Saturday, March 20, 2010

Birthright Blessings; Marriage in the Covenant 10

Abraham was so insistent that Isaac marry a woman from his kindred because it was necessary for Isaac to marry in the covenant for the covenant to continue through him and through his seed. The surrounding people in the land of Canaan were not of the covenant. The marriage covenant spoken of here is today part of the new and everlasting covenant. It is new to this dispensation, restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. But it is not really new at all. Adam and Eve entered into the marriage covenant in the Garden of Eden. Marriage itself is ordained of God; it is not a man-made convention. Marriage is a threeway contract between a man and a woman and God.

Abraham's servant was sent to find a wife for Isaac among Abraham's relatives. His servant retained the focus of doing just that. He was faithful in following directions; he was prayerful and faithful in following through on his errand. He prayed that the Lord would let him recognize Isaac's wife-to-be. He said to let her offer water not only to him but also to his camels. This Rebekah did.

Rebekah was also a woman of faith. She was willing to marry Isaac, whom she had not met, and leave her family to dwell in Canaan. She knew that it was the Lord's will for her to marry Isaac in the covenant.

Rebekah's people wanted Abraham's servant to remain with them for a 10-day celebration, but he would not. He was directly obedient and could not be distrated from his purpose. Rebekah was willing to leave her home and family with merely a quick good-bye, knowing that she was doing the Lord's will. Isaac was to be blessed with a wife that was young and beautiful, strong and faithful.

How can we avoid distractions that will lead us away from the temple? How can we set ourselves on a course that will lead us to the temple?

Dave and Ruth Baird taught their children to pray for temple marriages from the time they could speak. Once when I was in their home and a child said a blessing on their lunch, she prayed that all of the children would be married in the temple. We can start teaching our children the importance of marrying within the covenant very early, and we must continue to show to them that the temple is important in our lives. Family and personal prayer and scripture study, family home evening, church attendance and involvement in youth programs of the church, seminary attendance, and participating in baptisms for the dead will all help our children be prepared to be married in the temple

President Howard W. Hunter said: “Let us plan for and teach and plead with our children to marry in the house of the Lord. Let us reaffirm more vigorously than we ever have in the past that it does matter where you marry and by what authority you are pronounced man and wife” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 118; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 88).

Marriage in and of itself is a sacred union. marriage in the covenant can continue forever. The blessings of living worthily within a temple marriage will endow the couple with priesthood blessings and power both in time and in eternity.

Rebekah received a revelation concerning her twin sons. She learned that the one who was to be born second was the one who would be favored first. Esau would not carry on the covenant, but Jacob would. Jacob was to be the birthright son.

Esau was born first, but he sold his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage. He was physically drained and terribly hunger after a hunt, so he sold something of great future value and importance for immediate gratification. How often have we sold ourselves short because of impatience or because of a current lack of understaning or lack of faith? Do our words and actions show that we value our birthright?

As members of the restored church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we all are entitled to a spiritual birthright from our heavenly parents. We are chidlren of the birthright when we are born into the covenant, when we enter the covenant, and when we keep the covenant. Renee Samford just went to the temple to receive her own endowment. Her husband will now be working hard so that he can do the same. After her husband receives his endowment, they can be sealed in a temple marriage, and their children can be sealed to them. Their children will then have all the same promises as if they had originallybeen born into the covenant.

The Lord honors those who honor Him, and He favors those who keep His commandments. Isaac was chosen as heir to the covenant over Ishmael; Jacob was chosen over Esau; Joseph was chosen over Reuben; Ephraim over Manasseh; and Nephi over Laman. We need to remember though that the gospel is one of repentance and forgiveness. We can all receive the same spiritual endowments and blessings, and we can all receive the gift of Eternal Life through the atonement of Jesus Christ, our own repentance and faithfulness, and through making and keeping sacred and necessary ordinances and covenants.

