"There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah"
2 Nephi 2:8 (The Book of Mormon)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What Shall We Give To The Babe In The Manger?

 As risen Lord, the Savior invites:
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me 
a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
3Nephi 9:20

 A "broken heart" implies one that is open
ready to receive the Savior's healing grace.

A "contrite spirit" is one which recognizes it's reliance on the Divine and  
submits to the will of the Father because of trust and love.

Today Lord, I open my heart to thee.  
I ask thee to please fill it with thy love and goodness. 

Alice Gray tells the story of a young girl who fell in love with a strand of pearls at a five and dime store.  The price tag of approximately $2.00 was more than she had to give.  Her mom assured her that if she would do some extra chores and use the birthday money she would receive the following week, that she would have enough money to purchase her precious pearls.  Jenni did her part and was elated when the day finally arrived for her trip to the store.  She and her mom cheerfully left with with her new treasure.  

Jenni loved her pearls.  She wore them everywhere, except in the bath because her mom warned that they might turn her neck green.

Jenni had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story.  One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenni, 
"Do you love me?"
"Oh yes, Daddy.  You know that I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls.  But you can have Princess--- the white horse from my collection.  The one with the pink tail.  Remember, Daddy?  The one you gave me.  She's my favorite."
"That's okay, Honey.  Daddy loves you.  Good night."  And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenni's daddy asked again,
"Do you love me?"
"Daddy, you know that I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls.  But you can have my baby doll.  The brand new one I got for my birthday.  She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."
"That's okay.  Sleep well.  God bless you, little one.  Daddy loves you."  
And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenni was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style.  As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.
"What is it, Jenni?  What's the matter?"
Jenni didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. 
And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. 
With a little quiver, she finally said, 
"Here Daddy.  It's for you."

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenni's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenni.  He had had them all the time He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store strand so he could give her genuine treasure.

Help me Father, to identify the counterfeit treasures I am holding onto.  
Bless me with the faith and strength to let go 
so that I can receive thy abundance!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 7--- Do You Hear What I Hear?

This morning I want to begin by expressing my deepest gratitude to my Father for placing this Walk With the Savior in my mind and heart about 6 weeks ago.  What a beautiful experience this has been for me!  I have gained many new insights as I have sat down to type out these impressions.  Thank you so much for joining with me.  It has been my prayer this week that the Father would bring individuals to this page who are truly seeking a deeper relationship with the Savior. I have plead with Him that He would use me to deliver the message He would have you receive.  It is my hope that this has been a meaningful experience for you.  The overarching theme which He has impressed upon me through this Walk is that:
  • You are His child, Most precious in His Sight!
  • Through reliance on His Son, your inadequacy is transformed into sufficiency!
  • If you will let go of your own will and trust in His, He will literally work miracles through you! 

My final post for this Week-Long Walk will be tomorrow morning.  Through 2011, I will be posting once a week... I am thinking on Sunday mornings.  I invite you to become a follower so that you can receive email alerts each time I post.  Once again, thank you for your companionship.  It truly warms my heart!
Do You Hear What I Hear?
The Old Testament prophet, Amos, teaches:
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, 
but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
 Amos 3:7
In Ephesians 2:19-20 Paul declares:
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, 
but fellow citizens with the saints, and the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, 
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone

Paul further teaches:
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever
Hebrews 13:8

Today Lord, I ask thee to help me 
to hear and recognize thy voice!

I love that God is a God of consistency!  He has established His pattern and doesn't waiver from it.  As I study the Bible, I see a clear method which he has laid out.  He wants for those who seek Him to know how to find Him.  This is the very reason He has kept and preserved His word since the Creation.

Knowing that the Father loves His children who live on the earth today with the same fervor as those who lived in the times of Abraham, Elijah and Amos... it makes sense to me that He would continue to communicate with and guide us through these perilous, last days.  It is my testimony that God, being the same yesterday, today and forever, speaks to His children in present times, the same way that He always has.  It is also my testimony that each of His children are provided the means to have this truth confirmed in their own mind and  heart.  Each of us have access to the power of the Holy Ghost as a convincing witness of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful to be led by His prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson.  As I listen to Him warn, guide and counsel, I hear the voice of my Father leading me in paths of truth and safety.

Christ warns us to beware of false prophets.  He tells us exactly how we can detect them.  Remember, He has laid out His pattern in plainness so that those who truly seek Him can find Him.  He teaches:

For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit;  
neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
For every tree is known by his own fruit.
Luke 6:44-45

I invite you to study out the prophets of the Latter-days.  Judge for yourself if they bear the fruits of the Spirit.(see Galatians 5:22-23)  Prayerfully seek confirmation through the power of the Holy Ghost with real intent to act in accordance with the answer you receive.  I testify that the gifts which I have received in my own life as I have embraced the words of all of the prophets of God, are indeed the promised fruits of the Spirit.  My soul has literally been filled to overflowing with, love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

I am so blessed to hear the voice of my Father clearly and lovingly guiding me through my earthly journey... home to Him. To you I ask... "Do You Hear What I Hear?".

