word around the globe. He didn't need to go viral with media. Jesus Christ, His mission, His message, His teachings, His life, His Atonement, His death, His resurrection--they all spread throughout the world because people opened their mouths to share the Good News. And that is what we are supposed to do today. Open our mouths--keep spreading the Good News!

Doctrine and Covenants 33:8-10:

Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness.
Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you.
Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying:Repent, repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand

Gospel Message Day 149

Creation, Part 4

Fabulous party, so we have a weekend late night. I don't feel to be over with the topic just yet, though. I talked of a couple of things related to the Creation. But I don't feel I've said enough, yet, about how much I love the world around me. I love the landscapes. I love the various weather patterns. I am always impressed and awed by the kinds and varieties and amounts of creatures that populate the earth. I have been watching some nature documentaries lately (in this case, a series on Africa) and I'm floored by some of the tiniest creatures they highlighted, as well as creatures I've familiar with doing things that we have no idea why they do it. The world was created for the use of man, and for a place of testing for us. Yet there are creatures that I will never see in my lifetime, which I may never hear of (except in things like these documentaries) that have been given their own habitats with their own reasons and ways to live. And in those lives, they can find purpose and fulfillment and maybe even joy among the hardship.

I love how mindful, thoughtful, and careful the Lord was in the Creation--that there were grandiose, majestic portions as well as minute, intricate pieces, and that every bit glorifies God while reminding us of His love.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gospel Message Day 148

Creation, Part 3

I think one of the most marvelous parts about the Creation still occurs today--the creation of man. In the Creation story of Genesis (chapter 1), the Creation was not complete until man was created. And all the things that were created were good, but man is more in Heavenly Father's eyes, as He said in more modern revelation to "remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10).

Creating Adam and Eve was the initial creation of the human race. But the human race continues to be created. Humans have been endowed with God's power to create, which is the greatest power He could give to His children. Heavenly Father views the creation of bodies for His spirit children as very important, and expects us to give it the reverence and respect that it deserves. This is why there are such strict laws surrounding that power. Laws which unfortunately are not followed by many in this day. Still, in the LDS Church we believe in those laws and support them and abide by them.

I looked up to see what some of our brethren have said, and I couldn't pick just one or two things from this site, so I'm sharing all of it. Sorry--it's perfectly worded! I'm not a blind obedience follower. I test and pray about what they teach. And the Spirit speaks the truth of it to me. So forgive me that there are times that I don't put what they say into my own words, since what they said is so much better in the original:
“You live in a world where moral values have, in great measure, been tossed aside, where sin is flagrantly on display, and where temptations to stray from the strait and narrow path surround you,” President Thomas S. Monson says. “Many are the voices telling you that you are far too provincial or that there is something wrong with you if you still believe there is such a thing as immoral behavior. . . . Does this make immoral behavior acceptable? Absolutely not! The commandments of our Heavenly Father are not negotiable!”

Essential to God’s Plan

“The power of creation—or may we say procreation—is not just an incidental part of the plan,” says President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Without it the plan could not proceed. The misuse of it may disrupt the plan. . . . Protect and guard your gift. Your actual happiness is at stake.”
Immorality cannot be made right by making it popular, President Packer continues. “The Lord’s standard of morality commands that the sacred powers to beget life be protected and employed only between man and woman, husband and wife. To misuse this power is exceeded in seriousness only by the shedding of innocent blood and denying the Holy Ghost.”

A Higher Standard

“Could any of us lightly regard precious seeds of reproduction—specifically and uniquely yours—or disregard the moral laws of God, who gave divine rules concerning their sacred use?” Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asks. “While the world descends to the level of concern for ‘safe sex,’ your standard is sacred sex—within the bounds of holy matrimony as intended by the Lord.”
We can know what standards of moral conduct are right and wrong by following the Spirit, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says. “These promptings never will lead you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, unclean, or ashamed. You must be sensitive to these promptings because your physical passions can obscure them if you are not careful.”
“To ensure you keep this sacred commandment [to remain morally clean], in moments of quiet reflection when you feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, set specific personal standards of what you will do and what you will not do when temptation comes—for it surely will,” Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says. “No one intends to make serious mistakes. They come when you compromise your standards to be more accepted by others. You be the strong one. You be the leader. Choose good friends and resist peer pressure together.”

