Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
What a wonderful idea... We all gain from Rebecca's gift, the inspiration along with thinking...what would I put in my box for Rebecca if I were chosen? I think it would be fun to just start a round-robin where each of us made little boxes each day...alas the postage might become to expensive for some of us. I think the idea, tho, could be incorporated into a Ward as an ongoing family activity. Thank you Rebecca! I shall check for inspiration each day! What a blessing you are!
Rebecca's Blog: Surprise In A Box!
I decided to share a picture today of Cracker Creek, near Bourne, OR. I am so blessed to have such beauty all around me. It goes well with my White Bison meditation and prayer for the day:
"Nature is the storehouse of potential life of future generations and is sacred."
--Audrey Shenandoah, ONONDAGA Tribe
We need to honor and respect our Mother Earth. She is the source of all life. The sun shines life to the earth, then the earth produces life in all forms and in a balanced way. Everything is here to serve everything else. If we interrupt the flow in any way, we leave nothing for the future generations. Before every decision is made, we should ask, and answer, a final question, "If we do this, what will be the effects on the seventh generation? What will we cause our children to live with?" We need to have respect and love for all things and for all people. We need to do this for ourselves and for all the children still unborn.
My Creator, let me look at nature today and let me have the highest respect for all the things I see. All the two legged, the four legged, the winged ones, the plants, the water, the air, the Mother Earth. Let me have respect for myself.
In the name of Jesus Christ I pray,
Monday, August 11, 2008
I am not going to make this blog another tool to beat myself up. It's a tool for me to be closer to Christ. A tool for meditation and reflection. A place to be honest and open. A place to just be me.
I was searching for words to write about time this morning, when I came across this post at Hieng to Kolab.
I was 22 years old. I was pregnant with my third daughter. I was a convert to the Church and my 1 year membership anniversary had passed. I was so excited about going to the temple to be sealed to my husband. I had 2 daughters from a previous marriage and my husband, a returned missionary, had adopted them so we could have them sealed to us for all time and eternity. Life was so wonderful. I was ecstatic.
My husband had told me a little about the Temple ceremony, but not much. My R.S. President had told me the same thing my husband did, which was mainly about the garments and care. Basically, don't ever let anyone see them and don't let them touch the floor. If they wear out or you get blood stains on them, burn them, don't just throw them away.
We went to the Logan Temple. ( **The sessions there were still live, as were the sessions at the Salt Lake Temple. I am so glad I got to see that, now.) I was so confused. No one told me about the anointing, and I was so confused that a Sister could perform a Priesthood Ordinance.
So that started out fro me to be a totally freaked out, completely confusing, horrible day that should have been the most important day of my life. I was crying once I got to the Celestial room, but they weren't happy tears. I didn't say anything...I let everyone think they were happy tears and shut my emotions down so I could enjoy the sealing and how lovely my daughters looked.
I went to many many sessions in the next few years, trying to understand, feeling as if there were something wrong with me, because I questioned many things. I had and still have a love of deep doctrine. I love the early writings of the Prophets.
I had a lot of questions. I asked my Bishop, and Stake President of these seemingly inconsistent things I was learning in the old writings. I was told, somethings aren't meant to be answered right now. Don't question, just trust and have faith.
I believed that if the Church was TRUE, then it would be completely true in all things, and there would be no inconstancy anywhere, especially in a Prophets writings.
My Testimony was crumbling. I was confused, angry and totally befuddled.
There was a Sister who I greatly admired in my ward. Her husband was in the bishopric, they had a bunch of perfect kids, she was a counsellor in the Relief Society. She was the perfect LDS woman. I so wanted to be just like Sister King (name changed). There were a couple other families like that in our ward, and I wanted my family to be just like that. As perfect in every way as possible (more about that someday). Sister King and I shared a love of the old writings. She lived 3 houses away from me.
Sister King had a neighbor who went to another Church and had given her a copy of The God Makers. Sister King, knowing she had a strong testimony of the Gospel, read it, thinking that would be a good missionary tool to communicate with her neighbor. The neighbor was happy to share other Anti-Mormon writings with her and did.
Sister King left the Church. She was a little hyper-vigilant and defensive at the time, so she was treated like she had the plague. She truly believed that all Mormons were going to have a big surprise and be doomed to Hell for not worshipping the right Jesus and performing priestcrafts/witchcraft.
She missed her LDS family. Her world was upside down. But she was determined in her belief that she had been deceived her entire life. We became very close. She asked me to read the God Makers and tell her what I thought. I did, following every reference and scriptural passage.
