Tuesday, December 27, 2011

{ :) }

A member of our ward in his talk told us about how they were having a family home evening about the ten commandments. They talked about honoring your father and mother. Then he asked: "Is there a commandment about your siblings?" Their young son answered: "Thou shalt not kill."

:)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

{"Becometh As a Child" by Neal A. Maxwell}

"All about us we see the bitter and abundant harvest from permissiveness. A perceptive person has acknowledged: "The struggle to live ethically without God has left us not with the just and moral order we imagined but with disorder and confusion". (Peter Marin, Harper's Magazine, Sept. 1995)

"The more what is politically correct seeks to replace what God has declared correct, the more ineffective approaches to human problems there will be, all reminding us of C.S.Lewis's metaphor about those who run around with fire extinguishers in times of flood. For instance, there are increasing numbers of victims of violence and crime, yet special attention is paid to the rights of criminals. Accompanying an ever increasing addiction to pornography are loud alarms against censorship. Rising illegitimacy destroys families and threatens the funding capacities of governments; nevertheless, chastity and fidelity are mocked."

"I have no hesitancy... in stating that unless checked, permissiveness, by the end of its journey, will cause humanity to stare in mute disbelief at its awful consequences."

"Ironically, as some people become harder, they use softer words to describe dark deeds... Needless abortion, for instance, is a "reproductive health procedure," which is an even more "spongy expression" than "termination of pregnancy"."

"Church members will live in this wheat-and-tares situation until the Millenium. Some real tares even masquerade as wheat, including the few eager individuals who lecture the rest of us about Church doctrines in which they no longer believe. They criticize the use of Church resources to which they no longer contribute. They condescendingly seek to cousel the Brethren whom they no longer sustain... they leave the Church,  but they cannot leave the Church alone. Like the throng on the ramparts of the "great and spacious building," they are intensely and busily preoccupied, pointing fingers of scorn at the steadfast iron-rodders.
Considering their ceaseless preoccupation, one wonders, is there no diversionary activity available to them, especially in such a large building - like a bowling alley? Perhaps in their mockings and beneath the stir are repressed doubts of their doubts. In any case, given the perils of popularity, Brigham Young advised that this "people must be kept where the finger of scorn can be pointed at them"."

..."the arrogance of critics must be met by the meekness and articulateness of believers."

..."the exhilarations of discipleship exceed its burdens. Hence, when journeying through our Sinai, we are nourished in the Bountiful-like oases of the Restoration."

"It has been a privilege to seal several adopted children to Nan and Dan Barker, now of Arizona. Some time ago Nate, then just over three, said: "Mommy, there is another little girl who is supposed to come to our family. She has dark hair and dark eyes and lives a long way from here."
The wise mother asked, "How do you know this?"
"Jesus told me, upstairs."
The mother noted, "We don't have an upstairs," but quickly sensed the significance of what had been communicated. After much travail and many prayers, the Barker family were in a sealing room in the Salt Lake Temple in the fall of 1995 - where a little girl with dark hair and dark eyes, from Kazakhstan, was sealed to them for time and eternity."

..."as we cross our Sinai, including in those moments when we must "be still, and know that I am God". Such submissive stillness is necessary, because the process of consecration is not one of explanation. Only "after the trial of our faith" does the full witness come..."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
May 1996 Ensign

Friday, December 9, 2011

{motherhood}

(image found via google image search)

I wrote a poem! Seriously? Me? One day it just came. I'm sure it needs more work but I thought I'd share it here.

Motherhood

My eyes are tired
From lack of sleep.
Some nights are long,
Worries run deep.

My hands are tired,
They've done so much.
Lives have been blessed
By a motherly touch.

My mind is tired,
So much to do.
I reach and reach
These little ones to teach.

A baby, a toddler,
Now in school...
The years go by fast.
Oh how to make them last?

Life can be hard,
There are many tears.
But the Spirit conquers
All my fears.

In God I'll trust
When life gets rough.
I'll do my best.
It is enough.

My God I'll praise,
His plan is great.
My mother's role
I'll celebrate.

My heart is full.
My joy is deep.
These precious memories
I'll always keep.

{take especial care of your family}

"Note several terrible trends which, if uncorrected, will produce an even worse coalition of consequences.

