During April 2017 I will be blogging about my Courtship Memories from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Self Worth

Self Worth
Scripture Challenge Week 5
Proverbs 31: 30-31


30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

 When we look to others and their approval or acceptance of us for our self worth, or to what the mirror tells us, we do not receive a true picture of our true value and worth.  If we turn to the Lord for our self evaluation or the valuation of our true worth, we will get the truth.  Outward appearances and the acceptance (or not) of others does not determine our true worth, but rather what we do with the talents and opportunities that the Lord has blessed us with. 


 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Alma's Questions

Alma's Questions
Scripture Challenge Week 4
Alma 5: 14-16

 14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
 15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
 16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?

The famous questions of Alma 5:  Have ye received his image in your countenance?  Have ye experienced the might change in your heart?
Yes, I can say that I have. 
Is his image in my countenance very day?  Is my heart changed every day?  Do I have faith in Him every day?  No, not completely.  Not every day.  Some days are always harder than others to have faith that everything will work out all right.  Faith that I can keep moving forward.  Faith that I even always know what the Lord wants me to be doing.  
The key, I think, or at least a helpful thought, is to always be thinking of and looking forward to the day when I will stand before my maker and report my life to him.  What will I have to say about what I have done today?  How have I treated my family?  How have I treated my co-workers?  My neighbors and strangers?  Myself?

Forgiveness and Fasting

Forgiveness and Fasting
12 Week Scripture Challenge:  Week 3
3 Nephi 13:14-21

14 For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you;
 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
 16 Moreover, when ye fast be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face;
 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father, who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;
 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Obviously, if we are to expect to be forgiven, even through the gift of the atonement, we need to be willing to forgive others.  Even when they have not asked for our forgiveness nor seem to be repentant.  One thing that really spoke to me this week in Stake Conference was President Fajardo’s message to not judge, and to be kind.  I don’t ever intentionally judge others  . . . or do I?  This is a hard one.  I think we all make judgments of others on a regular basis.  But we need to always give others the benefit of the doubt, and we always need to be kind. 
When fasting, do I appear not unto men to fast?  Of course this means to not gripe or complain or brag or be showy in my fasting.  Nor should I brag or be showy in any of the ways I go about living the gospel, serving, and trying to be charitable.  We don’t need to call attention to ourselves in our service, but just quietly do what needs to be doing without fanfare or expectations of praise, thanks, or reward.  This is how to lay up treasures in heaven.

 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Love and Our Savior

Love and our Savior
12 Week Scripture Challenge Week 2
John 14: 23-27
  
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make ourbabode with him.
 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
 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.
How do I show my love for the Savior?  By keeping his commandments, by reading and following his word, and by trying to be more like him.
Do I keep ALL the commandments?  Yes, I try, but I don’t keep all of them all of the time.  The teachings of Jesus add so many layers to the commandments as they were presented to the Israelites and modern revelation and temple covenants add even more layers.  I’m not sure at this point if I even understand all of the Lord’s commandments.  In addition, if I truly try to be in tune to the spirit, read and study the scriptures and really pray and listen with my heart to know the Lord’s will for me, I can and will receive more direction each and every day of my life.
John 14:27 is a favorite, comforting scripture.  The gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the greatest gifts we have on the earth.  He is a teacher, bringing truth and knowledge to our minds and hearts, and also comfort in times of heartache, pain and stress.  Some of our greatest heartaches come when we feel and know that we have fallen short of what the Lord expects of us and what we expect of our selves.  The comforter can and does reassure me that the Lord still loves me and that I still have my divine potential, even though I have made mistakes, hurt others, or fallen short of my goals and what has been asked of me.  I can have peace. Now and always.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Rock of our Redeemer

A week ago Sunday, my ward Relief Society gave us a 12 week challenge to encourage us to draw closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We have each been given a notebook with a picture of the Savior attached to the front, and a list of 12 scriptures.   The idea is to concentrate on one scripture each week, reading and pondering the scripture of the week every day as part of our personal scripture study, then sometime during the week taking time to write our thoughts and feelings about the scripture in the notebook.   In December we will gather together and share some of our thoughts on these scriptures and on our Savior.