Esau married outside of the covenant. This caused his parents sadness. Jacob, like Isaac, was to choose a wife that was eligible to marry in the covenant. Jacob went to work for Laban for 7 years so that he could marry Rachel. But Laban made him marry Leah first. So Jacob contracted to work for Laban for another 7 years so that he could marry Rachel as well. Jacob was a faithful servant to Laban because marrying in the covenant was that important to him.

President Gordon B. Hinckley told of a family who joined the Church in Australia and then sold all their possessions so they could travel to New Zealand and be sealed as a family. The father of this family said: “We could not afford to come [to the temple]. Our worldly possessions consisted of an old car, our furniture, and our dishes. I said to my family, ‘We cannot afford not to go. If the Lord will give me strength, I can work and earn enough for another car and furniture and dishes, but if I should lose these my loved ones, I would be poor indeed in both life and in eternity’ ” (Be Thou an Example [1981], 138).

What can we do to strengthen our marriages? What can we do to ensure that our temple marriages are truly eternal marriages? What can we do to improve our relationships and aid eachother on our journey back to our heavenly home. Keeping covenants will definitely safeguard us against the immorality and heartaches experienced by so many. But we need to make sure that our love for each other and the Lord is kept bright; that our testimonies are guarded, preserved, nurtured, and strengthened; that we are nurturing one another and seeking the comfort and growth of our eternal companion. We need to treat all of our covenants with dignity and respect, especially our marriage covenant. As we are faithful to the Lord and to each other, He will be faithful in fulfilling every promise that He has made to us. We then can return home with Him and become like Him, and we can live as husband and wife forever.

(This still needs to be revised)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

God Will Provide Himself A Lamb 9

Has ther been at ime in your life when you felt the Savior's love for you so intensely, that you felt the power of the atonement so completely that you would do anything that He asked of you? We know that Alma poses the questions, "Have you spiritually been born of God?...Have you felt to sing the song of redeeming love?" Then he later asks, If you have felt these things, "I would ask, can you feel so now?" I am certain that most of us, if not all, have a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and of our Heavnely Father's and our Savior's love for us. Most of us have felt to sing the song of redeeming love....We have had our own spiritual interactions with the Lord; we have had our own spiritual highs.

I like to remember the story of King Lamoni's father. He was a bitter man. He hated the Nephites extremely and the testimony that they had of the gospel plan. But then he saw Ammon's love for his son, and his heart was softened. Later, we Ammon's brothers went to teach this man who was king over all the land, he wanted to hear what they had to say. When he learned what they taught about God and that he could personally pray to God, he humbled himself and offered a pray. This is essentially what he said, "Oh God, Ammon told me that there is a God, and if there be a God, and if thou art God, I will give away all my sins to know thee." Like King Lamoni's father, Abraham gave away all of his sins to know our Father and our Savior.

"The Lord revealed that we must be tried “even as Abraham” (D&C 101:4). Why do you think this is necessary? (See D&C 101:5, 35–38; 122:5–7.) What can we do now to prepare ourselves for sacrifices the Lord may ask us to make?" (from really can't expect to sit down in the kingdom of our Father with prophets such as Abraham if we do not accept trials in our life with patience, humility, trust, and dignity, like Abraham did. Christ Himself was known as a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief. To experience the greatest joy, we must also experience some losses and sorrows.

In Abraham's young life, he was put on an altar as a sacrifice to false gods by the false priests of Pharaoh. He was saved from an untimely death by an angel of the Lord. Remember that Abraham's father had turned away from his righteousness and entered into the wicked practices of his surrounding fellows in the land of Chaldea. But Abraham sought after greater righteousness. Even though his life could have been taken, his life was preserved and he entered into sacred covenants with the Lord. Through the Abrahamic covenant, Abraham knew that the Lord would deliver him and ultimately bless him. He trusted in the covenant. He knew that the Lord was faithful and would keep his word.

