Monthly Archives: March 2013

Obedience, Protection, and Blessings of God


This is from a beautiful talk given at church a few weeks ago.  I hope you enjoy it and that you find it as informative and inspiring as I did!  🙂

(It is a bit lengthy, but worth every bit)

I am grateful for this opportunity.  I have prayed for guidance, and I hope that there will be at least one thing in my message today that will touch, teach, or inspire you.  I prayed that the Holy Ghost will be with me as I talk, and with you as you listen.

The subject of my talk today is Obedience, the first law of heaven.  Many of the brilliant insights in my talk have come from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, and from Elder Eldred G. Smith.  I found their teachings to be very wise.

Bruce R. McConkie, who served as an Apostle said, ” Obedience is the first law of heaven, the cornerstone upon which all righteousness and progression rest.”

Joseph B Wirthlin, another apostle, told us, “ Nothing is more important … than obedience to God’s commandments. ”   Every blessing we receive is based on our obedience to that law, upon which it is predicated.

The manual, Preach My Gospel teaches, “”Obedience is an act of faith.  As we obey, we increase in faith, knowledge, wisdom, testimony, protection, and freedom.

“The discipline contained in daily obedience and clean living builds an armor of protection and safety from the temptations that beset us as we proceed through mortality.”

Remember that “it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.”  The way to grow and learn is by overcoming obstacles.

In his address titled Decisions, Eldred G. Smith spoke about the fact that having Satan here to tempt us is an important part of our Heavenly Father’s plan.  He talked about the War in Heaven, when Lucifer (who we know as Satan) and his followers were cast out.  He points out that they were put here on earth to test us.  “Free agency requires that there must be a choice. There must be an opposing force. There is no growth, no movement, no accomplishment, or progress without overcoming an opposing force.”

Lucifer and his agents provide that opposing force, which make free agency possible for us in this life.

The right to make a decision, is ours, and it is the greatest asset we have on earth.  The Lord will not, cannot, and does not intend to take it away from us. He intends for us to use it. He is constantly advising and teaching us how to use it for our own good and further growth; even to attain eternal life.

Elder Smith continues, “”I would think God would be very unjust to put Lucifer here with all his power, to test us and try us, if he did not give us power to resist or overcome him.”  Remember, Lucifer did not come here of his own choosing. He lost that war in heaven and was put here to do a job, and he is doing a good job.

God is just. Lucifer, then, can do on this earth only what he is permitted to do.

Remember the story of Job? (Who, by the way, I regard to be a very real person…)  Elder Smith points out that in each trial Job was subjected to, Lucifer asked for permission to test him. He was given permission to go just so far, one step at a time.  Job lost his wealth on one test, his family on another, his health on another. Then the Lord gave Satan full control over Job, except he could not destroy his soul.

You may have often thought of how hard it would be to endure all that Job did, but have you stopped to consider the other side?  While he started out strong, one step at a time, Job became more strengthened to withstand all.  He grew more capable and more faithful until there was nothing that Satan could do to pull him from the correct path.

If we are to attain a degree of perfection, we too must come to that stage where, if the Lord desired, he could loose Satan on us with his full power, except not to destroy the soul. If we withstand that, then we will have attained a stage of perfection, even exaltation.

As with Job, so with us.  The Lord will not permit Satan to try us beyond our ability to resist or withstand his efforts, if we will accept The Lord’s help.  Many Prophets and church leaders have echoed that same sentiment, and through prayer you can gain testimony in the knowledge that The Lord does not expect anything of you that you cannot do.

Elder Wirthlin taught, “The commandments of the gospel come from a tender, loving Father who wants us to be happy and to return to His presence.  Heavenly Father gives us laws to make us happy, to protect us, and to help us avoid the inescapable pain and misery that always result when we yield to Satan, and give in to temptation. ‘Wickedness never was happiness.’  God is, indeed, our loving Father.  Everything He does is for our good. He knows all things. He knows us much better than we know ourselves, and He knows what is best for us.”

We live in a world filled with evil. Swirling all around us are the whirlwinds of strife and contention, temptation and sin.  Willing obedience provides lasting protection against Satan’s alluring   and   tantalizing   temptations.

Jesus is our perfect example of obedience. Learn to do as He did when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. Even though He was weakened by fasting, His answer was quick and firm: The apostle,Elder Neal A. Maxwell said this of the Savior’s example in resisting temptation: “Jesus noticed the tremendous temptations that came to Him, but He did not process and reprocess them. Instead, He rejected them promptly. If we entertain temptations, soon they begin entertaining us!” 

