Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Personal Revelation

I have come to know for myself that the Heavens are not closed. I'm grateful for thoughts, insights, promptings, feelings, and pricks of conscience that help me in my daily travels. I'm deeply thankful that there is an All-Wise Being and Creator who knows the beginning from the end, who is never more than a thought or a prayer away from me. He is omniscient and perfect and, as such, can give me perfect ideas, perfect answers to prayers, perfect insights and perfect wisdom for where-ever I am on the road of my life.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Prayer

Nothing has meant more to me in this life than to know that I am not alone. I know that my Father in Heaven hears my prayers (silent and vocal) and answers them. Sometimes the answers come through something I read in the scriptures or from a friend, sometimes they are felt through the words of a hymn or song, oftimes they appear in the form of a thought or a feeling or a prompting.

As children of a loving God --- we are not left to figure things out alone. He has provided scriptures and revelation to help us in our day. He is aware of us, mindful of us and more interested in our well-being than we are. He is perfectly loving and merciful and kind and has not left us to walk the road alone.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Trust in Spirit which leadeth to good

A favorite scripture says:

"And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good --- yea to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit." (see Doctrine and Covenants 11:12-14 and Galatians 6:2,9)

It's a continual quest to leave my comfort zone and trust in a higher power yet it's something that I seek for and strive for daily for I know that He will bless me beyond my ability to yet see.

In my morning prayers I always ask for His spirit to be with me -- and then, throughout the day I try to follow all those feelings and promptings. As I have done so, I have been blessed, my load lightened, my spirit comforted, and I have been led to do good.

He knows what we can become and will bless us to be able to do so if we trust in His spirit which leads to that.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Where Did I Come From?

Where Did I come from?
Why Am I here (on earth)?
Where am I going after this life?

These are 3 basic yet major life questions that each of us want to know.

They are best answered here:
http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/

Monday, June 16, 2008

Peace

"Many people think of peace as the absence of war. But we can feel peace even in times of war, and we can lack peace even when no war is raging. The mere absence of conflict is not enough to bring peace to our hearts. Peace comes through the gospel—through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the ministration of the Holy Ghost, and our own righteousness, sincere repentance, and diligent service. " lds.org

We live in uncertain times. Though wars of all kinds rage around us we can find peace within. The Savior said: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:26–27).

Peace is to be found within though outwardly trouble and turmoil abound. We do not have to partake of that. We can arm ourselves with God's protection:

"Take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand. Stand, therefore, . . .
. . . your loins girt about with truth,
. . . breastplate of righteousness
. . . shield of faith
. . . helmet of salvation
. . . sword of my spirit."
(Doctrine and Covenants 27:15-18)

"War and Peace"
http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=f318118dd536c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=a00fee9ba42fe010VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1

"Great Shall Be the Peace of thy Children"
http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=f318118dd536c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=a00fee9ba42fe010VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Father's Day. . .

This Sunday we will honor Fathers. That is a good and noble thing to do. Most fathers appreciate expressions of gratitude for all they do and any human kindness extended to them by way of word or deed. Fatherhood is a noble and sacred calling and one that we ought to understand better.

In "The Family, A Proclamation to the World" we read:

"All human beings -- male and female -- are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

...The First Commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife.

...Husband and Wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.

...Children are entitled to.....be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.

...By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families......Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation......"

These holy words are comforting, strengthening and empowering. When we know our roles and what is expected of us we are able to choose those paths.

In our day there are many good fathers; many good men who strive to do all that is required of them. We are grateful for their strength and examples. There are many others who forsake family and children -- who leave trails of heartache and grief behind them.

We live in a day where many people don't have ideal situations. The Father of us all knows the longings of our heart and the areas in which we lack. He is full of mercy and truth and will someday bless us with all the righteous longings of our heart if we remain faithful to what he has asked us to do in the meantime.

For those of you who have blessed with good fathers in your homes -- in the past or currently -- I hope that you will take this time this weekend to thank them. You are truly blessed.

For those of you who don't, I hope that you will turn to the Greatest Father of all who knows all, understands every feeling of your soul, and is the most Merciful Being we can comprehend. He epitomizes love, charity, tenderness, compassion, kindness and mercy. He is there for us when no one else may be. He is the One who has given all the other fathers the correct example to follow. He is One who loves our children --- and us --- more than we do. He is the One who can comfort us when there is not a father in the home to do so.

From personal experience I know that He is there. I know that He knows all the longings of my heart and soul. I know that He knows all the longings of my children as well and their desire to have an intact family like 'everyone' else. Someday that desire will come true as they remain close to Him and obey His commandments and hearken to His will. There is no doubt of that.