Commanded by God

One of many reasons for us to avoid immorality is that God has commanded us to do so, Elder Scott says. “Any sexual intimacy outside of the bonds of marriage—and I emphasize that means any involvement of the sacred, private parts of the body—is a sin and is forbidden by God. While the world has other standards, you must stay morally clean.”
“In matters of human intimacy, you must wait!” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says. “You must wait until you can give everything, and you cannot give everything until you are legally and lawfully married. . . . On your wedding day the very best gift you can give your eternal companion is your very best self—clean and pure and worthy of such purity in return.”

Co-Creators with Heavenly Father

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles teaches that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are creators by nature and that They have “entrusted us with a portion of Their creative power and provided specific guidelines for the proper use of that sacred ability to create life and establish an eternal family.” He continues, “How we feel about and use that sacred power in this life will determine in large measure whether additional creative power will be ours in the life to come.”
“The most sacred of all our divine powers is to become a co-creator with Heavenly Father in providing physical bodies for His spirit sons and daughters and in establishing a righteous and Christ-centered family,” Elder Bednar says. “Nothing is more holy; nothing deserves more reverence; nothing is more central to the plan of happiness.”

But lest you think the only Creation occurring still today is children, here is another quote from Elder Nelson's talk that explains we have more responsibilities:

We are to be creators in our own right—builders of an individual faith in God, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith in His Church. We are to build families and be sealed in holy temples. We are to build the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth. We are to prepare for our own divine destiny—glory, immortality, and eternal lives. These supernal blessings can all be ours, through our faithfulness.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gospel Message Day 147

Creation, Part 2

I looked up some scriptures about Jesus being the Creator. These were the ones that stood out to me.

2 Nephi 9:5 
Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.

It is awesome (in the original sense of the word) that He who created everything on this earth, would come to it to experience pain, sorrow, grief as well as happiness and joy. It is also sad to know that He who gave us everything was treated as He was in His life. I know that it had to be to bring about more of the Plan of Salvation, but I still have found it tragic. Yet that's another way we know that He was the only one who could go through the Atonement and Resurrection. He had the power to lay down His life, and to take it up again.

2 Nephi 29:7
Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?

I love the beauty and the reassurance from this scripture that Jesus remembers every single one of us. He created our bodies for our Spirits. He created the world in this those souls could live, grow, laugh, love, and be tried.

Mosiah 3:8
And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.

Even the Creator has a mom. :-) A Heavenly one as well as an earthly one. And, as with the first scripture I shared, we can see that He truly condescended below all things.

Doctrine & Covenants 29:30-32 
But remember that all my judgments are not given unto men; and as the words have gone forth out of my mouth even so shall they be fulfilled, that the first shall be last, and that the last shall be first in all things whatsoever I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my Spirit.
For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal—
First spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, first temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work
Everything was created spiritually, before it was created physically. This includes each of us. We were spirits first, and then our bodies were created. I don't know for sure, but I would think this counts as well for things in nature. Pocahontas may have had it right in her "Colors of the Wind" song! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gospel Message Day 146


I think I've begun to repeat myself on the last topic. So, time for a new one! The Creation is part of the Plan of Salvation. This Conference talk by Elder Nelson really breaks down and explains the Creation. In coming days, I'll probably use quotes from this talk to give me direction in what to talk about.

To start off the first day, I had a Primary song come to mind, which actually goes with this quote:

The entire Creation was planned by God. A council in heaven was once convened in which we participated. There our Heavenly Father announced His divine plan. It is also called the plan of happiness, the plan of salvation, the plan of redemption, the plan of restoration, the plan of mercy, the plan of deliverance,  and the everlasting gospel. The purpose of the plan is to provide opportunity for the spirit children of God to progress toward an eternal exaltation.

The song was one I first started learning in California on vacation. When I returned home to Delaware and found them learning it there, too, I had my first glimpse of what being part of a worldwide Church meant. I've loved the song ever since.
This is a bit more about the Plan, but the Creation was part of that plan. The world needed to be created so that we could have a testing ground--and it is a most wondrous and glorious testing ground! I love how the newer temple presentations all seem to pay moments of homage to God's amazing creations all around us. I never tire of reveling in the Lord's beauty. Which means I have to end with this song because now it is in my head:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Gospel Message Day 145

Service, Part 5

There are so many scriptures, quotes, articles, and Conference talks about service. You can find them on the LDS.org website and search for "service." Today I thought I'd share passages from a Conference talk by Elder Oaks. I always love how direct he is in his messages. It's on Unselfish Service. I think the most crucial part of service is that it is done with the right attitude. Because service is an extension of the Savior's love to God's children, and He would never give it begrudgingly, unwillingly, unhappily, grumpily, or any other negative way. He would give it selflessly. And with joy.