When Satan comes calling, cast him out as quickly as possible. Do not let temptation even begin to entertain you.

Elder Wirthlin continued, “Even though a loving God has provided a pathway to repentance, you simply do not have the time to waste in transgression. Sin wounds the soul; healing slows progress, and takes time that could have been used in productive service and growth. The Lord needs you faithful and worthy, now and in the future, to combat the forces of Satan that are ravaging the earth.

In John 14:15 Jesus said “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  We show our love for Heavenly Father and Jesus by obeying their commandments. It is by keeping the commandments that we are able to receive all of the blessings of the plan of salvation.

Elder Boyd K. Packer, also an apostle, said: “Obedience to God can be the very highest expression of independence. Just think of giving to him the one thing, the one gift, that he would never take. …

“Obedience—that which God will never take by force—he will accept when freely given. And he will then return to you freedom that you can hardly dream of—the freedom to feel and to know, the freedom to do, and the freedom to be, at least a thousand fold more than we offer him. Strangely enough, the key to freedom is obedience”

As we give to the Lord, we should give in the same manner that we want The Lord to give to us.

In a general conference address, N. Eldon Tanner, who served in the first Presidency, used the subject of tithing to illustrate his point.  He said, “” How would you like the Lord to figure out his blessings on the same basis that you do when you are figuring out your tithing? If you were in deep trouble, had physical or mental illness, or your family were suffering and causing you much concern, would you want him to say, “Well now, just how much can I keep from giving? How close can I figure this blessing?”

If we love our Heavenly Father we will want to obey him. If we find it hard to obey, we should strengthen our love for Him.  Although it may seem like the same answers that we always discuss, there is power and strength by doing things like daily prayer and scripture study because they help us to learn about, and, in turn, love, our Father in Heaven.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, while a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles urged, “Do not let pride stand in your way. The way of the gospel is a simple way. Some of the requirements may appear to you as elementary and unnecessary. Do not spurn them. Humble yourselves and walk in obedience. I promise that the results that follow will be marvelous to behold, and satisfying to experience.”

While Satan would have us believe that Obedience is weakness, or that in will enslave us, that is not the case. Obedience is a great sign of strength and will actually make us free.  Free from sin, guilt and confusion.  Free from worry and doubt.  Free from ignorance, and  free to make intelligent choices.  Free to be advanced in the priesthood.  Free to go on a mission.  Free to marry in the temple.  Free to be blessed and strengthened. Free to return to Heavenly Father.

The Lamanite stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon are an excellent illustration of the blessings that flow from precise obedience. Helaman had formed them into an army of 2,060 young men who fought on the side of the Nephites.  When they were fighting for the Nephites, the Nephites could not lose.

200 of the Stripling Warriors were so badly wounded that they fainted from the loss of blood. When they were carried from the battlefield, it was thought they were dead, but they weren’t. It seemed they could not be killed. They qualified for this mighty miracle by their obedience. Their leader, the prophet Helaman, says of them in Alma 57:21: “They did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness.”

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “”The windows of heaven are open wide to the faithful and righteous; nothing closes them faster than disobedience. …”

The obedience of the Stripling Warriors did not mean that they would never experience tough times.  Hard times are a critical part of this life.  They will happen whether we are obedient, or not.  The question is, would we rather have an easier time dealing with difficulties, and be blessed as we grow; or would we prefer to fight against the help we are offered and not progress as we encounter trials?

Elder Wirthlin shared that by obedience to the laws of the gospel, we can lift ourselves above the quagmire of sin that surrounds us in this world.   “In addition to helping you to become better servants of the Lord, obedience to these laws will help you to be better in everything you undertake in life, whether it be your activity in the Church, your family, education, business, profession, science, athletics, or any other worthwhile endeavor. You will be a better family member, and a better friend. You will enjoy your life more; you will be happier and at peace with yourself because you will know that your life is acceptable to your Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.”

He finished by admonishing that, “To achieve your goals in this mortal life and prove yourselves worthy of eternal blessings, learn to obey. There is no other way. Obedience brings great strength and power into your lives. ”

 

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Memorable Day


English: A monument commemorating the restorat...

English: A monument commemorating the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood, which is located in Oakland Township, Pennsylvania, United States (historically Harmony Township). The monument was placed at the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Site in 1960 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

We had several inches of snow yesterday, so a friend gave me a ride to church.  She said she was glad to do it and that she enjoyed the company as she usually goes alone.  She drives right past my house on her way to church.  She is such a sweet lady and a good friend.