The Lord promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. He promised him posterity greater than the stars in the heaven or the sand upon the seashore. But Sarah was barren, and Abraham and Sarah were getting on in years. The Lord commanded Abraham to take Sarah's handmaident to wife, and Sarah willingly gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. But as soon as Hagar conceived, Sarah became jealous and kicked her out for a time.

The Lord promised great things to Hagar concerning Ishmael. He would be the father of 12 princes (just like Jacob aslo became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel). But the covenant was not to be carried on through Ishmael's seed. This blessing was to be preserved for Isaac who would be born years later. But Ishmael would also be remembered of the Lord. And Ishmael's seed can also become part of Abraham's covenant peoples as they enter the waters of baptism and as they enter the holy temples.

God revealed unto Abraham that Sarah would conceive and bare him a son. Sarah was already 90 and Abraham 100. Abraham laughed and rejoiced to think that he and Sarah would have a child in their old age. God did keep his promise to Abraham in His own time and in His own way. Isaac was blessed with carrying on the Abrahamic covenant, with the priesthood authority, and with the promises of eternal life and eternal increase. Abraham's blessings were to be fulfilled through his son Isaac and through the posterity that came through Isaac.

And then God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham's heart must have wrenched in pain. He must have relived his own encounter upon the altar to the false gods. He must have wondered how it could be possible for the blessings of the covenant to be realized if Isaac's life were taken. Yet Abraham knew God. He knew that it was God who gave him this commandment. He trusted in the Lord explicitly. He knew that this directive came from the Lord. He knew the Lord, and he was willingly obedient.

Abraham had developed a relationship with God. He knew how to recognize the Spirit, and he had faith to do what was asked of him, and it was counted to him for righteousness. So he rose up early in the morning and took his son Isaac with him to go and offer sacrifice to the Lord. When Isaac asked where the lamb to be offered was, Abraham told him that the Lord would provide. Isaac also had extreme trust in his father Abraham. No struggle is recorded in the scriptures. Isaac willingly submitted to the will of his father, even as Jesus submitted to the will of His Father in offering himself as the Lamb without blemish for the salvation of all mankind.

'Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: “When they came to the prescribed place, Abraham built an altar and laid wood upon it. Then, the Bible says, ‘Abraham … bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood’ (Genesis 22:9). What did Isaac think when Abraham did such a strange thing? The Bible mentions no struggle or objection. Isaac’s silence can be explained only in terms of his trust in and obedience to his father....This story … shows the goodness of God in protecting Isaac and in providing a substitute so he would not have to die. Because of our sins and our mortality, we, like Isaac, are condemned to death. When all other hope is gone, our Father in Heaven provides the Lamb of God, and we are saved by his sacrifice” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 51; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 37).

When Abraham's hand was lifted to strike Isaac and end his life, and angel of the Lord appeared and told Abraham that it was enough. Isaac's life was spared. Abraham learned more about the atonement of Jesus Christ through this experience than he could have in any other way. He was willing to offer his son because it was a commandment of the Lord. Isaac, likewise, was willing to submit himself to Abraham even as Jesus submitted himself to His Father. It was enough. The Lord provided a ram that was caught in the thicket, and, gratefully, Abraham and Isaac offered the ram to the Lord. With greater understanding of the Sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of the Father, they offered a sacrifice in similitude, looking forward to the time when Jesus's life would indeed be on the altar for all humankind, but the Father would not then provide a ram in the thicket. Because of His great love for us, the Father allowed His Son's life to be taken so that we might all have immortality because of Him, and so that we might have eternal life by entering into and keeping the covenant.

Isaac indeed represents all of us. We will all experience death. the ram that was provided represents Jesus Christ and His atonement for us. Isaac submitted himself to the will of Abraham even as Jesus submitted himself to our Heavenly Father. I am certian that both were relieved that the test was passed and that an alternative offering became available. I am also certain that they were releaved that Heavenly Father and Jesus did supply an infinite and eternal sacrifice in the offering of Jesus's life. This time there was no ram in the thicket. Jesus alone could atone for our sins. Jesus alone, the Perfect Lamb without blemish, could bring us back into the presence of our Heavenly Father. I am thankful for the righteousness of Abraham, for the willingness of Isaac. I am eternally thankful to my Father in Heaven and eternal indebted to my Lord Jesus Christ that His life was given to save mine.