*In ten years, one-half of all children born in America will be illegitimate.

*More and more children have no functioning fathers. Already 70% of our juvenile criminals come from fatherless homes.

*Less than half of all children born today will live continuously with their own mother and father throughout childhood."

*One-fourth of all adolescents... contract a sexually transmitted disease before they graduate from high school."

"Healthy, traditional families are becoming an endangered species!"

"As parenting declines, the need for policing increases. There will always be a shortage of police if there is a shortage of effective parents! Likewise, there will not be enough prisons if there are not enough good homes."

"Latter-day Saints therefore have no choice but to stand up and to speak up whenever the institution of the family is concerned, even if we are misunderstood, resented, or brushed aside."

"However, as Latter-day Saints, we need to do better in our families - much better! There should be less wringing of hands and more loving arms around our families."

..."there is an emerging but unjustified tendency to treat children as if they have the capacity for unrestricted adult experience."

..."we stress again and again the available remedies of family prayers, family home evenings, and family scripture study. Moreover, personal revelation regarding parenting can provide customized guidance and reassurance!"

"Applying basic remedies will take some time and will not fix everything immediately. What could be more basic, however, than "love at home", when annually in America there are four million reports of domestic violence, rivaling the number of births in America! Violence in America now kills "the equivalent of a classroomful" of children "every two days."

"In the healthy family, first and best, we can learn to listen, forgive, praise, and to rejoice in the achievements of others. There also we can learn to tame our egos, work, repent, and love. In families with spiritual perspective, yesterday need not hold tomorrow hostage. If we sometimes act the fool, loving families know this is not oru last act; the curtain is not rung down."

"Parents and grandparents, please scrutinize your schedules and priorities in order to ensure that life's prime relationships get more prime time! Even consecrated and devoted Brigham Young was once told by the Lord, "Take especial care of your family" (D&C 126:3) Sometimes, it is the most conscientious who need this message the most!"

"As the number of dysfunctional families increases, their failures will spill into already burdened schools and streets. It is not a pretty scene even now."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
May 1994 Ensign





{brightness of hope}

"For some years, brothers and sisters, there has been an increasing and profound sense of existential despair in the world... Holocausts, famine, pestilence, and tides of refugees have taken a terrible toll on human hope, with much of that toll coming from man-made, avoidable disasters... despair comes of iniquity!"

"A coalition of consequences is emerging. As prophesied, the love of many waxes cold (see Matthew 24:12). Even those affectionally secure themselves can sense the chill in the air."

"Shame is often replaced by the arrogance of those morally adrift, including strutting celebrities whose outer boldness camouflages their inner emptiness. ...so much hollow laughter..."

"Just as doubt, despair, and desensitization go together, so do faith, hope, and charity. The latter, however, must be carefully and constantly nurtured, whereas despair, like dandelions, needs so little encouragement to sprout and spread. Despair comes so naturally to the natural man!"

"Significally, those who look forward to a next and better world are usually "anxiously engaged" in improving this one..."

..."brightness of hope" produces illuminated individuals. Their luminosity is seen, and things are also seen by it! Such hope permits us to "press forward" even when dark clouds oppress. Sometimes in the deepest darkness there is no external light - only an inner light to guide and to reassure."

"Hope helps us to walk by faith, not by sight. This can actually be safer."

"Genuine hope is urgently needed in order to be more loving even as the love of many waxes cold; more merciful, even when misunderstood or misrepresented; more holy, even as the world ripens in iniquity; more courteous and patient in a coarsening and curt world; and more full of heartfelt hope, even when other men's hearts fail them."

"Tower of Pisa is a persistent rebuke to architectural pessimism, so parental hope - by refusing to topple merely because of the gravity of the current family situation - is a repudiation of despair. Giving parents never give up hope!"

"Though otherwise "lively", hope stands quietly with us at funerals. Our tears are just as wet, but not because of despair. Rather, they are tears of appreciation evoked by poignant separation. They will change, erelong, to tears of glorious anticipation. Yet the emptiness is so real and so restless it initiates a retroactive inventory of what is now so painfully missing, doing so, however, while forecasting fulness and resplendent reunion!"