 I'll probably write some of my thoughts in the notebook, but seeing as how I usually write much better on the computer, I'll probably write just as much or more here.  The fact that our Heavenly Father has seen fit to provide us with a Savior is without a doubt the greatest Tender Mercy that ever has been or ever will be. 
 So, here is the Scripture for week one, and yes, I did read it every single day this past week: 
                                                                                                                                      
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
Helaman 5:12


The first thing that came to my mind when reading this scripture was the primary song that we have been singing lately in Primary this year:  “The wise man built his house upon a rock.”  Of course this refers to the rock of a testimony or a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Our testimony should be based on our Savior, Jesus Christ, as should the way that we live our life each and every day.   Everything we do or decide, the way we act, should be based on our knowledge of the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.  He is the Son of God, our Father, our loving Father who provided this earth life as part of his plan of salvation for every man and woman, and for me.

Jesus Christ is His son, His partner in his work, or even you could say, His business.  He is our mediator, our representative, our “sales rep”, who has this wonderful partnership with God the father.   We’re so blessed to have this “in” with Our Father.

Another hymn that comes to mind is an old favorite of mine, “Oh Thou Rock of Our Salvation, Jesus Savior of the World.” I especially love the chorus:  “Gather round the standard bearer, gather round in strength of youth.”   We need to gather around the Savior, our standard bearer, our leader in this war that we are waging against sin and darkness and evil.  Every day we need to gather round, make him our center, our guide, and the focus of everything we do every day.  I sure hope that I can do better at this.

And now, this coming week’s scripture:

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:  and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.   He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings:  and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.  These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.  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.  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.
John 14: 23-27


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Simple Pleasures

 Resting in a comfy chair after a cool sunny morning of working in the yard, the air from the slowly moving ceiling fan gently caressing the skin,  the pleasant sounds of others working outside drifiting in through the open window, and enjoying a big fat oatmeal cookie with a tall cold glass of milk.  What can be better than that?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Angels and Mortality

The first experience that I ever had with having a loved one pass from this life into the next was when I was just ten years old and my cousin and his new wife were killed in a car accident.  I still remember the shock I felt when we received the news, and the unbelief that someone that I had known and loved had died.   Since then, I have experienced the deaths of my grandparents and many other loved ones and friends.  I am blessed to still have both of my parents nearby and relatively healthy, along with all of my siblings and their families.  Though five of my six children are now adults, I still think of myself as young and inexperienced, and so it still surprises and shocks me when someone I know well passes away, especially those who are near my own age or younger.   

I recently wrote a very short post expressing some thoughts I had about angels around usIn D&C 84:88  we are promised that as we go about doing what we should be doing, we will have angels round about us to bear us up.  I believe that those of our loved ones who have gone on to the next world before us are still able to be aware of our lives and situations.

Yesterday we attended the funeral service for another of my friends and neighbors who has been a great example and mentor to me.  She was a counselor to me in what was probably my most difficult calling so far in my life.  During her service yesterday,  and then again today in our Fast and Testimony meeting we were privileged to hear tributes to her and testimonies that my neighbor is in a better place, freed from the bondage of the illness of her mortal body, and that she has been called to continue her work on the other side of the veil.  Today as we sang our closing hymn the strongest reassurance came over me that she has joined the ranks of the angels that are watching over me and cheering for me from the other side.  Of course I know that she has many other more important tasks than just cheering me on, but it is a comfort to know that as my life moves forward, and more and more of my friends and loved ones move on to the other side, and my band of guardian angels or my cheering section is only increasing in size.  It is just one more bit of comfort to give me faith and courage to continue on when times are hard. 

And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
                                                     Doctrine and Covenants 84:88