I have had my own Abraham experience to the degree that I was capable of handling. Our son Robby's life was so short. He only lived for 2 1/2 hours beyond birth. But his short life offered me a sanctifyting experience as I submitted willingly and even cheerfully to the will of the Lord. Through my faith and prays, through my sorrows and strugglesin the year following, I came to know the Lord better and to trust in His plan more fully.

(This still needs revision)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Grandma for a Day

I met my sister Suzanne and her family at Disneyland yesterday. Since I live in Southern Califoria and she does not, I wanted her and her husband Chris to experience the many rides that I think are the very best. We met in California Adventures first. Since they were in Bug's Life area, I suggested that they go on the Tower of Terror. It is a great ride, right out of the Twilight Zone. My sister, her husband, and her oldest two children headed to the Tower of Terror, while I took her three youngest over to the merry-go-round, which has fishies instead of horses. I figured that they would be waited for or on their ride still, so I went with my neices and nephew to the Toy Story ride. They don't see me all that often, so the Kindergartner was not all too happy that I was leading him to another ride. I reasoned with him that he'd really like it, but that we could go back to the stroller if he wanted. He decided he'd move ahead in line and listen to Mr. Potato Head, and so we continued on. Even though it took a while for him to stop pouting, he eventually did. The wait was over half-an-hour, so the big sister also became impatient and refused to stand. She sat and pouted on the floor, just scooting herself along when the line moved forward. I asked her to stand, but didn't force her. I did tell her that her pants would turn black, but I don't think she believed me. All this, while I was keeping track of the 1 1/2 year old. When I told the two olde3st that they would ride together and I would ride with the baby, the Kindergartner insisted that he wanted to ride along. I said that he'd have to ride with his sister or with me, so he chose to ride with his siter (which really needed to happen because the cars only fit two and I couldn't leave the baby with one of them). Before the ride began we picked up our 3-D glasses. The baby really wanted to put a pair on me. She'd tired of playing with my glasses and my hat, so now the funny yellow glasses looked like for to dress me with. Then we finally reached the ride and all were securely fastened in. I know I had fun on the ride. The little one did, too. And every time my nephew and niece's car turned towards mine, I knew that they were having fun as well. It is a great ride, where you get to shoot at targets and score many points. It would have been fun to ride with the older ones to see how they did and to see their excitement. After that we returned to the merry-go-round for one more ride. Then the other group met up with us. The Kindergartner wanted to go back to Toy Story, but the line was awfully long still. So the older group went to California Screaming, and I took the younger ones to Mickey's ferris wheel. They really enjoyed it when the cage rocked back and forth when the ferris wheel paused. It was fun to see their happy, excited faces. The littlest one absolutely loved it and wasn't scared at all. After we met everyone again, they all played a game of fish and won a little yellow duckie. Then my two children and my sister's oldest two went off for their own adventures. The rest of us went back to Bug's Life and a ride over there. We all had snacks. Then Chris took two of his little one's back to experience the Tower of Terror, and Sue, the baby, and I went into the Disney Animation Studio. That was fun to show Sue around that and it gave Christa a chance to relax and go to sleep. (Around the same time, my children and their two cousins headed to the Disneyland park.) Since Soaring Over California is one of my all-time favorite rides, I was insistent that Chris and Sue go on it. So they went with their two youngest grade school students, and I sat out with the baby who is too small for the ride and who was napping as well. (Grandmas for a Day need a break, too.) In Disneyland, things went much the same. We were together for Pirates of the Carribean and Haunted Mansion. Some of the group wanted to go to Splash Mountain, but Christine and Daniel didn't want to go again because they were still wet from their previous ride there. So we kept the baby with us. Christine, Christa, and I went on the Winnie-the-Pooh ride. Daniel refused. He said he'd been on it one of the previous days with his family, and that was enough for him. After that we took the little one to see Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger, too. I videotaped that. (I also videotaped the two other little ones earlier.) Daniel whisked his little sister away after that and we found the rest of our group. Then we had dinner and a show at the Golden Horseshoe. John was told that he is only a wanna-be-Texan. Whatever, Mr. from Santa Monica. The music and program was fun, and the food was good. STILL WRITING. It is so hard to recount everything. WORK