 

Sacrament meeting was wonderful as usual.

 

I must say that sitting in the back as I have the last few weeks certainly gives me a different perspective that sitting up front as we have always done.  I would say that anyone who has a difficult time at church and sits in the back, rather than not going back, try sitting up front.  You don’t get all the noise and commotion, you can actually hear the person talking, you never have to worry about what people are thinking about you because you have almost no idea who is there and who isn’t – especially when you have to hurry to Primary to play the piano, or to class to teach!  🙂

 

In Primary we’re learning a wonderful song, “A Child’s Prayer”.

 

“Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
‘Suffer the children to come to me.’
Father, in prayer I’m coming now to thee.

 

“Pray, he is there;
Speak, he is list’ning.
You are his child;
His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer;
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav’n.”

 

Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry, b. 1938

 

© 1984 by Janice Kapp Perry. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.

 

It’s a beautiful song, and you always feel the spirit of God when you hear – or read – it.  What a wonderful blessing from Heavenly Father, such beautiful, moving songs to stir our souls and help us realize that He is real!

 

After church I was able to watch as my son ordained his son to the office of Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood.  The blessing he gave was that of a loving father who knows his son and what he is facing, what he is capable of, what he can do, what he should be watchful of, and inspired by God.  It was a spiritual and memorable experience, and I’m so glad to have witnessed it.  Afterwards I suggested to my grandson that he take a few minutes to write down what he remembers from the blessing when he gets home.  It can guide and direct him in the days and even years ahead.

 

A memorable day indeed!

 


Two Missionaries of .

Two Missionaries of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hope you had a good week.  It is amazing to me how the weeks fly by.  We’re doing pretty well.

The sign language song went very well.  We did it in the chapel as usual.  Then we went to several of the floors throughout the hospital and did it at the nurses’ stations.  I thought it was interesting what the people’s reactions were.  Most just kind of seemed to go on with their work, and some stopped what they were doing to listen and to watch.  A couple even clapped.  But all 3 of us loved doing it.

Today has been a kind of quiet day, but I’m feeling a bit discombobulated.  As I think about it, I think it’s because some issues came up today that I haven’t been able to resolve but feel they should be resolved quickly.  It can be hard when you have to wait for someone to do something that you need for your boss and you don’t know when they’ll get to it.  So I figure I’ll give them a day or so, then remind them.  Also I was playing a CD on my computer from an LDS group, Mercy River.  I was in the other room and a co-worker asked if we could turn off my music.  It didn’t seem very loud to me, but I guess maybe when she came out to help someone it must have interfered with their talking.  I don’t mind turning it off, but I feel kind of funny about the situation.

I do think that Satan tries to make us feel unsure or uncomfortable about things so that we aren’t as close to each other as we could be.  Questions pop into your mind and if you don’t kick them out, you soon start wondering if things are different than what they really are.  I do think that’s one reason it’s important to talk with people.  To check things out with them, so that misunderstandings can be cleared up as quickly as possible before much damage is done.  And we have to be careful what we buy into. One of the talks in church on Sunday was wonderful.  A lot of it was from Preach My Gospel.  A few things she said really stood out for me: ·         We should talk to everyone.  We never know what seed might be planted [and I’ve found that sometimes others are listening and can glean information too] or what they might be looking for.  It has also occurred to me since then that we can be so much more encouraging and friendly than we sometimes are.  i.e. instead of just walking down the hall ignoring people, or even just smiling and saying hi, I can give a compliment when I notice something good about them, or I can strike up a conversation with the person I’m standing next to, even just a friendly little chat. ·         When others are talking, we should listen to them and not think about what we’ll say back to them.  This is hard, but Heavenly Father has promised that He will give us what we need in the very hour that we need it.  We need to trust Him and let Him work through us. It was a very inspirational talk and helped me want to try a little harder and not give up.  I just love her. Yesterday the April church magazines came, so I brought the Ensign with me to read on the shuttle.  In the first article, by President Eyring, he said something that really made me think, “In the sacramental prayers, God promises to send the Holy Ghost to be with us…I have found in that moment that God can give me what feels like a personal interview.  He brings to my attention what I have done that pleases Him, my need for repentance and forgiveness, and the names and faces of people He would have me serve for Him.”  Wow, that just caught my eye!  And how much more meaningful would the sacrament be if we approached it this way.  I hope to try to do this going forward, and not just during the sacrament.  I think it would be great to do this every day! Well, have a great week!  We love you very much.