"Hundreds of thousands of faithful members participate in the unselfish service we call “temple work,” which has no motive other than love and service for our fellowmen, living and dead. The same unselfish service is given by legions of officers and teachers in our stakes and wards and branches. All are uncompensated in worldly terms but committed to Christlike service to their fellowmen."

The entire organization of the Church is run on service. I always loved that about the Church. There is no monetary gain that can be had from what we do. It is true service.

"A familiar example of losing ourselves in the service of others...is the sacrifice parents make for their children. Mothers suffer pain and loss of personal priorities and comforts to bear and rear each child. Fathers adjust their lives and priorities to support a family."

This is one of the very best examples of selfless service that any one could ever find.

"Our willingness to sacrifice and our skills in cooperative efforts come from our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, from the inspired teachings of our leaders, and from the commitments and covenants we knowingly make."

This is a good summary of how we are able to accomplish all the different acts of service that come our way in life.

"A selfish person is more interested in pleasing man—especially himself—than in pleasing God."

And I think this is the best explanation in knowing what would be considered selfless service, and what is selfish. If you are doing it for the praise of man, then it is not selfless. Simple definition.

Anyway. There's some food for thought. A bit of a cop out for today. Sorry. I couldn't think of any stories today. Hopefully tomorrow.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gospel Message Day 144

Service, Part 4

Today I got to take part in a more organized act of service that wasn't through/from a Church activity. I've been trying to find more of these to do that will fit into my ridiculous schedule. There were two "downsides" to my experience, which in my Pollyanna viewing weren't all that bad in the end.

The first, there were SO many people that I was able to help for a few minutes and then I had nothing else to do. I felt rather useless just standing there. But the places that were still doing something were so crowded that I knew I'd just be standing in the way there. So I didn't get to help out as much there. But the Pollyanna views on it are
*how fantastic to have so many people willing to serve!
*I loved being able to watch these people serve, especially all the kids there. One boy was amazing at his sandwich wrapping skills.

The other "downside" was that I didn't get to help in the second part. If I'd made the car trip up, I would have had 15 minutes to help there (again, among a huge crowd) and then would have had to leave for choir practice. But the Pollyanna views on this are
*I was able to join my carpool for choir instead of going alone. I love these ladies of the carpool and our rides to and from choir are one of the things that makes these Sunday night choir rehearsals so great
*I was able to stay behind at the first building and help to clean it up. Since only 3 of us stayed, I felt needed and useful and was able to meet people in a less socially-intimidating situation (because that huge crowd and the first-time experience sent me into all kinds of social anxieties!).

Still, I was really glad I got to be a part of it. And for me, the best part of the whole experience, especially the "downsides" are that they reminded me of one of the greatest lessons on service that I ever had.

My first Youth Conference when our family moved back to DE was habitat for humanity. We were going to be split into our groups, and each group was going to build homes, handicap ramps, and other down-and-dirty kinda work. The real "Yeah--I totally served!" kind of work. (I don't know how else to describe it, but you get it, right?) On the first day, my group went to a local Church member's house, and helped clear away some brush, then wash down the house. That was it. We found out later that we were preparing the house to have a ramp built.

The next day, we expected that our group would go back to the house to build the ramp. But our group got split up, and I was one of 2 or 3 teens left behind at the Church. And they had nothing for us to do. Finally they had us move a pile of branches from one side of the parking lot to the other where the dumpster was. And then they asked me to help wash 400 potatoes they were going to use in our dinner for that night. When we were told of a local Church member who needed her mobile home cleaned, I jumped at the chance to go. The place was so small, we were done in 10 minutes.

I spent the rest of Youth Conference hearing about all of the other teens' experiences in building homes. There was so much laughter and excitement. I could see them glowing from their experience. And me? I'd washed a house and some potatoes. I felt so insignificant. Like I hadn't been able to truly contribute. It was a very rough Saturday evening as I returned with my ward group, and had to sit through another dinner of hearing all about their experiences.