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Words from Ward Conference

Last Sunday was our ward conference. Bishop Lomenick shared words of encouragement and praise. He commended the ward for having someone at the temple every day that it has been opened this year. This started out as a goal for January, but we have been so blessed by our January efforts in regard to temple attendance that the invitation has been extended throughout the entire year. Sister Mack was endowed and many ward members were there with her. We had a ward session in February, and Tapie Rohm was the officiator. We have had temple baptisms for those who are not yet endowed and for the youth. Good things are happening. There are others that will be endowed in the near future. I am thankful for Bishop Lomenick's words of praise and encouragement. Our ward really needs that. We are striving to boost our spirituality and to help boost each other.

John and I sang a duet. Bob accompanied. We sang, "Lord, I would follow Thee." John sang the melody and I sang alto. The congregation joined us for the last verse.

Then President Poulsen spoke. He gave us our marching orders. I'm thankful for the reassuring words first of Bishop Lomenick. We all need to feel good about where we are heading and what we are doing in order to boost it up and do more, what President Poulsen is inviting us to do, and what the Lord is requiring that we do.

There were three things that President Poulsen asked us to do:

1st--During the sacrament, think of the Savior. Think of His life, his miracles, how he went about doing good, how he blessed others and ministered to their needs.

2nd--Pray for promptings--for yourself, for your family, for your stewardshiop, and for your callings in church.

Currently, we have 65-70% of our ward membership missing from Sacrament meeting. We must remember them; it is not optional. We were participants in the War in Heaven; it was a war of words. We raised our arm to the square and said that we'd follow the Savior. We raised our arm to the square and covenanted that we'd move heaven and earth to bring each other back into Heavenly Father's presence. Reflect and pray on that covenant. Remember and nourish the members of the ward. Those who are here with us and those who are not here.

There are many health needs in the ward. There are many single sisters. Throughout the church, 83% of single mothers do not go to church at all. This Fast Sunday (which is tomorrow now) come to church fasting and praying. Ponder on the Savior and whom He would have me minister to and bless.

By July 1st, our Sacrament meeting attendance should rise to 52%. From there we will be blessed to see it rise to 70-75%. Be prepared for the blessings.

3rd--Pray while at the temple--Ask--Who in my ward dost Thou want me to bless? Follow the promptings you receive. Say Father, They will be done. Hearts will be healed; lives will be blessed.

As we go forth in faith to meet these challenges, we will be blessed with the choicest esperiences.

Bishop Lomenick has asked us to do our visiting teaching and home teaching by the 15th of each month. I believe that this will be necessary for us to do in order to meet the challeges extended to us by President Poulsen. If we are to bring in the lost sheep, we need to more fully care for those for whom we have stewardship. As we become stronger and as they become stronger, we will move to higher ground (having even more members endowed in the Holy Temple) and we will be able to reach many others and extend to them the invitation to move to higher ground. We definitely need to learn to be a more kind and loving people; we need to be a more inclusive and outgoing people. And with these thoughts, it's time to begin my own fast.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Elder M. Russell Ballard said:

“In the Church, we often state the couplet, ‘Be in the world but not of the world.’ As we observe television shows that make profanity, violence, and infidelity commonplace and even glamorous, we often wish we could lock out the world in some way and isolate our families from it all. …

“Perhaps we should state the couplet previously mentioned as two separate admonitions. First, ‘Be in the world.’ Be involved; be informed. Try to be understanding and tolerant and to appreciate diversity. Make meaningful contributions to society through service and involvement. Second, ‘Be not of the world.’ Do not follow wrong paths or bend to accommodate or accept what is not right. …

“Members of the Church need to influence more than we are influenced. We should work to stem the tide of sin and evil instead of passively being swept along by it. We each need to help solve the problem rather than avoid or ignore it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 100–101; or Ensign, May 1989, 80).