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
November 1994 Ensign


{deny yourselves of all ungodliness}

..."consider the subsequent and sobering tragedy of children having children, of unwed mothers, of children without parents, of hundreds of thousands of fatherless children, and of rampant spousal infidelity... Yet carnalists are unwilling to deny themselves, even though all of society suffers from an awful avalanche of consequences!"

"In Proverbs, we read, "For the commandment is a lamp". Once darkened, a society loses its capacity to distinguish between right and wrong... A society which permits anything will eventually lose everything!"

"Gross sins arise ominously and steadily out of the swamp of self-indulgence and self-pity."

"Sadly, too, a few envy the wicked."

"Ironically, in all their eagerness to experience certain things, hedonists, become desensitized."

..."some worry only about holes in the ozone layer, while the fabric of many families who lack the lamp resembles Swiss cheese."

"Many things will not get better until we have better families, but this will require much more self-denial, not less."

..."end up with more protected pornography than protected children."

..."urging self-restraint on hedonists is like discouraging Dracula from hanging around the blood bank!"

"All things considered, brothers and sisters, to whom did David deal the greater blow, Goliath or Uriah? Or himself?"

"...God's second commandment, love thy neighbor, clearly leaves no room for racism."

"So it is that real, personal sacrifice never was placing an animal on the altar. Instead, it is a willingness to put the animal in us upon the altar and letting it be consumed!"

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
May 1995 Ensign

{sins of omission}

"Once the telestial sins are left behind and henceforth avoided, the focus falls ever more on the sins of omission. These omissions signify a lack of qualifying fully for the celestial kingdom. Only greater consecration can correct these omissions, which have consequences just as real as do the sins of commission. Many of us thus have sufficient faith to avoid the major sins of commission, but not enough faith to sacrifice our distracting obsessions or to focus on our omissions."

"Most omissions occur because we fail to get outside ourselves."

"...only by aligning our wills with God's is full happiness to be found. Anything less results in a lesser portion."

"As one's will is increasingly submissive to the will of God, he can receive inspiration and revelation so much needed to help meet the trials of life."

"Do we understand - really comprehend - that Jesus knows and understands when we are stressed and perplexed? ...perfect empathy... knows how to succor us... Since the Most Innocent suffered the most, our own cries of "Why?" cannot match His."

"Each of us might well ask, "In what ways am I shrinking or holding back?" Meek introspection may yield some bold insights! For example, we can tell much by what we have already willingly discarded along the pathway of discipleship. It is the only pathway where littering is permissible, even encouraged."

..."trusting that God has made "ample provision" beforehand to achieve all His purposes, including His purposes in our lives."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
November 1995 Ensign

{FHE: thou shalt not take the name of the Lord they God in vain.}



FHE about honoring the names of Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ.

Do you know why your parents gave you your particular name?

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know our names. Examples: Joseph Smith's First Vision and boy Samuel called by the Lord.

What kind of person do you think of when you hear the name Jesus Christ?

We show honor and respect for people by using their names in a kind and loving way.

Mosiah 13:15 What does it mean to take the Lord's name in vain?

How would you feel if someone said your name angrily or without respect?

Do you know what Jesus' name was in pre-existence? What is Heavenly Father's name?

Speak gently of Jesus;
Please soften your voice.
You honor his name with your every right choice.
Our Heavenly Father's name,
Like a prayer
Should only be spoken with great love and care.

Activity
Everyone practices writing their name in various fun ways. For little children: print their name with a fun font. Help them color and decorate their name.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

{the golden rule}

 

