Sunday, August 15, 2010

I've got it worked out

So trying to post something on my scripture study everyday has definitely proven to challenging for a Mom of four. First you have to do your scripture study, then you have to decide what you will say, then you have to write the post. Too much work to keep up with. So I have to decided to post weekly-ish on a topic that I will be studying that week! And perhaps the visiting teaching message as well. So week one, here we go! Topic: Faith

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Talk

I had to give a talk in church yesturday and this is what I came up with.
The human body is an amazing thing. The following are a few examples of what the body is capable of. There are people who have climbed Mt. Everest, which is a 5 ½ mile vertical assent. There is a person who can run 100 meters in less than 10 seconds. That’s something like 25 miles per hour. There is a guy that can clap his hands 721 times in one minute. That averages out to be 12 claps per second. The world record for long jump is just over 29 feet. That’s almost as tall as a three story building.
Now that’s just the athletic side of the body. Even more amazing is the medical side of the body. Isn’t it kind of neat to think that if you get a cut or injury that the body is able to repair itself with just a little care? What about the idea of organ transplant? Who ever thought that one up, must have been laughed at when he proposed the idea to his peers. I once saw a show on The Learning Channel about a baby that was going to be born with Spin bifida, but a doctor was able to perform a surgery on the unborn baby that repaired the imperfection and the baby was able to be born perfectly normal. It’s truly amazing what a body can do with good nutrition, exercise, good coaching, and good medical care.
The human spirit is no less impressive. In fact I would say that it’s even more amazing. A few years ago there was a man who forgave a drunk driver who caused an accident that killed his wife and two children on Christmas Eve. I have heard of a woman who dedicated her life to fostering hundreds of children. I know people who give their time to serve at the schools to make the schools a better place for our kids. I see people in our ward every day that go about serving each other quietly without any thought of reward. What great examples of how the human spirit can reach out to others.
Just like the body has remarkable healing properties, so does the spirit. It’s amazing that a hard heart can be softened, a broken heart can heal, an offended heart can forgive, and a guilty heart can repent. These things may not come as easily as the healing that takes place in the body, but can always be achieved with proper care and nurturing. Who are the people that will provide the care and nurturing required by the spirit? We are…
I believe that first and foremost we have a responsibility to ourselves. We need to properly nourish our spirit so that it is healthy enough to heal from the spiritual illnesses and injury that can sometimes be inflicted upon us. Luckily, our Stake Presidency has given us a Spiritual Food Pyramid that simply outlines the nutritional needs of the spirit. It is the 2x4 plan. Every day we should be reading our scriptures and praying to our Father in Heaven. Every week we should be doing Family Home Evening and attending our church meetings. Every month we should attend the temple at least once and pay our fast offerings. Once a year we should read the Book of Mormon and attend tithing settlement. If we do these things I am confident that our spirit will receive the proper nutrition it needs to be healthy.
Another important component to a spirit that can withstand the trials of life & further the work of the Lord is strength. What better way to make your spirit stronger than by exercise. Even though it can result in sore spiritual muscle and a little fatigue it is important to exercise our faith. It can be hard to bend to the will of the Lord when we were hoping for something different. Accepting a calling in the church can be a difficult task. Standing up to peers when they want you to do something you know is wrong is really hard. Giving a talk in sacrament meeting can be really scary, but the spiritual strength that results from any of these & a host of other faith building activities is well worth the spiritual muscle fatigue that may result from the process of exercising our faith.
Next, our responsibility lies in our home. In 1918 one of the worst epidemics in history swept across the world and claimed an estimated 21 millions lives in less than one year. The Spanish Flu was largely ignored here in the U.S. and as a result a total of 550,000 people died in a period of 16 weeks. There is an epidemic today attacking the family from every angle. You see it on the internet, on the television, in magazines, you hear it on the radio, and see it in the people that you interact with everyday. This epidemic has claimed the eternal salvation of countless people and is only growing in strength.
We have a duty to coach our children to become more like Christ so that they too can withstand this spiritual flu. There are simple things that we can do now that will bring them closer to Christ and help them to gain a testimony of the gospel. Ezra Taft Benson gave a list of ten things that fathers can do to give spiritual leadership to their children (& I believe that many of these are things that Moms can do as well):
1. Give father’s blessings to your children. Baptize and confirm your children. Ordain your sons to the priesthood. These will become spiritual highlights in the lives of your children.
2. Personally direct family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings. Your personal involvement will show your children how important these activities really are.
3. Whenever possible, attend Church meetings together as a family. Family worship under your leadership is vital to your children’s spiritual welfare.
4. Go on daddy-daughter dates and father-and-sons’ outings with your children. As a family, go on campouts and picnics, to ball games and recitals, to school programs, and so forth. Having Dad (& Mom) there makes all the difference.
5. Build traditions of family vacations and trips and outings. These memories will never be forgotten by your children.
6. Have regular one-on-one visits with your children. Let them talk about what they would like to. Teach them gospel principles. Teach them true values. Tell them you love them. Personal time with your children tells them where you put your priorities.
7. Teach your children to work, and show them the value of working toward a worthy goal. Establishing mission funds and education funds for your children shows them what you consider to be important.
8. Encourage good music and art and literature in your homes. Homes that have a spirit of refinement and beauty will bless the lives of your children forever.
9. As distances allow, regularly attend the temple with your wife. Your children will then better understand the importance of temple marriage and temple vows and the eternal family unit.
10. Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the Church. This can become contagious to them, so they, too, will want to serve in the Church and will love the kingdom.
Each of these things is simple, but makes all the difference to a child. I think the reason why these work is that it shows your children where your priorities lie: In the gospel and in your family which in turn shows them where their priorities should also be.
Next, we need to make our homes a sanctuary from the outside world & guard our homes from the evil influences that wait to infect us.
L. Tom Perry said, “We need to make our homes a place of refuge from the storm, which is increasing in intensity all about us. Even if the smallest openings are left unattended, negative influences can penetrate the very walls of our homes.”
D&C 88:119 states “Establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”
Our homes should be a place where the Holy Spirit can reside and comfort our families from the constant attacks on our spirit. Our homes should nurture divine qualities and foster spiritual growth. We need to be ever attentive of the media influences we allow to enter these walls. We need to be vigilant of the programs our children watch on T.V., keep tabs on the activities our children engage in online, oversee the books and magazines that our kids bring home, and occasionally listen to the music playing on our kids’ iPods. These are all ways in which the epidemic attacking the family can enter into the home and claim the spiritual welfare of those residing within. If we are going to get our kids into the Spiritual Olympics there is a lot of work that needs to be done. We can’t just sit back and hope that our kids will gain a testimony. We need to do everything in our power to help our children reach their full spiritual potential and protect our homes from the plague that seems to invade at every opportunity.
Finally, we have a responsibly to serve the Lord and His children. The human spirit is a delicate and tender thing. It can be easily harmed by the trials & temptations in life and needs constant nurturing. We can be the Lord’s doctors that provide the bandages and medications that can help to heal even the most damaged of souls. In D&C 81:5 the Lord has commanded us to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” Through love, compassion, & service we can provide the care needed to those who hearts are heavy and searching for relief. We can steady the wavering faith of others. We can show love and support to those who have made mistakes and help them to return their focus to the teachings of the gospel. This in turn brings about repentance and the sweet relief of forgiveness.
What a sweet blessing it is to be part of the Lord’s church where one person can make such a big difference. The problems of the world seem so overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to begin. But under the Lord’s direction it is easy to know the starting point. Begin with yourself. Julie Beck in the last General Relief Society meeting stated that “Membership in the Church requires faith, which we nourish throughout our lives with great diligence, and patience, and long suffering. M. Russell Ballard Stated, “True and complete conversion is the key to accelerating the work of the Church.” Next, strengthen the family. The family is essential to the Lord’s plan and we should defend it with all of our might from the “slings and arrows” that constantly assault. Lastly, there are a lot of people depending on you to be strong enough to be the example they need & to support them in times of hardship. It is the duty of the strong to support the weak and we must meet this call with all of the faith and diligence that we can muster. What a blessing it is to know that with the guidance of the Holy Ghost we can make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Keeping An Eternal Perspective