We need to stop complaining about the problems that our all around us and try to present solutions. We can even become the solution.

Recap: Abraham was reared in Ur of Chaldea. The Lord asked Abraham to leave Ur and settle in Haran. Here the Lord revealed Himself to Abraham and established the covenant with him. The Lord gave the promised land of Canaan to Abraham and to his seed after him. Because of a famine in Canaan, Abraham and his family went to Egypt. Again, Abraham returned to Canaan.

Abraham and his nephew Lot were both prosperous men. They had many possessions, many flocks, and much cattle. When they returned to Canaan together, arguments ensued between Lot's herdmen and Abraham's herdsmen. Abraham did not want to have strife with his nephew. He said to Lot, Look all around us. There is so much good land. Choose what land you want, and if it be on the left hand, I'll take the land on the right hand, and vice versa. Abraham didn't get bogged down with the problem, but Abraham offered a solution.

So Lot saw the land that was near Sodom. It was beautiful, like the garden of Eden. There was much water and grass for his flocks. It was everything he could want. So he pitched his tent near Sodom with his tent door facing Sodom.(Before long, Lot moved right into Sodom.)

King Benjamin's people also pitched their tents. But they pitched them near the temple, and their tent doors faced the temple.

How might pitching our tents towards Sodom lead us into Sodom? How might pitching our tents towards the temple lead us into the temple, and then further into the presence of the Lord? Where am I personally pitching my tent? Which direction does it face? I hope that we will all turn our thoughts and our hearts towards the Lord and towards the temples.

Different kings from many city-states began to war with one another. Lot was taken captive. Abraham came to rescue Lot with 318 armed men. Soon, thereafter, Abraham met Melchizedek, the great high priest. Abraham gave him tithes of all. Whether this means that Abraham paid his tenth and his surplus alone to Melchizedek or whether he took tithes of all that were in his household, the scriptures aren't clear. I believe that it was the latter.

The king of Sodom wanted to reward Abraham for coming to the rescue. Abraham would have none of it. He did not want to receive anything from an unrighteous king, not even so much as a thread. From whom do we seek our rewards? What rewards do we seek after? We should consider that a thread of immorality may lead us to deep immorality just like pitching a tent outside of Sodom led Lot into Sodom. A little white lie, or a thread of dishonesty, can lead to greater coverups and dark dishonesty and complete loss of integrity. If we compromise our standards in the entertainment we seek or in our business endeavors, we may find ourselves unworthy to enter the temple. We may find that we are members of Sodom, so to speak.

Abraham truly had it right. He had a covenant with the Lord, and he knew what rewards he was seeking after. He paid his tithes to Melchizedek because he loved the Lord and he loved righteousness. He would not accept any outside gift that would pull him away from his purpose of keeping his covenants and following the Lord by being faithful and keeping the commandments.

Because of iniquity Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Many times Abraham petitioned the Lord to spare these cities if righteous people could be found in them. Their were none that were righteous, so the cities were destroyed. It was the righteous of Abraham that saved lot.

Because of Abraham's prays and his faith, Lot's family was offered deliverance. They were given the choice to leave and escape destruction. His sons' in law would not budge. The enticements of Sodom held them fast. (Have you ever been in a compromising situation that you were unwilling to leave?) So Lot left Sodom with his wife and his two daughters. The angels warned them not to look back, yet Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

In the Miracle of Forgiveness, President Kimball tells us that when we repent, we should not look back. That sometimes means dissolving friendships, getting rid of momentos, not listening to certain music, getting rid of perfumes. Whatever may remind us of misdeeds in our past, we may need to carefully dispose of certain things and not look back. Sometimes we must choose new friends and a new environment. We must pitch our tents towards the temple with the door facing the temple.