The Golden Rule

The New Animal
By Diane Bohn
The Friend, September 1987

A new animal was coming to live in the zoo, and the other animals were excited. One morning a big truck backed up to an empty cage, and out stepped the new animal. The zookeeper hung a sign outside the cage that said “ZELMGID.”
The other animals stared in amazement. The zelmgid did not look like any animal that they had ever seen. He had a long neck and a long tail, and when he opened his mouth, he barked. One by one the other animals turned away from the cage. Because the zelmgid was so different, they were not sure how to treat him.
The zelmgid was very lonely. The animals ignored him, so he had no one to talk to. He was so sad that he didn’t eat. The zookeeper began to worry. People stopped visiting the zoo because the new animal was sad and the other animals hid in the backs of their cages.
One day the elephant heard the zelmgid barking to himself. “The zelmgid does have a good trunk,” he told the giraffe. “It’s not as long as mine, but it’s really quite nice.”
The giraffe stretched her neck to take a closer look. “Look at his strong neck. He can reach as high as I can.”
The lion was looking quietly at the new animal’s mane. “My goodness! He has an excellent mane—almost as thick as mine.”
Just then the zebra trotted by the cage. “His coat has a very nice pattern,” she said.
“And his horns are curved just right,” the ibex said, “just like mine.”
When the monkey came swinging from the trees, he said, “Look at that handsome tail. I wonder if the zelmgid would like to play tag?”
Finally the duck waddled by the cage. “What fine feet you have. You probably can swim faster than I can,” she said to him.
The zelmgid stopped crying and thanked the duck for the compliment. Soon all the animals were talking together. They felt much happier. Even though the zelmgid looked different, the other animals had all found something about the new animal that they liked.

Carefully discuss differences with involvement directions, such as: “All children with brown eyes raise their hands.” “Those with freckles stand.” “Those who can whistle, whistle.” Be sensitive to situations in class in which you can give support to children. Lead to conclusion that we can find something that we like about everybody.

Discuss Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12). Who taught us this? Challenge children to apply Golden Rule during week and report their experiences.

Sing “Little Things” (Sing with Me, B-49) and “Have I Done Any Good?” (Hymns, no. 223).

Found this while preparing my Primary lesson. Great idea for FHE.
Here is the link to the Friend article.

Monday, November 28, 2011

{FHE: patterning our lives to Jesus' life}







These horse drawings were part of one of our family home evenings. We first tried to draw as realistic horses as we could. Then we actually followed the horse pattern to draw them again. Of course they looked much better then. We talked about following Jesus' example and how much better our lives will turn out when we follow a great pattern. etc.

The horses: sienna's, mine, jay's (we laughed about his horse's short neck), then sienna's & jay's with a pattern. sienna traced the horse first.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

{advent calendar}



I typed a scripture/Christmas song inserts for an advent calendar. I copied them from an old Friend magazine and changed it a bit.



D&C 33: 11-12
Jesus taught the principles of His gospel. Memorize and recite the fourth article of faith. Sing “Samuel Tells of Baby Jesus”

Luke 17: 11-19
Jesus praised the leper who returned to thank Him. Talk about your blessings. Sing “Stars Were Gleaming”.

D&C 1: 37
Jesus counselled Latter-Day Saints to study His commandments. Talk about blessings that come when we keep a certain commandment. Sing “When Joseph Went to Bethlehem”.


3 Nephi 25: 5-6
Jesus said that the hearts of children should turn to their parents. Ask your parents to tell you about Christmases when they were young. Sing “Little Jesus”.


D&C 19: 38-39
Jesus asks us to pray always. Is there anything specific you should pray for as a family? Sing “There Was Starlight on the Hillside”.

Mark 10: 13-14
Jesus showed that children are very important to Him. Color a picture of Jesus with children and make it into a Christmas tree ornament. Sing “The Shepherd’s Carol”.


Matthew 22: 34-40
Jesus taught us to love our neighbors. Do something nice for a neighbour. Sing “Once within a Lowly Stable”.


D&C 21: 1, 4-5
Our prophet tells us what Jesus wants us to do. Read “A Prophet’s Love” from Friend 10/2009, page 2. Sing “Away in a Manger”.


John 13: 34-35
We show that we want to follow Jesus when we love other people. Do something nice to someone. Sing “Mary’s Lullaby”


D&C 89: 10-11, 18-20
Jesus revealed the Word of Wisdom to help us to be healthy. Make a healthy Christmas snack together. Sing “Who is the Child?”

3 Nephi 27: 29
Jesus promised that Heavenly Father will answer our prayers. How has prayer blessed your life? Sing “Sleep, Little Jesus”.


3 Nephi 12: 6
Jesus taught that we will be blessed for seeking righteousness. Discuss how you can do that. Sing “Oh, Hush Thee My Baby”.


D&C 25:12
Talk about how music can uplift us. Sing “Picture a Christmas”.


D&C 76: 22-24
Even though Jesus was born two thousand years ago, He has appeared to prophets of our time. Read the first presidency article in December Friend. Sing “Have a Very Merry Christmas!”


