Friday, December 31, 2010

The Lion and the New Year

When the end of each year comes around, I often ponder the signs and the times of the Second Coming.

This year is no different.

This week my husband took me to see the first movie I’ve seen this year: The Chronicles of Narnia – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Earlier this month as I was studying the different names and titles of the Savior, this title, The Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5) was fascinating to me.

And after watching the third movie in the series, I finally realized why C.S. Lewis used the majestic lion, Aslan, as his Christ-like figure.

And clued in on how symbolic the words from the hymn "The Spirit of God" when the Lamb and the Lion (we His sheep and the He the Shepherd/Lion) will lie down together without any ire.

May the coming New Year be filled with the recognition of His hand in our lives.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Women Aren't Babies

"Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time. I know we like to be appreciated but if we do not get all the appreciation which we think is our due, what matters?"

-Eliza R. Snow

Monday, December 27, 2010

Family Home Evening - Using the Scriptures with the Church Magazines

One of our favorite things to do for Family Home Evening is to invite another family to join with us. So this evening we had four adults and 11 children (4-13) to teach. Here is what we did.

Before: I had chosen seven random scripture references and wrote them on separate pieces of paper.

We divided into three team of five.

Each team was to have one set of scriptures and five Church magazines. (We had an assortment of all three for each group – Ensign, The New Era, and The Friend).

Each team was then given one of the scripture references. As a group they were to read the scripture  and then find a picture in one of their Church Magazines that best portrayed their scripture.

Then each group shared their scripture and their picture with everyone.

After a few times of doing that, we decided to make it a little more competitive. In which we chose only one scripture reference, read it to all the groups and the first group to come up with a picture from a magazine was the winner.

Not only was it a fun night, but it enabled us to get into the scriptures and into the Church Magazines simultaneously.

And what was even more amazing is that?  Without fail, there was a picture to represent each “random” scripture I had chosen!

It made for a fun night!

BTW: Here were our "random" scripture references:

Alma 34:9
Doctrine and Covenants 42:41
1 Corinthians 16:13
Exodus 12:11
Ezekiel 34:12
John 14:18
Mosiah 3:3
Doctrine and Covenants 50:3

Sunday, December 26, 2010

His Image. My Countenances.

Today in Sacrament Meeting one of the speakers read excerpts from from Alma 5.

I call that chapter "The Personal Evaluation Chapter.” Because Alma asks important questions pertaining to my standing before God.

And when I evaluate myself honestly, it hurts enough to want to repent!

The first three questions Alma asks are:

1. Have you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers? (In other words, for me, “Do you remember the sacrifices of the early Saints? Their persecutions? Their journey west?”)

2. Have you sufficiently retained in remembrance His mercy and long suffering towards them? (Are you learning enough and consistently about those early Saints, and even new members of the Church today who have been guided and protected and led by the Lord’s hand to HIs gospel?)

3. Have you sufficiently retained in remembrance that He has delivered my soul from hell? (Umm, I think that one is self explanatory).

But today, this question, “Have you received His image in your countenances?” made me think of this question more than just looking at myself in the mirror and taking an accounting if I have His image in my countenance.

Because, if I would have noticed before, the word countenances is NOT singular, it's plural.

Which got me to thinking that it is certainly A LOT easier for me to see His image in my countenance (singular) when I’m feeling high on the Spirit!

Like when I am in a testimony meeting at Girls’ Camp,

Or serving someone who is in need,

Or watching General Conference . . .

Ahh!  His image in my countenance.

But . . .

when I’m frustrated with disobedient children,

or impatient with the cashier because I’m #8 in line and I was supposed to be somewhere else 20 minutes ago,

or when my ideal circumstance has been crushed by the weight of adversity . . .

I’m pretty positive I cannot see (and neither can He) His image in my countenances (plural).


Which means, essentially, I really haven’t experienced the MIGHTY change of heart necessary that would (or could) allow me to look up to God with a pure heart and clean hands.

Not with those countenances (plural), anyway.

Because a mighty change of heart engraves His image upon my countenances at ALL times, and in ALL things, and in ALL places.

And repentance is the key.

Because He does want to see His image in ALL of my countenances (plural).

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What the 12 Days of Christmas has to do with the Savior

This Christmas Season our family was blessed to be recipients of the 12-Day of Christmas. While in years past I have been on the giving end of the Twelve Days, it has been quite the humbling, amazing experience to be on the receiving end of such a service of love.

I suppose it is for several reasons.

First, to think that someone would take time out for our family has filled me with such tender emotions. Why us? Why would we be the target of such kindness and thoughtfulness?

Secondly, each day our children would excitedly look forward to opening the surprise package that had been lovingly and anonymously placed on our porch. How creative our givers were. How thoughtful they were of our family – each of them! How unselfish they were to present surprises that will truly remind us of them and their compassion for a very, long time.

Thirdly, how ill-equipped we were to offer our gratitude. While we left a little package with a thank-you note for them, I felt that our words were so inadequate in comparison to how we felt about their love for us. How I wanted to better express myself, but in not knowing their identity, perhaps, my desire will never be satisfied.

Which brought me to reflect particularly on these last 12 Days of Christmas and how it is a symbol of the Savior’s love for me.

First, I have contemplated His unselfishness kindness and charity for me. He, who is God of Heaven and Earth, condescended below us all to be born of woman and become like us in the sense that He could feel our pain, our grief, and our sorrows.

And yet, in His Divinity, He was perfect. Sinless. Able to give to us the ultimate sacrifice of love - His life.