 

It’s Not Thursday?


English: The and performing on December 3, 200...

English: The and performing on December 3, 2005, in the under the direction of . The choir is sponsored by , and is named after the , where it has performed for over a hundred years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I got to work this morning and as I was getting my ice water in the cafeteria, I chatted with someone there using the microwave.

 

We exchanged pleasantries.  Then I said, “Well, at least it’s Thursday!”  She looked at me and said, “It’s not Thursday.  Today is Wednesday.”

 

Wow, I was sure it was Thursday.  I guess I lived 2 days’ worth yesterday.  It had been a busy day with performing the song, “His Hands” by Kenneth Cope in sign language, and all.

 

Well, the bright side is I have another day to get things done.  And it was a busy day…

 

I took along a magazine to read on the shuttle ride to work.  “The Friend”, February 2013 issue, put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a magazine for children.  It has wonderful stories, pictures, games, fun facts, and even a couple recipes kids can make with minimal help.  A very interesting tidbit was about Elder Boyd K. Packer, one of the 12 apostles.  He loves drawing, painting, and carving.  It showed a drawing he did when he was 11 of several animals.  And it showed a bird he carved and painted that looks remarkably life-like.  He finds carving relaxing and helps him think about what he’s going to say in his talks.

 

Why am I reading a children’s magazine?  Because I am extremely picky about what I allow into my mind!  So I don’t pick up just any magazine.  It has to meet my standards.  The Friend is encouraging, inspirational, fun, in a word – delightful!  So of course I enjoy it!  I think every family ought to read it.  Its website has lots of ideas and activities too.

 

My computer was still having issues.  IST came down and found the current problem – my archive folder was about full.  😦  So we got it taken care of and I was able to get some work done.  🙂

 

When hubby called, I could hear he was definitely not feeling well.  He’s been to the doctor twice in the last few days.  Breathing problems always seem twice as bad because you can’t catch your breath.  So I stopped at the store for a few things to help him out and hopefully calm him so he doesn’t feel so miserable.  Poor guy.

 

Sunday I heard the Colorado Mormon Chorale will be performing this Friday.  A free concert and they’re a good second to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I mentioned it to someone and she said she’d love to go!  In fact, she’s taking her family with her to have an enjoyable and wonderful evening!

 

Yep, it’s not Thursday, it was a busy, adventurous day, and…

 

Tomorrow is Thursday (almost Friday)!

 

 

Saint Joseph Day


The Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver, C...

The Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver, Colorado, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Today is Saint Joseph Day for Catholics.  It celebrates the life of the foster father of Jesus Christ.  Saint Joseph is the patron saint of workers.  He was a carpenter and taught his trade to Jesus.  At Saint Joseph Hospital they also perform the blessing of the hands.

 

So it seemed only natural to me that the song, “His Hands” by Kenneth Cope would be a perfect fit for Saint Joseph Day.

 

While a truly moving and inspiring song in its own right, the beautiful message it gives is only magnified when done in sign language.

 

Thus began my quest.

 

My friend knows sign language.  She is an expert.  She is skillful, deft, amazing!  I know her from church.  Watching as she signs the hymns was breathtaking.  Her hand movements – smooth, flowing, captivating.  You can feel the Spirit of God just watching her.

 

I wanted to bring those same feelings to the people at Saint Joseph Hospital.

 

I contacted my friend and asked her to teach me “His Hands” in sign language.  She was an excellent teacher, patient, funny, inspirational.  I practiced and practiced and practiced, especially to make my hands move as smoothly as hers.

 

At last it was time.  I asked her if she would like to perform it with me.  She brought her CD and we performed the song in sign language.  I was the amateur, she the professional.  My moves were simpler, mostly the main words.  Hers were more sure and included most of the words.  It was beautiful!  We were able to help those present feel the Spirit of God.

 

That was 3 years ago.

 

Since then, we have been asked to return every year for Saint Joseph Day.  This year I found someone to sing the song for us.  She also played the guitar!  What a wonderful addition to our performance!  And this year we were invited to perform throughout the hospital.  Can there be anything better than that?  Wandering minstrels, roving from floor to floor, sharing this beautiful message with patients, families, and staff alike.

 

Here are the words for your enjoyment:

 

“His hands, tools of creation,
stronger than nations, power without end.
And yet through them, we find our truest friend.
His hands, sermons of kindness,
healing men’s blindness,
halting years of pain.
Children waiting to be held again.