The next morning. Sunday. I always loved my Sunday mornings. Such great times of spiritual contemplation. And that room (all my own--and with the best window EVER!) in Delaware had some of the best spiritual experiences of my teen life because I really learned to ponder and listen to the Holy Ghost. That morning was one of those experiences. I was sorrowing over my inability to "truly serve" when I looked up on my wall. One of the ~15 Mormonads on my wall jumped out at me:

Our Savior, the greatest man that will ever walk this earth, did some of the measliest, teeny, seemingly-insignificant things every day of His life. He did the "lower" stuff. The lesser things. And I'm pretty sure He didn't begrudge any thing that He did. And I know that those whom He served didn't think those things were little.

Suddenly I realized that while what I did was so small compared to the teens who built houses. But I helped the sisters making dinner. I took care of the small tasks that somebody had to do. I visited an elderly lady in her home while doing something she couldn't get to. They were small, insignificant tasks. But to those whom those tasks helped, those things were not small. 

And I learned that all service, no matter how great or small, IS significant. It matters. What you do matters--to those whom you will serve, and to the Savior who wishes for those things to be done.

Gospel Message Day 143

Service, Part 3

Service in general is a kindness and generosity toward our fellow man. But service with a sincere smile enables us to extend God's own love to His children.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Gospel Message Day 142

Service, Part 2

It's the weekend. Which means late nights. I should get in the habit of blogging early on weeknight days so that I don't rush these topic contemplations/ramblings. Until then....

I'm going to share a couple of service scriptures and call it good.

Mosiah 2:17
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

Doc&Cov 4:2
 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

Service is a responsibility, a privilege, and a duty, but also an outpouring of love and an income of great blessings.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Gospel Message Day 141

I really wasn't sure what else to say in the last topic. I felt even in just two days I was repeating myself. So I have moved on to the next topic. And I drew


Fabulous topic!!! So excited for this. I have always loved service. And I always feel that I could be doing more service. My job is completely service-oriented, which helps make each day at work very fulfilling. But even if it is fulfilling, I still get paid to do that. So, I try to find opportunities outside of work to serve, because of my Savior.

The Savior's entire life was about service. He served with sincerity, kindness, and love. That's how I want to serve. Because it is one way for me to show my love for my Savior. It is also how I can show my gratitude for Him.

So for today, I'm just going to end with a song that often comes to mind when service comes up. I created two videos for this song for two different Relief Societies, because I felt very strongly impressed to share it with them at the time I was in their presidencies. Here is one of the ward's versions:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gospel Message Day 140

Gathering the House of Israel, Part 2

Today, some scriptural backing to the topic.

In Deuteronomy 28:64 there is a prophecy about the House of Israel being scattered:
And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.

In their scattered state, the Lord wanted to gather them to Him. But they could be so stubborn. We see this in 3 Nephi 10:5:
And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.

But the Lord had made a covenant with His people that He would remember them,as we see in 2 Nephi 29:14:
And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever.

And also in Jeremiah 23:3:
And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

And the promise is now coming true. In 1836, after the Kirtland Temple was dedicated, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery experienced this vision as recorded in Doctrine & Covenants 110:11:
After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.
From these scriptures I have had impressed on me during my life that doing my part to gather Israel is not simply my duty as a member of the Church--it is helping the Lord fulfill a promise He made to His children.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gospel Message Day 139

Gathering the House of Israel

Seriously? Wow. OK. Where to begin? The first thing that comes to mind is missionary work. But there is more to this topic than that (plus, I'm pretty sure that is a topic that has yet to be picked). I think for today, I'm going to start the topic off with a song that often comes to mind when I think of the gathering of Israel. Tomorrow I hope to give more scriptural accounts to talk of the subject.

The most important thing that I can begin with however, is stating that gathering the House of Israel is one of the greatest, most important responsibilities we have as members of Christ's church. It is not to be taken lightly. It cannot be ignored. It happens on both sides of the veil--work for us to do with those living now, and work for us to do for those who have already died. The work will not end until the Savior comes, and as His coming draws closer, our time to do this work gets less and less. We cannot shirk or neglect. Because those people need us. And we need them.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Gospel Message Day 138

Time to Be Grateful

Fought a migraine all day. Not really up to thinking on a new topic. So today is going to be a gratitude post.