I read the rest of the books and went to Church with her, and I too, ended up leaving the Church. For over 20 years.
I will write more about my journey as an Apostate and return to the Gospel and the Church in later posts. My point in all this, and referencing the post "Teaching to Women" at Hieng to Kolob is this:
1. If a sister had taught, what the Sister in reference did, to me, before I went to the temple the experience would have been completely different for me. I was freaked out and confused instead of being able to understand the holy experience.
I am so thankful Heavenly Father never gives up on us. He brought me back home, slowly cracking through my barriers, which started at the Temple. Satan did his job on me, and well. Jesus in turn, truly saved me from the depths of Hell.
2. How wonderful it is, that maybe some young brother will sees the difference in how we are taught as women and men.
3. The Church is growing spiritually, just as we are.
The time has come, when we will be more aware of the Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is so much we don't know, and so much Satan has blinded us with.The time has come for us to truly live the Gospel in love and love Christ as Heavenly Father would have us love him. Not with fear.
The Church is growing... and She shall show us why She is called She.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. ~ James 1:5
James is writing a pastoral letter to encourage those who are facing trials. He is really speaking to all of us because we are all facing various trials in this broken world. James wants them to see that all their trials, large and small, are testing their trust in Heavenly Father.
As we go through trials we are faced with the choice to live as if Heavenly Father is good, active, and present or to act as if He isn't hearing us, caring about us, and able to bring good out of this struggle. James reminds his readers in the first paragraph of his letter that we can trust that our trials will add up to joy because as we count on The Father and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Through them our confidence in is strengthened and they will bring us to completion through The Atonement. Jesus has made us truly perfect, able perfectly to receive His life and love for us. We will be filled with His fullness, lacking in nothing.
When we are in the midst of some difficulty, it can be hard to see beyond the immediate circumstances. James encourages his readers to go through their trials looking at the endpoint, where all of one's life is going. Heavenly Father is taking us to the point of being "perfect and complete". Nothing less. This is what these present struggles will add up to as we count on Him to be at work in our lives.
In the end we will lack nothing. But now, in the midst of struggles we may be lacking something, namely, wisdom. Wisdom for what? Well, if we look at what precedes this verse, it would seem that James is talking about wisdom to get through the trials. I am sure you have at times, like I have, struggled to know how to pray or what to do in the midst of trying circumstances. It is not usually immediately apparent to me what decisions to make when I am "under fire". Behind the struggle to know what to do is a lack of wisdom about God. In trials, we can easily forget who God is. We wonder if He really is good, or interested in us.
"Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." ~ Mosiah 4:9
James assumes that we are likely to lack wisdom to get through our trials. So he encourages his readers to ask God and assures them that wisdom will be given them. God desires that we are wise, for wisdom enables us to walk through life in confidence that we are participating in His good work in our lives and in the lives of others. But where do we begin to find wisdom? James does not say to seek wisdom first about our particular trials. He wants us to start somewhere else.
James includes in this verse a short description of the God he is telling them to ask. He tells them about this God of whom he is a servant. God "gives to all men generously and without reproaching." Now why does James include this here? Why doesn't he just tell them to ask God and He will give it to them? He is reminding them of the character of God because this is the very thing about which they are lacking wisdom and they might be tempted not to bother asking God. If I am unsure that God cares for me in my circumstances, then I am less likely to ask help of the only one who can really provide it. James knows they are struggling with their faith and so he lovingly builds it up by reminding them of the truth of who God is.
First of all, God is a God who gives. God is a giving God. That is who He is, not something He occasionally does. Who is He? He is the One who gives. In the midst of trials, we are tempted to forget this. Maybe we worry that He is a God who mostly takes. We wonder, will God give anything to us now? Can He?
Secondly, God gives generously. We may believe He will give, but wonder how much. Is God a stingy God? Is it His nature to give begrudgingly? No, James says. He not only gives, but is generous. God delights in abundance. This section reminds me of the story of the shepherds in Luke. Really one angel would have been sufficient for the shepherds to get the good news of Jesus' birth. But God sends a whole company to sing and praise, for a group of forgotten shepherds on a hillside. I am so glad James reminds me of this generous God, because it isn't easy to see this about Him when I look at some of my trials. I need to be reminded again and again of His true character, seen most clearly in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Thirdly, God gives generously to all. When we are struggling, are we often tempted to believe, yes, sure God gives and is even generous--just not to me. I often notice what I think is evidence that God is giving more to someone around me than He is to me. Does He really see me, here, in this time of trial? Does He play favorites?