Lot was counseled to escape to the mountain, but he saw another place that he'd rather go. When we are endangered or feel like evil is engulfing us, we must remember that we need to get to higher ground. We must escape to the mountain; we must go to the temple. In the temple, we can indeed escape from the evils of the world for a short time. More importantly, in the temple, we are endowed with power from on high and then we can go out into the world and properly minister and keep our covenants. With renewed strength we can be in the world but not of the world because we are endowed sons and daughters of God.

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “Our world is now much the same as it was in the days of the Nephite prophet who said: ‘… if it were not for the prayers of the righteous … ye would even now be visited with utter destruction. …’ (Al. 10:22.) Of course, there are many many upright and faithful who live all the commandments and whose lives and prayers keep the world from destruction” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 7; or Ensign, June 1971, 16).

Because of Abraham's righteousness and because of his prayers, Lot was saved. We can be like our righteous father Abraham. The world is now even being spared destruction because of the righteous few. Instead of just seeing the problems and grumbling because we live in an imperfect world, we can be more like Abraham and start looking for solutions. We can love everyone around us and pray for their safety and happiness. We can get to higher ground ourselves and then invite others to join us on higher ground. We can offer the blessings of Abraham to all the world around us.

Yes, we live in this world, but we all come the world where we were all children of our Heavenly Father, children of Light. Even now, everyone that enters into this world is born with the light of Christ. Resolve to let your light so shine before men that others may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Lord Gave Us All Lilies

We have a lot of work to do. Have I done any good in the world today? I haven't even gotten dressed today. The world has no use for the drone. Deleted. To God each good deed will be known. And so He knows that I haven't even gotten dressed yet today.

Consider the lilies of the field. They are so beautiful and they softly shift together in the wind, making a gentle dance as the float in time on the breeze. God covers the lands with lilies and flowers of all sorts because he clothes the earth with beauty for our enjoyment.

Aren't we greater than the lilies, which toil not nor spin? We are God's children. He created the lilies and everything else for our enjoyment and for a perfect balance in this world he gave us. And He will clothe us from day to day, but he will not personally dress us. We've got to do some things on our own. But he knows us fully, and he understands us when we have not yet dressed for the day.

The lily's life is short. They will pass away as grass in an oven. Our lives here are fleeting, too. But if we improve upon our time in this life, if we learn to dress ourselves not only in our clothes, but in the whole armor of God, God will clothe us with glory from on high in the resurrection. We were not made to pass away as dust in the wind, but to live eternally in our Father's presense. We are better than lilies to Him. We were created for His enjoyment. We are His children, and His greatest desire is for us to return home to Him.

Consider the lilies. Consider your clothing. Consider your talents. Consider sharing the lilies, your clothing, your talents, your God-given blessings with those around you. There is much work to be done. Get dressed and get going. You can help to clothe others with those things that are essential for them to have in their lives, even as the Lord feeds and clothes you each day. Be His son or His daughter. Clothe the world and your brothers and sisters like he does, and then float gently in a beautiful dance. Be in harmony with God, with yourself, with others, and with the lilies.

At the end of Elder McConkies life, he was extremely ill from cancer, but every morning he would fully dress in a suit. Even while lying on his deathbed, he would pray that if God were be willing to give him the strength, he would get off of that bed and go minister. I would like to develop the faith to want to minsiter even when I don't feel like getting dressed or preparing for the day. I would like to develop the love for others so that I do not have fear. Perfect love, we are told, casts out all fear.

So even though I am getting dressed late today, it is not too late for me to get dressed, and I will be dressed earlier tomorrow. The Lord knows the good things that I have done today, and he knows that I am capable of doing more. He will gently remind us of those things that are important for us to do, those things that are important to Him. So I'll press out of my comfort zone dressed to minister. Would you like a lily?