I am grateful for:

-the body's ability to heal itself
-the Spirit impressing me about what to do to allow for my body to heal itself
-co-workers who can take over my responsibilities at work
-a home to be sick in
-my fabulous bed--not a bad place to be confined to all day
-the migraine not being so bad that I was able to get extra sleep
-being able to put off all non-work responsibilities for a day and not have to worry about any one being affected by it
-already prepared meals so that it was easy to consume something even though I didn't feel like eating
-rain! And being home to hear it
-more sleep to come tonight
-a new social discovery
-hearing the recording of my ward choir singing my hymn arrangement and being able to share it with my parents
-finding another positive of short hair--still looks pretty decent even after being sick in bed all day
-water--especially Kangen water
-leftover Oreo Lasagna--can't hurt to have a sweet treat on hand when the stomach is ready for food again
-Netflix and BBC to entertain during the times I couldn't sleep
-the idea of books even though the actual reading of them would have hurt the head more
-caring friends
-a new day tomorrow with the hopes that I'll feel much better and can get back to the regular routine of my life
-a simple reminder of how much I am grateful for overall good health, and my job, and my home, and the many wonderful blessings the Lord has given undeserving me

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Gospel Message Day 137

Scripture Study Insight

I had an interesting insight today in my Book of Mormon scripture reading, and I thought it was a good message to share today. (I aim to start the next topic tomorrow.)

I read Mosiah 19-22. This is the story of Limhi and his people, beginning with Limhi's father Noah telling the people to flee from the Lamanites who are coming to attack. At one point, Noah urges all the men to leave behind the women and children so they can flee faster. There is a group of men who choose not to leave behind their wives and children; they stay with them to face the Lamanites. There is a second group of men who after fleeing for a couple of days, regret that they left their wives and children. They fight what hinders them (read: kill wicked King Noah) and return in search of their wives and children, hoping they are still alive. (They have as it turns out been mercifully spared by the Lamanites.) The third group are Noah's wicked priests. They refuse to return to their wives, and later on not only lust after other women, but kidnap them as well.

So in this story I was able to see that there are 3 types of spouses. (Even though it is men in the story, I think the principles can apply to wives as well as husbands.)

1. There are the spouses who remain true and loyal to their spouse. They stick by them no matter what the danger or trial. They love and protect. Their spouse (and children if applicable) are their focus, their purpose.

2. There are the spouses who get caught up in other things. They are distracted from what truly matters. What their focus should be. But they can realize their mistake, and repent, and return to their families.

3. The last group gets distracted away from their family. And then they choose not to return. They are selfish and neglectful and abandon their responsibility to their family.

Obviously, the first kind is the ideal to be. It will take constant work and effort to be that. Definitely worth it though. The second kind is the more human one. Meaning, the category I think many tend to accidentally fall in to on occasion. We're human. Distractions happen. But it isn't too late to return to our families and our responsibilities.

The third kind is what we don't want. Some of those in that category may have things end up in divorce. But there are others who stay in the marriage, but have mentally, emotionally, physically, etc. checked out. Their marriage is a marriage in word only. They do nothing to strengthen, support, and deepen it. It is obviously the category that we don't want to be.

But we have all 3 categories to help us measure where we are in our relationships and what we could or should be doing better. if it is needed. And as I write this, I see that it isn't just for spouses. This can be applied to family members in general. Have I checked out as a daughter? Or a sister? Or an aunt? Do I need to re-focus and help my family? It would have to be in different ways than it was when I was younger and surrounded by my family. But there are still ways I can be supportive.

And how about applying this as members of the Church? Members of a ward? Have I gotten distracted from my role in building the Kingdom of God? Where is my focus? Could I be doing better?

I really like how this application just jumped out to me today. I want to be the 1st category, but I'm determined that if I slip, I will be Category 2 and do what I need to to return to my responsibilities.

Gospel Message Day 136

Accepting and Loving God's Children

It is SO late! So here is another quick Gospel message on a topic I did not draw. I got to see the movie "Imitation Game" tonight. Very well done movie. We talked about lots of things concerning it even hours later. One thought that stays with me goes hand-in-hand with what some our Church leaders said in a press conference a week or so ago. (Find article about it here, which includes link to the full press conference.)

My friend and I talked about how so many--whether members or not members of our Church--don't understand why we take certain stands as we do. They don't understand that in our Church, we believe in God's laws. We believe that man cannot change those laws. They may change their own government's laws, but God's laws will remain intact no matter what government does or doesn't decree. And as members of the Church, we believe in upholding and maintaining God's laws first.