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 6--- Do You See What I See?

In 2nd Corinthians, Paul teaches,
"...We look not at the things which are seen, 
but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen are temporal; 
but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Today Lord, I ask thee to help me view my life through the lens of eternity.  Help me to see thy hand and purpose in all things.  Help me to live in gratitude and praise.

Have you ever walked into a room and had someone say to you, "Do you see that couch over there?  Do you see what I see?"  I don't know for sure, but I feel reasonably comfortable in assuming that this has not been your experience... at least... it's never happened to me.  On the other hand, have you ever been around someone who expresses overwhelming gratitude and praise at the sight of a fiery sunset and silently thought, "Calm down, it's a sunset!  It happens every night around this time."?  Have you ever felt perplexed as you've watched someone connect deeply with the stranger behind the cash register?  Have you ever sat in a sermon dying for it to end only to turn and find the bewildering sight of another parishioner having a profound and moving experience?  Have you ever watched with impatience as a parent lovingly comforts and soothes an out of control, shrieking beast?  Have you ever marveled at the strength and vision of a friend who faces a painful and difficult situation with hope and assurance?  Each of these people seem to say, "Do You See What I See?"  

As we consciously choose to view our day-to-day experiences and interactions with an eternal perspective, our meager lives become transformed into journeys filled with divine purpose and tender mercy.  We gain an underlying sense of peace and hope.  We become filled with gratitude, because we see God's hand in all things and feel His love permeate each moment of our days.  The sunset, that so many drive past and miss, becomes an overwhelming evidence of His matchless power and love.  The woman at the register becomes a precious child of God, who perhaps you might be His instrument in communicating sufficiency and love to.  That never-ending sermon, becomes less about the dullness of the speaker and more about dropping the petty criticism and working in the spirit to receive the message your Father desires to bless you with.  The screaming child, becomes a precious instrument in His hands to help you develop patience and compassion founded in godly love.  That trial, which you never would have volunteered for, becomes a blessed opportunity to rely more fully upon your Savior and to have the characteristics of God weaved into the fabric of your soul.

Have you ever wondered how it is even possible that anyone on the planet, let alone so many, could have missed the "star in the east"?  How was it so visible to the wise men who knew that following it would lead them to the Savior of the world?  Perhaps their ability to "see" the hand of the Divine is what made them so wise.  

If you had been on the earth at that time, would you have been one who saw that remarkable sign of God's love?  
In the present, what do you see when you gaze into the night sky?  

I believe that the answer to the first lies in how you answer the second.  Looking into the heavens, do you feel the ever-presence of your Father and His unchanging love?  Do you feel overcome with a sense of reverence, awe, and gratitude?  Do you see His infinite power and vision?  Do You See What I See?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 5--- Breath of Heaven

Today Lord, I give to thee the one thing which is truly mine to give.

                               I offer thee my will. 

Please be sure to read Day 4, "Mary Did You Know?" before watching this beautiful video!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 4--- Mary Did You Know?

In the first chapter of Luke, we read
26-And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent 
from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27-To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, 
of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28-And the angel came in unto her, and said, 
Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: 
blessed art thou among women.
29-And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, 
and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

Today Lord, I commit to more fully trust in thy will for my life.  I choose today to live in faith and to move forward in thy strength and vision.  I want to be an instrument in thy hands. 

30- And the angel said unto her, 
Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 

How does one find favour with God?  Each soul is precious in the sight of God... precious enough that Christ suffered unfathomable grief and pain for each individual who has ever or who will ever come to this earth.  To be favoured is more than to be precious in His sight.  We learn in the scriptures that those who set their hearts upon the things of God are chosen of Him.  In Proverbs, we learn that those who have truth and mercy written on the tablets of their hearts are blessed and favoured of God.  I always tell my kids, 
"If you want to be chosen of God... CHOOSE (action verb) God!"

31- And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32- He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.
33- And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Clearly, up to this point in her life, Mary had no idea that she would become the mother of the Son of God.  She was troubled by what the angel revealed unto her.  In other words... she couldn't wrap her mind around God's vision for her life. 
How did Mary resolve her concern? 
34- Then Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
She asked for further light and understanding with the intent to have her vision expanded... not to talk God out of His plan for her life.
35- And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God

37- For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38- And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word...
39- And Mary arose...
Because of her humility, her willingness to be used by the Father, and her desire to have His will made manifest in her life, she was able to receive the further light and understanding He wished to bless her with.  We don't know if this completely resolved her "troubled" feelings or not, but we do know that at this point, she chose to move forward in faith.  Faith that her life was in God's hands, and faith that His infinite vision for her life was better than what she had previously imagined and planned for herself.
Each of us face times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed, confused, or downright fearful of what the Father is asking us to do.