3 Nephi 27:7
Jesus told His disciples to call the Church in His name. Sing “I Belong to the Church of J.C.” and “The Nativity Song”.


3 Nephi 12: 16
Jesus asked us to be examples to those around us. Discuss how you can do that. Sing “Christmas Bells”.


D&C 35: 26
Jesus wants us to be happy. Discuss about things that make you happy. Share examples. Sing “Jesus Once Was a Little Child”.


D&C 108: 7
Jesus asks us to help each other be strong in the gospel. Talk about how going to Church each Sunday strengthens your faith. Sing “Tell me the Stories of Jesus”.


3 Nephi 23: 1
Jesus commanded the Nephites to study the words of Isaiah. Read Isaiah 53: 3-5 and discuss it. Sing “Beautiful Savior”.


Matthew 6: 3-4
Jesus taught that we should quietly help other people. Surprise someone with treats anonymously. Sing “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus”.


3 Nephi 12: 9
Jesus promised to bless the peacemakers. Discuss how you can be a peacemaker wherever you are. Sing “I Feel My Savior’s Love”.


3 Nephi 18: 21
Jesus taught us to pray with our families. Discuss about what kinds of things you should pray for. Sing “When He Comes Again”.


3 Nephi 18: 6-7
Jesus asked His followers to always remember Him, especially when partaking of the sacrament. Make a Christmas tree ornament with a picture of Jesus in it. Sing “He Died That We Might Live Again”.


3 Nephi 17: 21-24
Jesus blessed little children because he loved them. How can you show love for children you know? Sing “Jesus Loved the Little Children”.


Read everyone’s favorite scripture of Jesus or everyone tells one story of Jesus’ life. Sing “Picture a Christmas”.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

{sifting process}

"I am thankful that God allows those who do not keep his commandments to fall away, so that his Church may be cleansed, and, in this respect, this Church is different from any other that is upon the earth... The sifting or weeding process has been going on from the commencement of this Church until the present time."

President George Q. Cannon

Ensign, November 1993, Neal A. Maxwell's talk

Saturday, November 5, 2011

{FHE: forgiveness}


I made this for this Primary lesson. Feel free to use it. Click on the picture to see it larger.

{FHE - worshiping at church}


 I made this image for my Primary lesson: Primary book #3, Choose the Right B, ages 4-7, lesson #40

The illustration can also be used for FHE. Talk about Sunday worship and the four ways to worship (listen, sing, pray, sacrament). Put the star in a gift bag and give everyone an opportunity to pull the star out of the bag. They are then to answer the question about the word on the point of the star they are holding.

listen: Who are some people we should listen to at church?

sing: Name one song you like to sing at church.

pray: Name one time we offer a prayer at church.

sacrament: Name one thing you can do during the sacrament.

The children can color this scripture and draw a picture of their family singing in the church.


Click the pictures to see them larger.



{we need to be prepared - now!}





"I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end. President Kimball, "In reviewing the Lord's counsel to us on the importance of preparedness, I am impressed with the plainness of the message. The Savior made it clear that we cannot place sufficient oil in our preparedness lamps by simply avoiding evil. We must also be anxiously engaged in appositive program of preparation."
I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.
...The instability in the world today makes it imperative that we take heed of the counsel and prepare for the future."

Elder L. Tom Perry
October 1995 General Conference

imperative = not to be avoided or evaded, expressive of a command
synonyms: mandatory, necessary, obligatory

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

{being consecrated}


We need to consecrate ourselves and not be casual members of the Church.

Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, November 1992:

"Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus!"

"But is being consecrated and "swallowed up" a threat to our individuality? No! Heavenly Father is only asking us to lose the old self in order to find the new and the real self. It is not a question of losing our identity but of finding our true identity!"

"Increased consecration is not so much a demand for more hours of Church work as it is for more awareness of Whose work this really is!"

"Only when things begin to come into focus "with an eye single" do we see "things as they really are"! What a view awaits!"

"Becoming more like Jesus in thought and behavior is not grinding and repressing, but emancipating and discovering!"

"More members need the immense relief and peace which can come from being "settled" without which those individuals will be like "the troubled sea, when it cannot rest."