My friend summed it up perfectly: It's not the attraction that's the problem, it's the action. Take me and my single status, for example. I believe in God's law that sexual relations should only take place within the bonds of marriage--and that marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not now nor have I ever been married. But that doesn't mean that I haven't had sexual desires--an appetite that I would love to fill. There have been some very rough days because I am human, and humans crave physical affection. At least, this one does.

But I believe in God's laws, and I believe in following them. So though I have those attractions to many men I have met, my actions do not have me pursuing or following through on those attractions. I maintain my virtue, my chastity, and my fidelity to my future husband whomever he may be. Because I believe there is a right way and a right time--and I will be all the more blessed for waiting in my honoring and obeying God's law of marriage and intimacy. And if I never marry in this life, I will still obey that law no matter what the desires are. Because that is what I believe and how I choose to live.

You may wonder how this ties in with the movie. I just want to make it clear that while I do not, can not accept the actions of homosexual relations, consumption of alcohol, sexual relations outside of marriage, and other things that are against God's law, I still love the people. Those people still deserve our love and respect and kindness. And in this movie, that poor man did not receive it. I think his other disability (I'm sure he was on the spectrum) did not help. But whatever the case was, he, like so many others, did not get the love and respect that he deserved. Not just because he was brilliant and made such a huge contribution to saving lives and helping the world overall, but because every child of God deserves love, respect, kindness, and acceptance.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Gospel Message Day 135

Not ready for a new topic this evening. I just want to testify that Heavenly Father knows His children perfectly. He knew how I was feeling this evening. He knew the emotional difficulty I've had this week. And though I would have been fine it I'd followed through with my previous plans, he put into my mind another option that would be beneficial in other ways. Empty wells cannot fill buckets. Or perhaps a better analogy would be runners who haven't had the proper rest and fuel aren't going to make it very far along the course. I can't get out their socially and be very effective if the idea of leaving the house is about to bring me to tears. No need forcing myself. It's not like any one there is going to miss me when I'm not there. And there will be other opportunities for me.

I some times forget in my quest to do and be and give what I can to help the Lord out in my single situation that I do not have to do and be and give ALL the time. It is OK to occasionally step back. Breathe. Relax. As long as I don't get comfortable and stay away from it all. So I am grateful that the Lord knows where I am and reminded me that I could take a break this evening. My opportunities will not cease because I took a night off.

And what a fabulous night off it has been!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Gospel Message Day 134

Prayer - Requests, Part 3

The most important part of asking for anything through prayer is personal humility. One of the worst things of this day is people's sense of entitlement. They think that they deserve whatever they want. Some are worse than that--they believe they should be allowed to have anything that anyone else has (whether or not they want or need it).

That is not how any wise parent works. Wise parents (especially our Heavenly parents) know that their children should not be given everything they want. People should have to work for things that they need and want. And even then, some times we won't get those things. And yet our lives will still be fine. We'll be more appreciative of what we do have and what we have done to obtain it. But even more, we will more easily be able to recognize (and acknowledge) the Lord's hand in what we have received/accomplished.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Gospel Message Day 133

Prayer - Requests, Part 2

Some scriptures that I believe contain very important things to remember when petitioning the Lord for anything.

Helaman 10:5And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.

Prayer is more about aligning our will to the Father's, not trying to change the Father's will to what we want. Heavenly Father always knows best. So this isn't Him trying to control our lives. It's Him wanting to give us the most and the best, which is impossible for us to see from where we are. Think of it like a 4 year old and a parent. The 4 year old thinks they know best. They are reveling in the discovery of their ability to do things for themselves. So they want to do it their own way. They are absolutely sure their way is best. But usually, is it really? Once in a while, yes, and a parent is proud that they are figuring things out on their journey. But many times, what the child wants and how the child wants to act isn't the best way. They're 4. They have much to learn. A loving parent knows what will be best for the child. And a wise parent won't take away the child's agency and force them to do it the parent's way. A wise parent will let the child learn from their own mistakes and hope that they will soon come to trust that their parent knows best. Heavenly Father is a loving and wise parent. I hope that I can be His trusting child, something I must work at each day.

3 Nephi 18:20And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.

Ask for what is right. Do so in Jesus' name. And believe you'll receive. Simple steps. Another scripture related to asking for things that are right is Doctrine & Covenants 8:10Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.

And to ask in Jesus' name, we need to do so in the Spirit as it says in Doctrine & Covenants 46:30He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.