As the time for the Savior to atone for our sins drew near, He felt the weight of what it was He was about to experience. He prayed,

Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: 
nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.
Luke 22:42

He felt the fear, yet chose to move forward in faith.  Because of His perfect love for and trust in His Father, and also His perfect love for each of us, he completed the incomprehensible mission He had been sent to accomplish.  I praise Him and honor Him for His courage, strength and sacrifice!

Father, I invite thy will into my life.  I glory in thy will and trust that thou knows how to best grow and develop me into the person worthy of thy promised glories yet unseen!  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 3--- Receive the Gift!!!

Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, Christ teaches,
"For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift?  
Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift."
D&C 88:33

Lord, today I ask thee to help me recognize the gifts which thou hast filled my life with.  Help me to live in praise and gratitude... thanking thee in all things!

Several years ago I was studying in the 31st chapter of 2nd Nephi when I came across the phrase, "relying wholly upon the merits of Him who is mighty to save".  These words pierced me to my very core.  I thought, "What does relying wholly upon Him look like?" "What or who might compete with Him for my complete reliance?" and "How can I more fully rely upon Him?"  Since that night I have pondered on this principle regularly.  I have experienced healing and empowerment as I have learned to more fully embrace and rely upon His merits.

The primary person I identified that competes with the Savior for my full reliance was me.  I recognized that I was frequently weighted down with feelings of inadequacy, particularly in the roles that I had been called to by God himself.  I felt inadequate in my roles as a wife and mother, as well as in the church calling I held at the time.  When I would be asked to teach or speak, I would study, pray and prepare my heart out, give the lesson or talk and then be racked with regret of what I should have or could have said.  Learning to identify this pattern of thought as faithless reliance upon myself and my own merits has been key in opening the floodgates of Jesus Christ's grace, or enabling power, in my life.  Learning that what I thought was humility, is actually faithless ingratitude, has brought an overwhelming perspective of gratitude into my heart.  I feel incredibly blessed to have been given the specific set of gifts my Father endowed me with.  I recognize that He has called me to a specific time, place and group of people to play a specific role in building up His kingdom here on earth.  I recognize that I still have a long way to go in developing these gifts, but am confident that as I do my best and seek His grace, the Savior will make up the difference.
Paul gloried in his weakness because it allowed the grace of the Savior to more fully rest upon him; therefore, when he was weak, he was actually strong.  Do you feel the power in this principle?  Can you imagine the freedom that will come as you learn to shed the weight of inadequacy in your own life?  It is such a beautiful and exciting principle!

Please accept my heartfelt invitation to consider and ponder on this truth.  As you make it a matter of personal study and prayer the Holy Ghost will illuminate your mind and help you to identify places where you aren't relying wholly upon "He who is mighty to save" just yet.  What an incredible gift to give not only to yourself, but also to those with whom you serve and associate.  Think of the effect that an army of faith filled, righteous men and women, endowed with sufficiency in Christ, could have on their community.  Gone would be the days of training up our children to be inadequate themselves!  Wow!  What a gift!!!

"We then as workers together with Christ, 
beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."
2 Corinthians 6:1

How do I talk about myself and the gifts my Father has given me?

What am I modeling for those I have been called to serve? 

Where can I more fully rely upon Jesus Christ? 

God's Reward At Christ's Expense

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 2 --- "Wise Men Still Seek Him" part 2

Through the prophet Jeremiah, Christ invites, "... call upon me... and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you... Seek me, and ye shall find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

Today Lord, I commit my heart a little more fully to searching for Thee and I trust that I will find Thee!

Why does establishing or deepening my relationship with the Savior even matter???

The answer to this question lies in understanding a couple of simple truths; first, who He is and second who You are.  Today, let's seek deeper understanding of who You are.  As you prayerfully consider the following, listen for the new or deeper understanding God waits to bless you with. I trust that much of what you learn will not be written on this page!

Who am I?

Let's look at Romans 8:16-18.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, 
that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, 
and joint-heirs with Christ; 
if so be that we suffer with Him, 
that we may be also glorified together.

For I reckon that the sufferings 
of this present time are not worthy 
to be compared with the glory 
which shall be revealed in us.

