Friday, April 26, 2013

Search me, O God, and know my heart

by Emily Freeman
There is a question and activity that floats around the classes of the church that I want to edit.
Before that sounds too presumptuous, I want to admit that I am guilty of the non-edited version of the activity myself.
It goes something like this.
A teacher has their students anonymously write down on a piece of paper whether they think they would make it to the Celestial Kingdom if they were to pass through the veil that very day.
Part of the value of the activity, I suppose, is to offer some self reflection for everyone participating about their standing before the Lord.
I also suppose one could not get too much of this self reflection.
However, in my experience, it usually ends with a majority of crumbled up slips of paper with the word “no” in my garbage can and a classroom of 30 people wondering if they will ever be good enough.
I had a boy ask me today, “If we were at home and then yelled at our sister and punched her or something, and then all of a sudden died without getting a chance to repent–would we be doomed?”
The worst part of it was how many other students got worried, intent looks on their faces as they waited for the answer.
I figured out today that we might have the wrong idea about the character of the Lord.
What kind of God do we think we worship?
One who is just waiting for us to slip up?
One that has a giant “SMITE” button on speed dial?
One who finds pleasure in failure?
I told the boy his question could be answered really easily Don’t hit your sister!
But just in case it did happen, please remember who we kneel down before every night and morning.
Luckily, we are studying scriptures this semester that teach about the character of Christ.
Today, we read this one from 2 Peter:
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9
We worship a God that is longsuffering.
One that is not willing that any of us should perish.
Not one.
He won’t accept no for an answer.
One that will fight for us to make it.
Now I do stand by my original statement that older brothers shouldn’t hit younger sisters (ever!), and that a good self reflection is mightily healthy and even necessary on a daily basis, and that we really should not consider our standing before the Lord flippantly.  However, in the midst of all of this, let’s remember who He is.
So I am asking for a favor.
If you are going to run a self reflection activity in class or family home evening, will you edit the question to say this–
How many of you think that with the Savior with you every step of the way you can make it to the Celestial Kingdom?
That’s a better way to ask I think.
This weekend let’s be a little more patient with ourselves and others–always remembering how good the Lord is to us.  How willing He is to make us someone better.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts…”
Psalm 139:23

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The warmth of the Spirit will come into your heart

“To all, wherever you are, to you who need hope, to you who need comfort, to you who are unhappy, to you who need direction and need to feel a purpose in your lives my dear friends, I encourage you, I urge you to bow your heads or drop to your knees! In your own words, thank your Heavenly Father for His Son’s atoning sacrifice for you and for all the blessings He has given you. Tears will moisten your eyes, and the warmth of the Spirit will come into your heart. Then talk to the Lord, asking for comfort, direction, and understanding. As you open your mind and heart to feel the spirit, the Lord in His own time and in His own way will give you the instructions which will bless your life.”
D. Rex Gerratt
Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns,
but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.
Jeffrey R. Holland
Imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with.
That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it
Jeffrey R. Holland
Respect the old, when you are young. Help the weak, when you are strong. Confess the fault when you are wrong. Because one day in life, you will be old, weak and wrong.
Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something,
love something and has lost something.
Everything comes to you in the right moment. Be patient.
Faith is not knowing what the future holds, but knowing who holds the future.
You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.
Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.
Pride is concerned with who is right, Humility is concerned with what is right.
Ezra T. Benson
Willing is not enough, you must do.
Every person’s Life is a fairytale written by God’s fingers.
Han Christian Andersen
The nicest place to be is in someone’s Thoughts!
The safest place to be is in someone’s Prayers!
 And the best place to be is in God’s Hands!
When we put our problems in God’s Hands He puts His peace in our Hearts.
You Create Beauty with Your Attitude, Your Behavior, Your Actions it’s all up to You.
May every sunrise hold more Promise, and every sunset hold more Peace.
Faith is a real power not just a belief.
Boyd K. Packer
“If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.”
Jeffrey R. Holland

