Friday, December 21, 2012

Meaning of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

When a gift has all three
—practical utility, personal value, and symbolic meaning—
it may be the most thoughtful and appreciated gift of all.

From the New Era magazine we read a wonderful article about the symbolic meaning of the precious gifts of the three wise men; gold, frankincense and myrrh.  These were not just any gifts; they had deep significance and are an example of how we may want to consider gift-giving.

As we focus on giving things of greater value; such as love and kindness, compassion and forgiveness, we can lift and strengthen one another as the Savior would have us do.  Then, the season will have deeper meaning for us as well.

 
"Many people believe that it’s the thought that counts when it comes to gift giving. Maybe that’s because the thought behind the gift makes it more than just a useful or interesting object—it makes the gift a symbol of the gift-giver’s love or consideration for the recipient. Some gifts also mean more than the thought behind the gift; these kinds of gifts have a widely accepted symbolism that adds even more significance. When a gift has all three—practical utility, personal value, and symbolic meaning—it may be the most thoughtful and appreciated gift of all.

"Consider the thought behind the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh that the Wise Men gave to the Christ child (see Matthew 2:11). The Bible doesn’t say why the Wise Men brought these particular gifts, but all three gifts had practical value and perhaps symbolic meaning for the Son of God and His earthly parents.   

"Gold:
Practical use: For a young couple who would soon have the expense of traveling to Egypt to avoid the wrath of Herod, the gold would be an invaluable gift.
Symbolic meaning: Gold is the typical gift for kings (see 1 Kings 9:14, 28) because it symbolizes kingship and royalty—a fitting gift for the “King of kings” (1 Timothy 6:15).


"Frankincense:
Practical useAside from its considerable monetary value, frankincense was used as a sweet-smelling incense and perfume. 
Symbolic meaning: Frankincense comes from a sweet tree resin and was used in priesthood ordinances, in burnt offerings (see Leviticus 2:1), and in oil for anointing priests. Thus, it can represent the Lord’s priesthood and His role as the Lamb of God to be sacrificed on our behalf (see John 1:29).   
 
"Myrrh 
Practical use:  Myrrh a bitter oil from a tree resin, was also economically valuable but probably more beneficial to Mary and Joseph for its medicinal uses.
Symbolic meaning: In the New Testament, myrrh is usually associated with embalming and burial because of its preservative qualities (see John 19:39–40). Myrrh’s medicinal uses can symbolize Christ’s role as the Master Healer, and its use in burials can symbolize “the bitter cup” He would drink when He suffered for our sins (see D&C 19:18–19)."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Are You 'Ready' for Christmas?

I've sometimes been asked by well-meaning friends 'are you ready for Christmas?' and...I understand that they are usually asking "do you have all your shopping done, neighbor gifts delivered and preparations for Christmas morning made?"

I'm sure that I've asked that question of others' in the past.  But, I try not to do so anymore as, over the years, I've come to feel much differently about the sacredness of the season and how we can better spend our time learning and listening and feeling the hope and joy this time of year can bring.  I know that as I'm tuned-in to the beauties around me and the reason I celebrate the birth and life of Christ, I have found greater peace and calmness at this time of year.

In the 'hustle and bustle' of the world, including crowd chaos, long lines, frantic shoppers, and stressed families, we've often lost the peace and sacred meaning of the season.  Wishing to do well, people may overspend and purchase things that aren't even really needed or wanted.  Is that something that would be pleasing to the Lord?  Is there something better that could replace those 'expectations' or prideful deceptions we've come to believe are necessary?  Is that what Christmas is really all about?

I tend to believe not.  I think we've often lost many of the sweet and simple pleasures that this season could bring if we'd allow it.  Snow capped mountains, blue skies, bundled-up children, savory smells from kitchen warmth, hugs of friends and family, reading a book on a comfy chair or by the fireplace, Christmas caroling around the neighborhood, concerts or driving around looking at lights, decorating a gingerbread house, watching cute movies with the family, writing to a missionary or soldier or lonely family member, visiting with someone in need etc.  There are so many simple things we can do to lift and bless others' as we focus on the Lord's teachings of caring for one another and living in peace.  There are so many around us who are in need.  By keeping too busy - we often neglect those who could use kindness the most.

For years I've watched family members and friends stress about getting all the Christmas cards out on time and making and delivering neighbor gifts.  I know they mean well, but, I've come to feel that even in some of those 'traditions' we've lost some of the reason we do it.  Is it possible to 'rethink' some of the things that cause us to feel overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and simplify in such a way that would bless us and others'?  

Could we do something totally different that would 'let-go' of expectations and downsize enough to hear the whisperings of the Spirit.  Are all past traditions really necessary?  Do they bring us more peace or do they take away from that which we seek?