His hands would serve His whole life through,
Showing man what hands might do,
giving, ever giving endlessly.
Each day was filled with selflessness,
and I’ll not rest ’til I make up my hands what they could be,
’til these hands become like those from Galilee.

His hands, lifting a leper,
warming a beggar, calling back the dead,
breaking bread, five thousand fed.
His hands, hushing contention,
pointing to heaven, ever free of sin,
then bidding man to follow Him.

His hands would serve His whole life through,

Showing man what hands might do,
giving, ever giving endlessly.
Each day was filled with selflessness,
and I’ll not rest ’til I make up my hands what they could be,
’til these hands become like those from Galilee.
His hands, clasped in agony,
as He lay pleading, bleeding in the garden
while just moments away other hands betray Him,
out of greed, shameful greed
and then His hands are trembling,
straining to carry the beam that they’ve been led to,
as He stumbles through the streets,
heading towards the hill on which He died.
He would die.
They take His hands, His mighty hands, those gentle hands,
and then they pierce them, they pierce them,
He lets them because of love.
From birth to death was selflessness
and clearly now I see Him with His hands calling to me.
And though I’m not yet as I would be,
He has shown me how I could be.
I will make my hands like those from Galilee.
There is another beautiful song in sign language by Paul McCartney entitled “My Valentine”.  It is performed by Natalie Portman:

 

Paul McCartney’s My Valentine  full URL if needed: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Paul+McCartney+My+Valentine+Lyrics+portman&view=detail&mid=ECBF05155070E9830903ECBF05155070E9830903&first=0&FORM=NVPFVR.

 

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Four leaf clover

Four leaf clover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When our children were young, on St. Patrick’s Day we wore some token green so we didn’t get pinched.  And I might have tried to figure out something green to serve with dinner – usually green jello or maybe green frosted cake.

 

Today for dinner we ended up having corned beef that I roasted like prime rib, over potatoes and carrots, asparagus, pureed broccoli cheese soup, green corn chips, spinach salad, green grapes, kiwi, and green key lime flavored cookies and frosting, and green punch.  It was wonderful and much of it thanks to my daughter!  It was really fun.

 

At their house they woke up to rainbow-colored streamers, green decorations, green marshmallow Lucky Charms for breakfast, and rainbow gummi candy on the cookies with Rolos as the pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.  How cute and creative!  🙂

 

I sent out a few cards that had a picture of a 4-leaf clover.  It reminded me of when I was young and how I’d lay on the lawn at our house, looking for a 4-leaf clover.

 

And then somewhere along the way I heard there was no such thing as a 4-leaf clover.  😦  So I didn’t look anymore.

 

Then, the last time we went to Yellowstone National Park a few years ago, we met some kids who said they found a 4-leaf clover in the field they were just returning from.  I said, “No, there’s no such thing.”  They showed it to me.  It was the real thing!  Then they told me they found a few, and they gave me one.

 

Now I have a 4-leaf clover!!  🙂

 

 

Come With Me To Church!


Knowing that Mom and Dad would probably soon be going to the hospital to have the baby, I offered to take the kids to church with me.  Why bother going to church?  Why worry about it at a time such as this?

That thought crossed my mind as I text messaged the invitation, so as not to disturb this precious yet precarious time in their lives.

Going to church has always been very important to me.  I was raised that way.  You go every week.  You just don’t skip going.  You only miss if you or someone you have to care for is ill.  As a matter of fact, if we went on vacation over the Sabbath, we found the local meetinghouse and attended there.

The benefits of doing this have been astounding.  There is, in fact, a synergetic relationship between going to church and living the commandments of God and the attendant blessings that are bestowed.  And this is because, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21, “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated – and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”

One of the benefits I have been blessed with in my life is a steadfast belief in God, our Father in Heaven; never wavering, no matter what the ever-changing and shifting philosophies of society’s latest craze tried to espouse.  I never had to wonder if what was being proclaimed by the news, media, government or social group was truth or not.  I could weigh it against the steadfast teachings of the gospel as taught in the scriptures, the Prophet of God, and in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and know for myself whether it was true or not.  I could pray to a loving God who blessed every one of His children with the Light of Christ so each of them could know for themselves, if they would humble themselves and ask Him in faith.

Moroni 7:16 in the Book of Mormon says:

“16 For behold, the aSpirit of Christ is given to every bman, that he may cknow good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

 17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do aevil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

 18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the alight by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same bjudgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.”

I invite you too, to “come to church with me” and feel the things I have felt, learn the things I have learned, and receive the blessings I have received!