Monthly Archives: January 2015

A Softened Heart


After the sleepless night last night but then writing about Christ’s light, I felt a great calmness and was able to go back to sleep.  And my day was pretty terrific because of the way I felt.

Even though I was at the doctor’s office with Beloved hubby, hoping we would get some answers about why he feels kind of dizzy sometimes (they will be running some tests as it wasn’t anything real obvious), I was still basking in the light of the revelation I’d received as I prayed the night before.  I saw life through new eyes and was able to let little annoyances pass by without giving them much notice.  What a great feeling!

While there I was reading in the Ensign magazine and ran across a wonderful article that enlightened my soul and further softened my heart.  The Ensign was the November 2013 issue, covering talks given by the General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the General Conference of the Church in October, 2013.  I read a few words by the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, reviewed the Table of Contents, then ran across the article, “Be Meek and Lowly of Heart” by Elder Ulisses Soares.

“Mormon taught that a man ‘cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart. He added that without such attributes, ‘faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart.’

“Meekness is the quality of those who are ‘Godfearing, righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering.’ Those who possess this attribute are willing to follow Jesus Christ, and their temperament is calm, docile, tolerant, and submissive.

“The Apostle Paul taught that meekness is a fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, it can most easily be attained if we ‘live in the Spirit.’ And to live in the Spirit, our lifestyle must reflect righteousness before the Lord.

“As we take Christ’s name upon us, it is expected that we strive to emulate His attributes and change our character to become more like Him each day. The Savior, admonishing His disciples, said, ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.‘ If we ‘come unto Christ, … deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness; … and love God,’ then through Christ’s grace the day will come when we may be perfect in Him.

“‘Christlike attributes are gifts from God. [These attributes] come as [we] use [our] agency righteously. …With a desire to please God, [we have to] recognize [our] weaknesses and be willing and anxious to improve.’

“Meekness is vital for us to become more Christlike. Without it we won’t be able to develop other important virtues. Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness, showing strength, serenity, healthy self-worth, and self-control.

“Meekness was one of the most abundant attributes in the Savior’s life. He Himself taught His disciples, ‘Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.’

“We are blessed to be born with the seed of meekness in our hearts. We need to understand that it is not possible to grow and develop that seed in the twinkling of an eye but rather through the process of time. Christ asks us to ‘take up [our] cross daily, meaning that it must be a constant focus and desire.

“President Lorenzo Snow, the fifth prophet of our dispensation, taught, ‘It is our duty to try to be perfect, … to improve each day, and look upon our course last week and do things better this week; do things better today than we did them yesterday. So the first step to becoming meek is to improve day by day. Each day we need to try to be better than the previous as we move forward through this process.

“President Snow added:

“’We have our little follies and our weaknesses; we should try to overcome them as fast as possible, and … should [instill] this feeling in the hearts of our children … that they may learn to [behave] properly before Him under all circumstances.

“’If the husband can live with his wife one day without quarrelling or without treating anyone unkindly or without grieving the Spirit of God … he is so far perfect. Then let him try to be the same the next day. But supposing he should fail in this his next day’s attempt, that is no reason why he should not succeed in doing so the third day.’

“Upon acknowledging our dedication and perseverance, the Lord will give us that which we are not able to attain due to our imperfections and human weaknesses.

“Another important step to becoming meek is learning how to control our temper. Because the natural man dwells within each one of us and because we live in a world full of pressure, controlling our temper may become one of the challenges in our lives. Think for a few seconds how you react when someone does not comply with your desires the moment you want them to. What about when people disagree with your ideas, even though you are absolutely sure that they represent the proper solution to a problem? What is your response when someone offends you, critiques your efforts, or is simply unkind because he or she is in a bad mood? At these moments and in other difficult situations, we must learn to control our temper and convey our feelings with patience and gentle persuasion.”

You can read the article in its entirety at https://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/11/saturday-morning-session/be-meek-and-lowly-of-heart?lang=eng.

This article gave me such great feelings of hope and closeness to Heavenly Father!  As I read I was filled with the Spirit of God and my heart and soul were softened.  My eyes misted as I felt the love of our Father in Heaven.  We are His children and He wants what is best for us!  He gives us these teachings, and other good things in life to help us to grow, to learn to become like Him, and to one day return to Him!

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Getting Past Worry


Beloved hubby was having a rough night and I ended up letting all the cares and concerns of life drive sleep from me.  As one worry after another marched across the stage of my mind, causing me greater and greater anxiety, I found myself feeling that life is running away with me and I have no control any more.

As I contemplated, and prayed, to know what to do about this situation, finally the thought came that I need to count my blessings.

Counting your blessings has wonderful analgesic properties.  It raises you out of the depths of self-pity, the woes of helplessness, the darkness of hopelessness and self-centeredness, and brings you back into the light.

Light.

The word itself feels light and bright.  It brings to mind vision, the ability to see, to see more clearly.  It is accompanied by the thought, “The Light of Christ”.

Suddenly I am feeling more hopeful, more enlightened.  Even before I begin the count of blessings that I have I have become more positive!  Life is not so gloomy anymore.  Worry has now all but vanished from me.

I know not to let worry overcome me, and I think of a story I heard about the apostles feeling greatly distressed, standing in a small circle with their heads down, feeling the weight of their doubts and fears, not realizing that if they were to look up they would see their Savior standing there over them trying to bless and help them, wanting to alleviate their pain and suffering if they would but turn to Him.

When things seem dark and foreboding and we can see no way out, counting our blessings is a good beginning to let the light of Christ back into our lives and to chase those negative thoughts off the stage of our mind.

Light dispels darkness, and hope overcomes fear.  🙂

Christ’s Atonement and Grace


My mother sent me a beautiful article about Christ’s atonement and grace.  It is entitled, His Grace is Sufficient, and was given by Brad Wilcox in a devotional at Brigham Young University on July 12, 2011.

In his talk, Brother Wilcox (what we members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call each other since we are all children of God) explains that rather than looking at the atonement and grace as Jesus making up the difference after all we can do, it is much more akin to a mother providing music lessons to her child.

The mother pays the piano teacher, she pays the debt in full.  So she can ask for something from her child.  What does she ask for?

That the child practice.

Does the child’s practice pay the teacher?

Does the child’s practice pay back the mother?

No to both.

Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for the wonderful gift his mother provided.  It is how the child takes advantage of the opportunity his mother is giving him to live his life on a higher level.

And the mother doesn’t receive happiness by getting repaid for the lessons, but by watching her gift being used, to see her child improve his life.

If the child complains that her requirement to practice is unreasonable and too difficult, it may be because he doesn’t see the big picture the same way that she does, how much better his life could be if he chooses to live on a higher level.

It is the same with Jesus Christ.  He paid for our sins, satisfying the demands of justice.  Therefore He gives us His requirements – to follow Him and keep His commandments.  He invites us to live on a higher level.

If we complain that His requirements are unreasonable and too difficult, it may be that we do not see the big picture in the same way that Christ does, how much better our lives could be if we choose to live on a higher level.  We have not comprehended what He is trying to make of us!

We try and try to follow His commandments – not as a punishment nor even as payment for what He suffered for us.  The purpose of His rules, His requirements, is to change us, to bring us to a higher level.

We are not earning our way into heaven; we are learning heaven.  We are preparing for heaven, practicing for it.

The purpose of grace is to change us.  Remember not only what Jesus saved us from, but also what He saved us for – to be like Him and to enjoy all the blessings and happiness that He has!