In thinking about the busy traditions we may want to ask ourselves if what we're doing is for the best highest good of all involved.  Will it bring us closer to others' or separate us more? (consider the bragging kinds of Christmas cards that tend to divide rather than bless and uplift).  Will these traditions or things we're doing help us keep the commandments, stay out of debt, draw closer to the Lord, have peace in our homes and basically allow us to enjoy the beautiful spirit of the season.

My hope is that we'll all seek to simplify; that we'll focus on things that bring peace, unity, comfort, light and good cheer, and that we'll serve others' in small ways without getting stressed, and that we'll turn our hearts to the Savior; the Light of the World, who will help us do those things.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Favorite Messages From General Conference

I love LDS General Conference.  It is my favorite time of year and I am often saddened when it ends.  But, I have plenty of notes that will remind me of the personalized messages I received and how I can do better to be closer to the Lord Jesus Christ, be an example of the believers, and have his guidance in my daily endeavors.
LDS General Conference - broadcast from Salt Lake City, Utah

A few of the thoughts that blessed me this year will be written down as I received them.  Sometimes the speaker says one thing and the Spirit personalizes it for us.  That was the case with me.  Here are only a few of the things that blessed my life this past weekend from Church leaders; simple principles but carried deep into the heart.

- The human spirit yearns for enlightenment.  A desire to help one another, the brotherhood of man.
- The Savior gave his time and love.  He wasn't busy bustling about with 'to do' list.
"Living Water' by Simon Dewey
- Make treasured memories.
- Enjoy the journey.
- 'Ladder of success' barely amounts to 1 step in eternal scheme.
- We are capable of so much more.
- A 'disciple' is in pursuit of holiness and happiness; be our best and happiest self. (that comes from repentance and forgiveness etc.)
- Lay up treasures in Heaven.
- Be faithful to our covenants.
- We pray 'Thy will be done' - not our own.  Great blessings as we truly submit ourselves to His will,.
- Spiritual safety in principles and ordinances, faith and obedience.
- Have a broken heart and contrite spirit.  Be humble, submissive, childlike in our trust and faith.
- God will never 'hide' from His faithful servants.
- Pray for those who are leading this church.  They pray for us.  They need our faith and prayers. (We are blessed as we pray for them.)
-Are we doing this for the Savior or for ourselves?
- Is our service evidence of our discipleship?
- Iniquity hampers our ability to see and feel with our hearts; the things of Christ.
- We are washed clean through the the blood of Christ.  That is the light we offer in darkness.  Faith and Hope in the Savior.
- Does the journey seem long?  Take His hand and He will lead you to heights that are new.
"The Lost Lamb" by Del Parson
- Men are that they might have Joy.   (it is a product of righteous living)
- Never postpone a prompting.
- Love the Lord with ALL our heart, might, mind and soul.  Be loyal.  Defend Truth.
- The more we act in impressions  - the more He'll entrust to us His errands.
- Our prayers ARE heard and answered.
- Receive knowledge not from flesh and blood - but from Heavenly Father.
- Repent.  Forgive others.
- No concern of ours is too insignificant.  The Lord is in the details of our lives.  There are no coincidences.
- He wants to help us.  He wants to direct us.  May we be aware of His blessings in our lives.
- Take His name upon us (through baptism and other ordinances and covenants)
- In Christ - our very nature's change.
- The Savior will make us equal to His work.  He will bless us with gifts and talents to do so.
- Set aside things that don't matter
- The Savior valued everyone.  He was kind and gentle to all.
- That which is of God is light.
- Do things of eternal value.
- Every young man should prepare to serve a mission. Duty. Powerful ambassadors for the Lord. Will shape destiny of missionary and his future family.
- Go and teach all nations.
- Help is given from both sides of the veil.
- Faith is a principle of Power.
- He is a God of miracles.
- Many beauties of this mortal journey.
- Simple daily acts of service.  The Lord knows our efforts to serve.
Jesus with the little Children
- Pray in earnest.
- The well-being of children.  Care for and protect them. They need others' to speak for them.
- Clear, simple family rules, FHE, scripture study, economics, tithing etc.
- Perfection in Temple construction - as example for our lives.
- Nurture Faith.
- Be anchored to the Rock of our Redeemer.
- What is essential is seen only with the heart.
- Prosperity and Riches - dangerous and difficult to overcome.
- It is always a great Sacrament meeting if the Sacrament is the Center of our meeting.
- A mighty change of heart - means we have no more disposition to do evil but to do good continually.
- As many as were truly 'converted' never did fall away.
- Be firm and steadfast in Faith.
- Our motives, thoughts, deeds become aligned with God.
- Surrender our weapons (sins, rebellion, pride, selfishness etc.)
- Repent now if we have rebellion
- Take messages into our hearts and lives.
- Be of Good Cheer.  He will help us. Learn to grow.
- Consider the blessings.  Don't dwell on the negative.
- Accept His sacrifice.