I just went visiting teaching today and as part of the lesson Henry B. Eyring says:
"The purpose of God's creations and of His giving us life is to allow us to have the learning experiences necessary for us to come back to Him, to live with Him in eternal life. That is only possible if we have our natures changed through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (despite hard stuff), true repentance, and making and keeping the covenants He offers all of his Father's children through His Church."
This reminded me of Helaman 15:3 …they have been a chosen people of the Lord; yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them.
Then this reminded me of a conference talk given a few years ago where they quoted Brigham Young. It was something to the effect of… Every trial that we experience in this life is essential for our salvation.
So I guess what I am trying to say is that Heavenly Father loves us so he has given us a way to return to him. Even if it means a little heart ache; whether it’s a natural consequence for poor choices or something that just can’t be avoided like the loss of a loved one. We need to remain faithful even when it’s hard and try to see the purpose behind the trial. Heavenly Father doesn’t give us trials for no reason. There is always a little progression to be had. I can only pray that when “the mighty winds” come my way that I can remain steadily grounded in my faith in Jesus Christ and find the purpose of the trial.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pride - No Good

After reading the scriptures quite a bit, I can't help but feel that pride is the path to all wickedness. Whether is just a small sin like thinking something negative about someone or something large like committing murder or worse. Pride is a toxic attribute that when we see it in our hearts we NEED to remove it as soon as possible. The best way to do that is to go in humility to our savior and ask for forgiveness.