Lastly, God gives without reproach. This is wonderful to remember. I need not fear God's reproach. Will me make He "pay" for His generosity? Will He upbraid me first for my lack of faith, or my puny obedience before He is gracious? Will he make me feel like I wished I had never asked or that this will be the last time I ask? I have to admit, I find this amazing because I see in my own heart that I often desire to reproach first before I will be giving. Most of us want to make sure that our children really are sorry, or that our husbands know how much they have hurt or disappointed us. God gives without reproach? Unbelievable! You have to be kidding!
Do we give without reproach?
"Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just."~ Mosiah 29:12
"And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged." ~ Moroni 7:18
Could the fact that we make others fear our reproach be why we don't trust God to give without reproach?
This section reminds me of the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. When the Father sees his wayward son, still a long way off, he runs to him and embraces him. He cuts his son off as he is in the middle of his little speech and orders the servants to honor his son. What amazes me is not just what the Father says, but what he doesn't say. If I were the Father, I would have wanted to hear just how sorry my son was before I welcomed him back. I would be tempted to make him earn, so to speak, my mercy, by his groveling. James knows his readers might be tempted not to turn to God for wisdom in the midst of their trials because they fear His reproach. So he takes the time to remind them of the true heart of their Heavenly Father.
God desires to help us to grow in our ability to count on Him as we walk through the difficulties that are inevitable in such a broken and lost world. We need His help even to have the faith to count it all joy. We do not have wisdom on our own. I am thankful for this letter that we are reminded that God is a giving, loving Father, ready to provide us with the wisdom we need to grow in our ability to receive from Him the life He has for us. I admit that asking for wisdom is not always the first thing I do in a trial. I may focus so much on the trial and wanting it removed from my life that I do not ask God to help me see how He is present and working. I am thankful though, that He is drawing me to ask for His help and ready without reproaching me to give it.I hope this reminder of God's character gives you hope again and a desire to ask for His wisdom as you go through the daily trials you face.
My affirmation for today:
Freely expressing the wisdom of Spirit, I am guided in right ways.
As I drive through unfamiliar territory to reach my destination, I may use a global positioning system--a GPS. Such an electronic guide provides me with information quickly and efficiently.
I have been created, however, with an inner GPS--God's powerful spirit--which safely guides me through the twists and turns of life. When I need to make a decision, when I seem to have more questions than answers, or when I just want assurance that I am on the right path, I trust the wisdom of Spirit within to guide me.
I am one with the wisdom of God, which is my assurance of being guided in right ways. My inner GPS is true and unfailing, giving me an opportunity to express the wisdom of Spirit in all that I do.
Monday, July 21, 2008
The main body of his speech focused more on what was wrong with other Churches, how they are missing out on the True Gospel, etc. If I had been a non member sitting in that sacrament meeting, I would have been highly offended and never came back. The speech rang of eliteness and self righteousness. Yes, there was some humility as the Brother bore his testimony. Some tears, no doubt heartfelt.
We need to be careful and be repectful to other religions. I wonder how many Mormons that have been raised in the Church, have ever even attended another Church. I feel blessed that I am a convert, and had to search for the Church. I read many other philosophies, attended many Churches and had a lot of contact with people from other faiths, religions and cultures. I was truly searching, and sometimes still do. Often when I have a need or a question that I am praying about, a Buddist saying will answer my prayer.
We must remember, there is Truth everywhere, and Heavenly Father loves and respects us all. He doesn't love us more because The Gospel has been restored and we belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We must honor and respct other religions as Sacred. We must remember that we are role models for The Church, not only outside of the building, but inside the Chapel also. You never know who is sitting there.
Allow me to have the courage to speak Your truth.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Police have praised the actions of two missionaries who came to the aid of a woman being attacked with a knife in Nollamarra.
With each opportunity you give yourself to enjoy this current of benevolence, you may discover a deeper peace. Your faith may strengthen and your heart may open. You might begin to wonder if struggle is really all that necessary after all. By living this one day in grace, you might open the door to many more.
On this day of your life, dear friend, I believe God wants us to know...
....that he who eats till he is sick must fast till he is well.
That is a Hebrew proverb, and it has to do with a lot
more than food. Look to see what behaviors you are
indulging in over and over again that are clearly not
serving you. Then, go on a "bad habit diet."
Pick one bad habit, one bad behavior, a day for five days.
Stop doing the stuff you're doing that obviously
does not serve you--or others.