Saturday, August 18, 2012

Let Your Light So Shine - Even if Your Candle is Broken

I have a broken birthday candle on my kitchen window sill - and it's not clutter.

Since my desire is to 'simplify' I continually seek to let go of things and reduce my work load through prayer and guidance as to my time and energies.  As you might guess - I have many opportunities to practice this and to learn from it through daily challenges and all the activities and growing stages of raising a family.

This past week I have attended 'Education Week' at BYU in Provo, Utah.  My sweet mother offered tickets for my children and me - as a 'vacation' (which we haven't had in years.)  It was an appreciated offer and we were very grateful to be able to go.

On Tuesday, I attended a class taught by a dear, new friend, who talked about 'let your light so shine - that others' may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'  She offered little candles for each of us - as a reminder of that light and the fact that as we light the candles for others' - we are not diminished.

I put my little blue candle in my 'Hawaii' bag.  Then, I hauled my bag around all week.

This morning as I was cleaning it out - and sorting through things to transfer back to my purse - I found my candle.  It reminded me of the lesson and touched my heart.  I wanted to keep the candle.  But, it was broken in the middle.

Immediately, as I pondered on the significance of that, I was taught a lesson that sunk deep into my soul.  We are all 'broken' in some way or another.  But, the wick isn't.  Our lights can still shine - because the light isn't from us - it's from a Greater Source.  Our 'outer shells' may be hurting or aging or not looking as fresh as we'd like them to.  But, our inner light isn't beholden to our outward appearance.  The Light that shines from within us - comes from an unbroken Source.  He is the Light.  He can Shine through us.  He is the Source of all power and truth.  He is the Prince of Peace.

My thought for today is that God can fix broken things.  And the most important 'things' he fixes (and enlightens) are the parts inside of us.  Our outer candle stick may be broken - but our inner wick doesn't have to be dimmed by that.  In fact, probably a challenging outer-shell helps our inner light to shine even more brightly and effectively. 

We may need a patch on our outer shell to keep it erect - but, even without that - our inner light can glow.

“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14–16).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Peace I Leave With You

When the Savior walked the earth - he walked in peace.  The sincere in heart around Him were able to feel of that as well as His pure love and gentle kindness.

When He was leaving he told his sincere followers that He would leave His peace with them.  We have that same opportunity.

Peace comes from knowing Him and keeping His commandments.  He showed us the way in ALL things.  He did what he did out of pure love for us and for Our Father.

In this day where peace has been generally taken from the earth - we are blessed to know that we can still have it in our hearts and homes.  The Spirit will guide us in all paths of righteousness.  If we heed all of those promptings - peace will be the result.

He desires to help us simplify our lives, simplify our work loads, simplify our family relationships as well as our home environments.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Homosexuality - How it's Affecting Us

Today, on "Women of Light" -  I blogged about Christ being an Anchor to our Souls - and how we need not fear if we put our Trust in Him, Keep His Commandments, and Heed Prophetic Counsel specific to our day and age. 

Here, today, I am going to address the issue of Homosexuality and How it's affecting us at present.  I hope for no unkind responses to this post - but...for people to ponder on what I've written.  I don't seek contention - nor do I write things for that purpose.  I seek peace and wisdom and hope to share the same. 

Over the weekend I was aware of a parade in downtown Salt Lake City in support of the Homosexual movement.  Today I wanted to address that topic from a personal standpoint of my own background and understanding.  Like some of you - this issue has affected me and my children personally.  Because of that - I studied much, attended a support group for a year with my former spouse, pondered books and experiences of others', sought Prophetic wisdom as well as Scriptural understanding and....turned to the Lord for enlightenment and truth.   I needed true answers - not the philosophies of men.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When Things Seem 'UnFair"

Recently I've had occasion to seek the Lord in deep and sincere prayer concerning an issue of 'unfairness' that has really affected me; more-so than perhaps ever before in my life.

Painting by Walter Rane
I realize that as we come closer to the Lord our joys and understanding will be greater and that the law of opposition means that our sorrows and trials will become stronger and deeper.  I believe that this is part of the refining process.  And, today for me, it has been very painful.

I won't share the exact issue as it really won't mean anything to most of you anyway.  What I will say is that there are things in life that are 'unfair' but, as I have learned, all will stand accountable for their actions, their promptings, the way they treated others' and what they did with their wealth/stewardship. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

VIRTUE is BEAUTIFUL

I've had some difficult times in my life.  Because of those I've turned to the Lord a lot.  He has blessed and strengthened me and...because of my righteous desires, blessed me with some special and sacred spiritual gifts.  I prize those more highly than life itself.