Fatherhood is a noble and beautiful calling. As I have been taught, we are responsible for these things and in this order:
1. Our own spiritual well-being
2. Well-being of spouse
3. Children
4. Church
5. Profession or School
6. Civic

As we maintain these in their proper order there is much more of peace and harmony in the home. Children feel safe and secure and spousal support is mutual. When we rearrange the order of this -- there is dis-order, dis-harmony and .....dis-content.

I have learned much from my own father and grandfather. Besides example, teachings, patience and fortitude is a favorite hymn that has been passed down from both of them. It is called "Love At Home". It states "There is beauty all around when there's love at home; there is joy in every sound when there's love at home."
http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Curriculum/music.htm/hymns.htm/special%20topics.htm/294%20love%20at%20home.htm#JD_Hymns.294
If you've experienced that --- you know it is true. And, if you long for it, you long for something worthy and good.

In our quest to have more of that in our home, I have found that some things contribute to it and others take away. Wholesome music, wholesome recreation, family prayer and family home evening, all make home a better place. Repentance and Forgiveness heal wounds and soften hearts.

Where there is a righteous father in the home -- there is more security and stability, love and laughter, peace and contentment. There is an example to the children of how to treat mother and how to deal with 'grown-up' issues as they come along. There is an example of work and testimony, education and humility. All the things that a father is --- are examples to the rising generation and all with whom he comes in contact.

We are all threads of a tapestry being woven. The place of a father is vital to it's construction, beauty and long-lastingness!

As we recognize fathers for all they do, may we continue to learn from the Father of us all. He will help and guide us as we raise His spiritual offspring. We are not asked to do so alone. (John 14:18 ..."I will come to you")

"O My Father"
Hymn 292

1. O my Father, thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain thy presence
And again behold thy face?
In thy holy habitation,
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near thy side?

2. For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, “You’re a stranger here,”
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

3. I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.

4. When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I’ve completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.

Text: Eliza R. Snow, 1804–1887
Music: James McGranahan, 1840–1907
Romans 8:16–17
Acts 17:28–29 (22–31)

Proclamation on the Family

One of the greatest documents of our day is called "The Family, A Proclamation to the World." It was penned by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have a large framed copy hanging on my wall and another copy next to my scriptures. The document is a powerful commentary on the family and the Lord's will for such. I hope that you will read and ponder on it's message.

As the world strays farther from the truth, we hope to hold fast to the word of God as it is the only thing that will lead us to joy and happiness in the end.

The truths of God are not outdated as some would suggest. The Lord provides current revelation for our current needs. This is one of the greatest differences in beliefs in my church and other churches. How grateful I am for the knowledge that God speaks to us, His beloved children, as we need Him to. He truly is a loving and merciful God.

"The Family; A Proclamation to the World"
http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=e1fa5f74db46c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=1aba862384d20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1&contentLocale=0

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Parenting

Parenting is one of the most difficult life challenges -- and can be the most rewarding as well. If things were easy we wouldn't stretch and grow and ...... deepen our roots. I believe that we turn inward and upward when we don't have easy answers. In that way, we become more open to receiving heavenly light and truth that we might not otherwise seek.

Here is a very beautiful talk by Elder James E. Faust (who has since passed on). It is a good reminder of what matters most and how we can strengthen our families amidst the decay around us.

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=2b862ee01e31c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

Women in the Church

Women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are part of a world-wide organization of sisterhood who lead, serve, teach, and nurture. We know that the greatest work we will do is within the walls of our own homes. Yet, we are also called upon to provide relief for those around the globe who are in need.

Recently, the President of our organization spoke to us at a bi-annual world-wide Conference for the church. Her talk entitled "What Latter-Day Saint Women Do Best: Stand Strong and Immovable" was a powerful commentary of what we are all striving to do and to become.

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=55281b3e50cf5110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1

I consider it to be one of the greatest blessings in my life to have righteous leaders who are providing us instruction from the Lord.

Scouting and Duty to God

In the church, Young Men ages 12 - 18 are encouraged to participate fully in scouting, earn their Eagle Scout and participate in Duty to God -- a partner in scouting. My son is working towards these goals which are truly strengthening him educationally, spiritually, morally, physically and socially.

Young men are instructed and strive to:

1. Keep the commandments of God.
2. Live high standards or moral and personal cleanliness and worthiness.
3. Have daily personal prayer.
4. Read the scriptures.
5. Attend religious classes.
6. Attend regular church meetings.
7. Obey a law of health (called The Word Of Wisdom)
8. Pay a full tithe.
9. Prepare the sacrament.
10. Serve others and obeying church leaders.

They are also instructed to “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” D&C 88:118

Young Women's Theme

I have a teenage daughter. This is the theme that the church espouses for all young women. Every Sunday the girls' repeat these things as a group. There is strength in doing so and it helps to empower and fortify them. It also teaches about and reminds them of who they really are.

We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will "stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places" (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:

Faith
Divine Nature
Individual Worth
Knowledge
Choice and Accountability
Good Works,
and Integrity.

We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.