"There is another special reason to become settled: we will live in a time in which "all things shall be in commotion." The uncertainties, upheavals, and topsy-truviness of today's world will be such that those who vacillate and equivocate will be tossed about by severe turbulence."

"Brothers and sisters, whatever we embrace instead of Jesus and His work will keep us from qualifying to enter His kingdom and therefore from being embraced by Him. May we be settled and prepare now for that marvelous moment then..."

orthodoxy = the quality or state of being orthodox
orthodox = confirming to established doctrine esp. in religion
synonyms: regular, formal
antonyms: casual, informal, irregular

emancipate = to free from restraint, control, or the power of another
= to free from bondage

vacillate = to sway through lack of dquilibrium, fluctuate, to waver in mind, will, or feeling, hesitate in choice of opinions or courses

equivocate = to avoid committing oneself in what one says

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

{the book of mormon}


President Ezra T. Benson:

...If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, “Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?
And there is example after example of how that question will be answered. For example, in the Book of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming. A major portion of the book centers on the few decades just prior to Christ’s coming to America. By careful study of that time period, we can determine why some were destroyed in the terrible judgments that preceded His coming and what brought others to stand at the temple in the land of Bountiful and thrust their hands into the wounds of His hands and feet.
From the Book of Mormon we learn how disciples of Christ live in times of war. From the Book of Mormon we see the evils of secret combinations portrayed in graphic and chilling reality. In the Book of Mormon we find lessons for dealing with persecution and apostasy. We learn much about how to do missionary work. And more than anywhere else, we see in the Book of Mormon the dangers of materialism and setting our hearts on the things of the world. Can anyone doubt that this book was meant for us and that in it we find great power, great comfort, and great protection?

Ensign, November 1986

{continually hold the rod of iron to endure to the end}

Elder David A. Bednar talks about the two groups in Lehi's vision who held on to the iron rod and made it to the tree of life.

"It is significant that the second group pressed forward with faith and commitment. They also had the added blessing of the rod of iron, and they were clinging to it! However, as they were confronted with persecution and adversity, they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. Even with faith, commitment, and the word of God, this group eventually was lost - perhaps because they only periodically read or studied or searched the scriptures. Clinging to the rod of iron suggests to me only occasional "bursts" of study or irregular dipping rather than consistent, ongoing immersion in the word of God.
In verse 30 we read about a third group of people who pressed forward continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. The key phrase in this verse is continually holding fast to the rod of iron.
...Perhaps it was the spiritual nourishment and strength provided by continually feasting upon the words of Christ that enabled this group to heed not the scorning and mocking of the people in the great and spacious building. This is the group you and I should strive to join."

Ensign, October 2011, page 35

Sunday, July 17, 2011

{stay out of debt}

“We are carrying a message of self-reliance throughout the Church. Self-reliance cannot obtain when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others.

“In managing the affairs of the Church, we have tried to set an example. We have, as a matter of policy, stringently followed the practice of setting aside each year a percentage of the income of the Church against a possible day of need.

“I am grateful to be able to say that the Church in all its operations, in all its undertakings, in all of its departments, is able to function without borrowed money. If we cannot get along, we will curtail our programs. We will shrink expenditures to fit the income. We will not borrow.

“One of the happiest days in the life of President Joseph F. Smith was the day the Church paid off its long-standing indebtedness.

“What a wonderful feeling it is to be free of debt, to have a little money against a day of emergency put away where it can be retrieved when necessary...

“I urge you... to look to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage.

“This is a part of the temporal gospel in which we believe. May the Lord bless you... to set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your [families] and peace in your hearts. That’s all I have to say about it, but I wish to say it with all the emphasis of which I am capable.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) “To the Boys and to the Men,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 53–54.

Prophetic words. So many people and even countries are in terrible state as they have borrowed too much money.

{be of good cheer (no matter what happens around you)}

Be of good cheer.

Jesus said this to the paralytic man lying helpless on a bed (Matthew 9:2), to the frightened Apostles battling the tempestuous sea (Matthew 14:27) and to the 10 elders about to go on a dangerous and troubled mission (D&C 61:36).

"These people had every reason to be anxious, fearful, and hopeless, yet the Lord directed them toward a reason to rejoice.
How does the Lord's admonition of cheer sound in our world today? When economic uncertainties, terrorist threats, and corruption provide top stories for the evening news, how can the good news of the gospel intervene? When we experience personal loss in so many ways and on so many days, what is left to be cheerful about?"