One of the spiritual gifts to which we can all aspire is the gift of discernment.  It's multifaceted and can mean several things.  This past year I have come to know more surely how it can mean the discerning of light within a person.

Light within a person is the most beautiful thing there is.  Light emminates from the Lord as a result of putting Him first and living a life of virtue.  VIRTUE is BEAUTIFUL.  In fact, it's the only thing of TRUE beauty and results in peace of mind, loveliness and hope. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Today's Miracles and...how the Lord works in our behalf

We recently moved to a new location a few miles from our previous one.  We were in a wonderful little neighborhood with many elderly couples.  It was one of the best places we have lived and we LOVED our neighbors.  (Particularly dear, sweet, 87 yr. old Naoma who told me one day that if she needed gardening helps she'd just 'go ask google'.)  :)

We were led to live there by some miracles and, though small, it was cozy and comfortable, clean and safe for us.  That was a blessing.

But, last December, a gal approached me with a request.  Her parents lived behind us and were very ill.  She wondered if we'd consider moving out and selling our rental contract to her so that she and her husband could come and care for her parents in their last months of life.  I was a bit taken-back by this unexpected inquiry but told her that I would ponder on it.  It would be our 12th move in 12 years.  I was tired (as were my 3 teenagers) but....I told her that I would certainly ponder on it.  Sure enough, as I prayed I had a peace that this is what we were to do and that somehow we'd be okay as well.  The Lord was mindful of all of them and would also care for us if we did as prompted.

Living the Law of Consecration - No Poor Among Us

What is the Law of Consecration and and why should we live it?
In my studies over the years I've come to really believe that the Lord wants to provide us with 'sufficient for our needs'.  More than that is to be used to care for the poor and the needy.  We are 'on trial' as to what we will do with our resources.  Will we use them for self-gratification or as the Lord would have us; to bless those in need, to comfort the weary, to strengthen the feeble knees?

I'm grateful for things I've learned from personal challenges which have made me more aware and sensitive to the needs of others'.  I'm also become very thankful for even the smallest kindnesses in my behalf; the use of of a neighbors' truck to move, a 87 yr. old widowed-neighbor who brought over can of soup and package of crackers to provide a quick lunch during that move, a friend who would text with kind words of support and encouragement when I was completely exhausted.  These are the things that made a difference and these are the things that have mattered most to me in life.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Divine Role of Women

In this day where womanhood and motherhood are often demeaned by those who do not understand the principles and doctrine behind the message, it is for us, women of the church, to stand-up and let our beliefs and understanding be known.

This beautiful message from sister Marianne C. Sharp is a great reminder of all that is noble and good about being a woman in these latter-days.  She teaches about the Divine Role of Woman and what that actually entails.


Yes, these are true principles.  And, yes, we are to be helpmates to our husbands if we have them,

Monday, April 16, 2012

How the Spirit Works...

Over the weekend I attended the funeral of a sweet uncle.  He was 92 at his passing and went peacefully - yet after a stroke and some suffering.  Funerals often remind us of what matters most, why we are here, what we're to learn and do, and what we desire for our next stage of existence.

It's at times like this that we rely upon the the promptings and comfort of the Spirit to guide and direct our paths.  We must also teach our children, and others', how the Spirit actually works.

In John 14 we read;
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
 27 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.
and...John 13:
 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Things of My Soul

Who of us online wants to be criticized, ridiculed and/or mocked for our beliefs?  Do we dare place ourselves 'out there' to be condemned or persecuted for sharing the things of our heart and soul?  Would it be better to just keep things to ourselves and not to say anything? 

I used to lean more toward the latter.  Not because I didn't 'dare' - rather because I didn't want to be part of the controversial and negative conversation.  I've had quite a few different blogs over the years for different reasons; preparedness, homeschooling, home-management and organization etc.  I've kept things quite reserved and without much fanfare.  Among a few personal things - I've shared some good quotes and messages from others' and included links to great resources and materials.

But, the internet is being filled with some 'not-so-good' things by those who don't seem to mind contention.  It's time that I stand-up more often and peacefully defend some of the things that I believe to be true.  It's the season to defend my beliefs of the church which I hold sacred and which are dear to me.  It's past time for fear and is the moment for those of us in the background to be willing to take to the front-lines.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Womanhood, Motherhoood, Strengthening Homes and Families

The World Seeks to Undermine Womanhood and Motherhood

"Mothers and daughters play a critical role in helping each other explore their infinite possibilities, despite the undermining influences of a world in which womanhood and motherhood are being corrupted and manipulated."  M. Russell Ballard, "Mothers and Daughters," Ensign, May 2010, 18