I had an experience lately that I am ashamed of. I was starting to get prideful in my heart and then it started to become an outward attribute. There was a little drama in a family in our ward that I was beginning to gossip about. Not to anyone that actually knows the family, but to a friend of mine and to my family. One day something happened and I just felt terrible. I was worried that I had offended someone, I was ashamed of the way I was acting, & in short I was not being a disciple of Christ. It was a real eye opener to just how prideful I was getting. Luckily there is the atonement that brought about a true change of heart. It is amazing how well a humble, sincere prayer to our Father in Heaven works to purge sin from our hearts. Without getting too specific, I have since learned that my opinion doesn't matter. I don't have any right to judge the situation and my job is to just love them.

So I guess now the question is, How do we avoid pride so that it doesn't consume our hearts?
1- Bryan says that service is key. In Mosiah 4:15 it says
But ye will teach them (your children) to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.
I take this to mean that if you want to learn to love someone you must serve them. Maybe that's why we love our family's so much. We spend our life serving them.
2 - Stay grounded in the gospel. I think that it is a lot harder to become prideful when the gospel is your first priority.
3 - Deny yourself of something. It helps to build our self control and will power. Maybe that's one of the reasons why we do fast Sunday every month.

I'm sure there are more ways to prevent pride, but I am pretty sure that my 1.5 year old is into something messy. If you have any more ideas, please leave a comment and share you thoughts!

Monday, September 1, 2008


Wherefore, my beloved sons (or daughters), pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons or daughters of God; that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as He is pure. Amen”
Moroni 7:48

I chose this scripture to put on a bookmark for my Activity Day girls to help them remember that they should be praying everyday, especially before they read the scriptures. I hope it will help.

If you know of any better prayer scriptures, please, let me know! I just really want to motivate them to read!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Take Courage

Alma 58 8-12
When I read this I had a few things pop into my mind, First:
One time when we were helping my parent's move, we had been working, & cleaning, & packing all day and towards dinner time we were all getting very tired and losing steam really fast. It was getting to the point that we were ready to call it a day even though we needed to be out that night. Just when we were about to quit some of my siblings walked through the door with enough energy for all of us. With their help we were able to complete the job in the time required.
Second: Have you ever watched Lord of the Rings - Fellowship of the Ring? If you have, you will know what I am talking about. At the end of the movie there is a small army of men fighting for good at a strong hold called Helm's Deep. They are matched up against a massive Ork army. All as brutal and mean as they come. The future looks bleak and hope seems to have fled away. They begin the battle and things go well for a while then the Ork army manages to penetrate the defenses and begin to take lives and hope. When hope is gone and the end seems inevitable they gather their hope and faith and make a courageous last stand. As they ride out into the midst of the Orks their hope and energy is rekindled by the sight of Gandolf with his beacon of light who arrives just in time to save the day using his wizardly awesomeness to kick some serious Ork patooty.
We are not unlike these two scenarios. We are all engaged in an eternal battle between good and evil. The good is vastly out numbered by the beliefs and actions of the wicked. It may seem impossible to raise children and live in such a wicked world, but if we gather our hope, faith, and dedication to the Lord and pray for guidance and support and practice a little obedience there is nothing that we can't overcome.
Go ahead and read this excerpt and you will see what I am talking about. Leading up to this Heleman's army is feeling a little desperate. Things seem very bleak and they ask for support from the government and receive very little.
Alma 58 8-12
8 But it came to pass that we did receive food, which was guarded to us by an army of two thousand men to our assistance; and this is all the assistance which we did receive, to defend ourselves and our country from falling into the hands of our enemies, yea, to contend with an enemy which was innumerable.
9 And now the cause of these our embarrassments, or the cause why they did not send more strength unto us, we knew not; therefore we were grieved and also filled with fear, lest by any means the judgments of God should come upon our land, to our overthrow and utter destruction.
10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.
11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.
12 And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

War-What's it Good For?

Why do we have these war chapters at the end of Alma? Bryan says it's so that boys will read the scriptures. Someone in our ward mentioned it was a good source for learning primitive war strategy. Although those are both good reasons for recording this type of history, I am inclined to think that there must be something a little deeper that we are to learn. Something along the lines of an example to us of how our belief in the Savior can impact our lives. How our faith and obedience can directly influence the happiness that we experience. We won't be exempt from trial and hardship, but can avoid some things and we will be better prepared to handle the inevitable. It's truly a comfort to know that the Lord is watching over me and that I can call on His name whenever I need a little help from someone who loves me.