"We find the key to understanding this seeming contradiction in the context of the Last Supper. Speaking to the Apostles in His final moments before Gethsemane, Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Elder Neal A. Maxwell explained: “The unimaginable agony of Gethsemane was about to descend upon Jesus; Judas’ betrayal was imminent. Then would come Jesus’ arrest and arraignment; the scattering of the Twelve like sheep; the awful scourging of the Savior; the unjust trial; the mob’s shrill cry for Barabbas instead of Jesus; and then the awful crucifixion on Calvary. What was there to be cheerful about? Just what Jesus said: He had overcome the world! The atonement was about to be a reality. The resurrection of all mankind was assured. Death was to be done away with—Satan had failed to stop the atonement.”1
Christ’s enabling power helps us feel happiness and cheer amid mortal gloom and doom. Misfortune and hardship lose their tragedy when viewed through the lens of the Atonement."

"Obedience to God is not insurance against pain and sadness. Challenges have always been included in God’s great plan to test our faith and to help us grow in humility and compassion."

"Part of Christ’s mission is to heal broken hearts. He came to wipe away our tears, not to ensure that we would never weep (see Revelation 7:17). He clearly promised, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33)."

"We may come to believe that we can and should trust in our own efforts rather than humbly acknowledge God. This is self-righteousness. When we look through the lens of our righteousness and take comfort in our good efforts, the idea of depending wholly on Christ (see 2 Nephi 31:19; Moroni 6:4) seems a bit risky.
Unwittingly, when we reason this way, we sound eerily similar to Korihor, the anti-Christ from the Book of Mormon, who taught that “every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and … conquered according to his strength” (Alma 30:17), thereby arguing that his listeners had no need for Christ and His Atonement."

"Cheerfulness in the scriptural context connotes a divinely assured optimism, “a deep trust in God’s unfolding purposes,” a grounded conviction that God will always keep His promises.2 When Christ proclaims, “Be of good cheer,” He is not requesting a na├»ve, Pollyanna-like response to life’s cruel twists and turns. Nor is He promising a pain-free life of constant bliss. Trial is no respecter of persons. Tragedy and hardship do not discriminate. Our world sees opposition among rich and poor, men and women, the righteous as well as the wicked. The Savior specifically prayed that God would not take us “out of the world” (John 17:15). “In this world your joy is not full,” He taught, “but in me your joy is full” (D&C 101:36). True happiness and satisfaction are found only by turning away from the world and coming to Christ."

"As mentioned before, Jesus Christ has indeed overcome the world. As darkness has no power when light appears, so the world cannot overcome the Light of the World (see John 1:5). He is the Victor, come to earth “with healing in his wings” (3 Nephi 25:2) for all humankind. He will not forsake us.
As a mother hen covers her chicks with her wings, so the Redeemer will surround us with His comprehensive power if we will come to Him (see Matthew 23:37). There is room under those wings for all of us, for He declares:
“Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come” (D&C 68:6).
True, we live in a time of war, a day of conflicts and terrors not only among nations but within our own hearts. But He who is the Balm of Gilead (see Jeremiah 8:22) is the Lord of all creation; only in Him are peace and serenity found. Amid all our mortal gloom and doom, Jesus Christ has overcome the world. Come, let us rejoice."

Camille Fronk Olson, Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture, BYU.
Ensign, July 2011, page 57.

= The trick is to look towards the Atonement which will heal and cleanse it ALL.

"The gospel of Jesus Christ has the answers to all of our problems."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, May 2009, page 75

{how to make missionary work move forward faster}

"The Church would grow much faster now, numerically and spiritually, if it were not for the wickedness of the world (see 1 Nephi 14:12). It would also grow much faster if you and I were better by taking up the Christian cross daily (see Luke 9:23). Part of taking up the cross is denying ourselves the lusts and appetites of the flesh... Thus, the daily taking up of the cross means daily denying ourselves the appetites of the flesh."
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1987, page 71.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

{the future growth of the Church}

"The future growth of the Church will not happen through just knocking on strangers' doors. It will happen when the members, along with our missionaries, filled with the love of God and Christ discern needs and respond to those needs in the spirit of charitable service.
When we do this... the honest in heart will feel our sincerity and our love. Many will want to know more about us. Then and only then will the Church expand to fill all of the earth.
...we need to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The still, small voice will let us know who needs our help and what we can do to help them."