Understanding that each of us, along with Christ, are literally children of God helps us know how live in peace and joy.  Christ taught that "A house divided against itself cannot stand".  Divine beings need divine sustenance!  It is obvious that you wouldn't feed the shell of your soul, your body, poison... even in the smallest degrees!  Why then do we not recognize the destruction we do to the core of our soul, our spirit,  when we feed it the poison of vice and sin?  When we choose a steady diet of Godly pursuits, we live in harmony with our true self and our spirits become strengthened and enlarged!  It's a beautiful thing!

Understanding that we are literally here to become joint-heirs with our brother, Jesus Christ... glorified together, should fill each of us with a deep sense of divine identity and purpose.  

Understanding that the key to obtaining "all that the Father hath" is suffering with Christ as opposed to suffering without Christ, speaks comfort and peace to my soul.  Christ invites us to "Take my yoke upon you... and ye shall find rest for your souls." Matt 11:29 

I have absolutely experienced this in my life!  Inevitably, each of us will go through times of suffering.  As we choose to rely upon our brother, we will find not only our relationship with Him strengthened but also our own character refined and enlarged because of the blessed opportunity to struggle.  Exercising the faith to rely upon Him and then reaping the fruits of divine connection and power lead to greater assurance and peace in our future struggles.  We learn to trust in His purpose for our lives and to quit worrying so much about our limited vision.

Do I trust my Father's purpose for my life, or do I feel a sense of anxiety and frustration when He takes me places I hadn't anticipated?

So... back to the original question... "Why does establishing or deepening a relationship with the Savior even matter?"  Because every ounce of peace and joy (note that I didn't say pleasure) that we will achieve in this life time... as well as the life to come... hinges on our relationship with Him!  As we live in harmony with His teachings and His example... we live in harmony with our true self.  This creates a greater sense of inner peace,  a deeper love for our brothers and sisters, and an outlook of hope and joy.

What are the less than godly activities I need to purge from my life to live in greater harmony with my Savior as well as with my core?  (This could be as simple as negative thoughts/speaking of myself and/or others)

Is the faith, effort and discipline this endeavor will require worth it to draw nearer to Him and to have a greater sense of inner peace?

Remember... You aren't meant to do this alone!!!  Remember Christ's mission and trust that He has the power to heal you, liberate you, comfort you and transform you! Learn to identify the adversary as the source of hopelessness and frustration.  Don't give Him your power!  A good indication that you are working in the Savior will be a sense of peace with where you are at in your process and hope that with Him, you will get to where He has you going!  Learn to find joy in your journey with Him! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 1 --- "Wise Men Still Seek Him" part 1

Through the prophet Jeremiah, Christ invites, "... call upon me... and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you... Seek me, and ye shall find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

Today Lord, I commit my heart a little more fully to searching for Thee and I trust that I will find Thee!

Why does establishing or deepening my relationship with the Savior even matter???

The answer to this question lies in understanding a couple of simple truths; first, who He is and second who You are.  Today, let's seek deeper understanding of who He is.  As you prayerfully consider the following, listen for the new or deeper understanding God waits to bless you with. I trust that much of what you learn will not be written on this page!

Who is He?

Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God the only begotten in the flesh.  He came to this earth to save us from our lost and fallen state as we journey through this life separated from God our Father.  The purpose of our time here on Earth is to gain experience and demonstrate to our Father the desires of our hearts which He has promised to grant us.  The choice is ours... to receive the fulness of God's glory or to yield to the enticings of the devil and settle for far less.  The preferable choice seems obvious... it actually is... but the tricky part lies in our actual demonstration of our desires.  Do I prefer Godly, virtuous activity or am I more drawn to the worldly and risque???  God, knowing that each of us would fall desperately short of His exalted standard, sent His Son to make up the difference between our inadequacy and God's perfection. Of His mission the Savior said,

"He (God) hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of prison to them that are bound... to comfort all that mourn... to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for heaviness..." Isaiah:61:1-3

From this we learn that He has the power to:
Heal you--- What are my wounds?
Liberate you--- What am I in bondage to?
Comfort you--- What are my fears, concerns, and heartaches?
Transform--- That which is damaged or destroyed in your life into beauty
                      Your grief into joy
                      Your burdens into blessings and praise

Do I take Christ at His word and trust that He can fulfill His mission in my flawed soul???

Tomorrow we will look at "Who You Really Are".  I can't wait!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

You Are Inivited!!!

Please join me for 

"A Week-long Walk With Christ"

We will begin, Saturday, December 18th.

Check in each morning for a little "food for thought" on the Savior 
and how we might draw closer to Him.

The week will end with your Christmas Day 
celebration of His birth!

I am SO excited and trust that as we focus on Him, 
 this will truly be a blessed season of celebration and renewal!

I can't wait to see you on the 18th! 

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