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Their willingness to give

By Emily Freeman
 “…and behold, thou wilt remember the poor,
and consecrate of thy properties for their support
that which thou hast to impa
rted unto them…
and inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor,
ye will do it unto me…”
D&C 42:30-31
It was almost twenty months ago that Greg picked him up off the sidewalk with all of his belongings.
A 19-year-old kid whose past included trouble with the law…time spent in jail.
He had nowhere to live.
So Greg brought him home.
This twenty months has been the road to Damascus for us.  It’s not often you get to watch a second chance unfold.  He has learned from Paul.  I, from Ananias.
He’s worn this bracelet for almost a year now.  A reminder of who he wanted to become.
Tonight he put on a new suit and went to the Church to be set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
After the blessing he walked over to his younger brother, took off the bracelet and put it on the younger boy’s wrist.  ”I don’t need this,” he said, “I’m not a future missionary anymore.”
I looked at him closely.
He had become who he wanted to become.
A missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
This boy does not have a lot of money, but his desire to serve was like a badge right over his heart.
I told him if he saved all he could and paid his tithing faithfully the Lord would provide a way for him to serve.
In the past few months I have come to see the blessings that come from those who live the law of consecration.
Maybe I could share just a few examples.
Someone bought him a suit.
Another family bought his shirts, socks, shoes, and ties.
There was money for a coat.
Piece by piece it all came together.
Except for the bike.
This boy is big…really big.  6’4 and 270 pounds.  It’s really hard to find a bike that big.  We searched the classifieds.  We drove to pawn shops.
And we prayed.
The bike had to be purchased and sent to the mission home by April 1.
We set our deadline for the Saturday before.
When, after searching the Internet for days to no avail and still not finding a bike the right size, I asked Greg if maybe he should go look at a bike shop to get an idea of the make and style of the bike we needed.  Then we would know exactly what we were searching for.  So Greg and this boy drove over to the bike shop.
They found the right bike.
It was way out of the price range.
Saturday morning came.  Our plan was to spend the entire afternoon searching for a bike.
It was 1:00pm when the phone call came from the bike shop.
“Someone purchased a bike for someone who lives at this phone number.  They want to remain anonymous.”  My husband listened as the bike shop manager described the bike.
It was the bike they had looked at the day before.
An answer to prayer.
Through the law of consecration.
Yesterday morning this boy spent hours writing thank you notes.  One for every family who has helped him to prepare for his mission.
My favorite was this one…
My heart swelled in gratitude for that family and their willingness to give.
I want to be more like that.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Breathe peace to our souls

Faith can turn a simple action into an amazing Blessing.
Don’t mix bad words with your bad mood. You’ll have many opportunities to change a mood, but you’ll never get the opportunity to replace the words you spoke.
Live without pretending,
Love without depending,
Listen without defending,
Speak without offending.
It’s better to cry than to be angry, because anger hurts others,
while tears flow silently through the soul and cleanses the Heart.
Pope John Paul II
"Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.
The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
Gordon B. Hinckley
Breathe it all in. Love it all out!
The Holy Ghost is the greatest guarantor of inward peace in our unstable world . . .
It will calm nerves; it will breathe peace to our souls.
 James E. Faust
Many of the deepest regrets of tomorrow can be resolved by following the Savior today.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Dear Lord, Help me today not to be careless about my relationship with you.
Beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the Heart.
The Highest place in the world… is still down at the Lord’s feet.
she took a deep breath and let it go
“The Savior has stretched forth His hand to each of us… we don’t have to run alone. As we advance toward the finish line… it is He who bears us up when we need more air to breathe or direction to follow or even more courage to continue.”
W. Craig Zwick

Saturday, April 13, 2013

One who loves you the most

A Thousand times I failed, still your mercy remains.
"The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works."
Psalm 145:8-9
One of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to be. We will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are.
Jeffrey R. Holland
And I will be still and know You are God.
Prayer is the best armor against all Trials.
The Sweetest time of the day is when you pray. Why?
Because you’re talking to the One who loves you the most.
Always pray to have Eyes that see the best in people, a Heart that forgives the worst, a Mind that forgets the bad, and a Soul that never loses faith in God.
I will never give you more than you can take… I will let you bend, but I will Never let you break…

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The loving image of You

These are the words from the song Jackie Evancho sang at the Ringling pavilion in Sarasota Florida.
The song was written by her uncle Matt.


Before I lay me down to rest I ask the Lord one small request 
I know I have all I could need But this prayer is not for me 
Too many people on this day Don't have a peaceful place to stay 
Let all fighting cease that your children may see peace 
Wipe their tears of sorrow away

To believe in a day when hunger and war will pass away 
To have the hope amidst despair 
That every sparrow's counted 
That you hear each cry and listen to each prayer

Let me try always to believe That we can hear the hearts that grieve 
Please help us not ignore The anguished cries of the poor 
Or their pain will never leave
To believe in a day when hunger and war will pass away 
To have the hope amidst despair 
That every sparrow's counted 
That you hear each cry and listen to each prayer

Father, as you see, I'm just a child And there's so much to understand But if Your Grace should surround me 
Then I'll do the best I can I promise, I'll do the very best I can 

To believe in a day when hunger and war will pass away 
To have the hope amidst despair 
That every sparrow's counted 
That you hear each cry and listen to each prayer

Help us do Your will oh Father 
In the name of all that's true 
And we'll see in one another
The loving image of You