Elder M. Russell Ballard
Ensign, May 2011, page 48

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

{fear vs. faith}

We live in a time of turmoil. Earthquakes and tsunamis wreak devastation, governments collapse, economic stresses are severe, the family is under attack, and divorce rates are rising. We have great cause for concern. But we do not need to let our fears displace our faith. We can combat those fears by strengthening our faith.

Why do we need such resilient faith? Because difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord “shall suffer persecution.” 12 That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives.

Our beloved President Thomas S. Monson has given us his prophetic witness. He said: “I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments.”
President Monson continued: “My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.” 19

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Ensign May 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

{the book of Joel, Old Testament Study Guide comments}

Moroni quoted from Joel (second chapter, from the 28th verse to the last) and said that the prophecies would shortly be fulfilled. (JS history 1:41)

The book of Joel = major source of information on the battle of Armageddon.

Zion (the righteous people of Enoch, not the buildings) was taken up to heaven and "shall return during the Millenium, when the Lord brings again Zion; and its inhabitants shall join with the New Jerusalem which shall then be established."

"the place of Zion, or the land of Zion, "is North and South America". (prophet J. Smith)

Joel 2: 2-11
An event of the latter days known as the battle of Armageddon is described in these verses. Like the locusts that devour the crops and cover the heavens with blackness because of their numbers, so "a great people and a strong" shall descend upon the land of Israel in the latter days. (compare to Rev. 9:1-10 & Ezekiel 38: 8-9) So great shall be the number of this people that "the earth shall quake before them". The sun, moon, and stars will be darkened.

Horses = war
Chariots = a powerful army

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith: "Here we have a great, terrible army, marching with unbroken ranks and crushing everything before it, finding the garden like Eden before them, leaving the wilderness behind, causing mourning, causing suffering; and so the prophet raises the warning voice, and that voice is to us, if you please, that we might turn unto the Lord and rend our hearts."

When these events occur they will strike fear into the hearts of Jerusalem's inhabitants. The siege against the city will be very severe. The relentless army will overrun the land of Israel. The city walls will be breached and the houses plundered. The phrase "when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded" may simply be a way of saying that the armaments used against the invaders will be ineffectual.

One major theme of the Old Testament prophets is that although there will be a great apostasy in Israel, in the end Israel will be restored to the covenant (the gospel) and become faithful.

The last days are to be characterized by the pouring out of the spirit upon all flesh... That spirit is not only the Holy Ghost but also the Spirit of Christ, that spirit which enlightens every one. Sons and daughters will prophesy - preach, exhort, pray, and instruct so as to benefit the Church. Direct revelation will be given. Young men and women who are representatives of the Lord will be inspired. The gifts of teaching and inspiration will be given to all classes and levels of people. The Lord will call and qualify those he chooses. He will pour out his spirit upon them, and they will be endowed with the gifts necessary to convert sinners and to build up the Church.

Israel, who had been scattered among the nations, will receive a change in her fortunes, and retribution will come upon her enemies in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, literally, the 'Valley of Decision' in Hebrew. Just where this valley is located is not entirely clear. Most likely it is the Kidron, a narrow valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. This passage seems to refer to the final scenes of the battle of Armageddon in Jerusalem, when the great earthquake will strike the massive army and Jesus will appear on the Mount of Olives to deliver Israel.

...The Lord will be the strength fo Israel and will smite her enemies... And then Judah will know that Christ is the Lord their God, for he will stand onthe Mount of Olives, which will cleave in twain and Judah will see him as their delivering Messiah. They will ask about his wounds and learn that he is the Christ, and their mourning will know no bounds, for they will know that this is he for whom they have waited and whom their fathers crucified.

Jerusalem will be pure = no impure people will be permitted to enter or pass through the city.

Because Moroni quoted a part of the book of Joel to Joseph Smith and said it was "not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be", we should carefully study the message and learn of the things we need to do before the great and terrible day of the Lord.

(see Old Testament Study Guide, p. 83 - 86)