Secondly, I ask myself how excitedly do I look upon the experiences that come placed lovingly on my porch of life? Okay, so I admit that sometimes those experiences don’t always bring immediate joy or fulfillment. Sometimes they are filled with heartache or frustration or a HUGE test of faith. But they are placed carefully in my way so that I will remember – if I am willing – Him.  He who is my Giver.

Thirdly, no matter how much gratitude I could offer to the Lord for what He does for me, I will always, always, always fall short. After all, said King Benjamin:
"And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?" (Mosiah 2:23-24)
Which make so much sense in why we are commanded to serve others. For it is in this service that we are serving God. And it is in serving God that we are able to show our gratitude for what He does for us!

Merry Christmas to our anonymous 12-Days of Christmas Elves! You have taught me much about the Savior and His love for me!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Random Thoughts

Isn't the question of the season, “So, are you ready?”
My answer, I don’t stress about it. After all, when December 25th comes, it is what it is. No one else cares what I didn’t do or didn’t finish – . . . so why not enjoy the season for what it truly is!

* * *

The other night as we were going to see a beautiful nativity in a neighboring city, I saw this electronic billboard that had the saying, “The Reason for the Season.” Slowly, the saying faded to only reveal these letters: “The Son.”
The message and the accompanying pictures of the Savior filled my heart with The ReaSON for the Season!
The billboard was for a hardware store. A HARDWARE STORE!
I say, “Way to let your (electronic) light so shine!”

* * *
How did I forget that during all the hub-bub of the season – the baking, the wrapping, the caroling, the cleaning, the reading, the delivering – that my children would actually need to eat! Can you believe that they have had the nerve to ask me “what’s for dinner?” every, single night this week?? (Oh, and they have also asked for breakfast and lunch, seeing how they are out of school until NEXT year!)

* * *

Isn’t it fun to find out what foods are family traditions during Christmas? A dear woman I know, who is almost in her 80’s, makes fruitcake (complete with gum drops) every year even though NO ONE else in her family will touch the stuff.
She makes it because it is her father’s recipe!

Which is no different than what I do - I make German red cabbage every Christmas only because it reminds me of my Christmases as a child! Luckily my husband has grown to appreciate such a dish, because my children certainly haven’t gotten there yet! Although they love, love, LOVE, Turkish Delight! (Which reminds me, I need to make up a batch tomorrow!)

Oh, and another family food tradition we have at Christmas.  Every year our children decide on ONE Christmas Song (This year it is It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.).  Whenever we are in the van (we have to be "on the go") and we hear the song, we get to go to McDonald's and get ourselves a fruit pie or a cookie! I think we've been five times since Thanksgiving!

What are some food traditions you have in your family during Christmastime?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Family Home Evening - Applying Christmas Past to Christmas Present

Tonight for Family Home Evening we had eight pieces of paper with a word (or a phrase) written on the top.
Here were our list of words:
1. Star
2. Baby Jesus
3. Lambs
4. Shepherds
5. Stable
6. Angels
7. Mary and Joseph
8. A crowded inn

Each child was to draw a picture representing the word on their paper.  And as they were drawing they were to think of these two questions:

1. What does this picture/word have to do with the story of Christmas.
2. What does this picture/word have to do with us NOW?

Okay, so this Family Home Evening became a hands-on, artistic showing with a bounty of personal insights on each subject!  (Being hands-on artistic meant they forgot that they could use their hands to hit, tease, bug and annoy, because it was flanked with crayons, markers and colored pencils!!)

I was amazed as I listened to our children retell the Christmas story, but I was  REALLY amazed at how they applied their picture to today.

We ended with this thought:
"Are you part of the Inn crowd
or one of the Stable few?"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Keeping Christ in Christmas . . .

and other thoughts!

I have pondered A LOT about how to keep the Savior front and center in a society that is filled with extreme materialism. For my husband and I – conscious of a budget with eight children – it is easier for us to keep in perspective the Savior’s role in this exciting time of year.

However, it is not so easy for our teenager to accept. After all, all his friends have the latest and greatest.  And they all have what he doesn’t have at all.

So this year I have found, with other children also maturing into the world of teenagerdom, that I am praying (yes, you read correctly), p-r-a-y-i-n-g for what presents we should give our children. I never would have thought that prayer would be a key factor in determining what to give, but it really has helped me keep the Savior foremost in my mind in what would be best for my children at Christmas – both their needs and their wants!

* * *
One of my pet peeves at Christmas - no, it would be much more than a pet peeve because it brings instant volcanic heat to my surface - is when people ask “What did you GET for Christmas?”


What did you GET?

Isn't this supposed to be a the season of GIVING?

So here is my counter question whenever I hear the ONE that sends me straight into the fiery furnace, “What was the best gift you GAVE this Christmas?”

Usually, it is followed by a blank stare for a few seconds. But after careful thought following my surprise quiz, it is amazing how the answer is given with such tender fondness and selflessness.

That's what Christmas is all about!

So - What is the best gift you’re GIVING this Christmas?

* * *
What do cars and jewelry have in common?

Other than they are both expensive, I think the car and jewelry TV commercials during the holidays depict the most selfish, most self-centered way of giving and receiving.

Okay, so maybe it’s because I’ve never given a car to someone or ever received a set of diamond jewelry for Christmas, but for me, those commercials resonant, so deeply and enticingly, “Entitlement.”

* * *
As you can see, I added a Christmas button on my blog! It’s from Stephanie @ Diapers and Divinity!  It's a 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. I think that will not only be fun, but it will be a GREAT way to keep the Savior in view as I go about the next 12 days before Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 10: Jesus is . . .

Jesus is My Everything!

Ten days ago I thought it would be a good idea to take the month to write about Jesus and His different titles. The personal assignment has been quite a challenge for me. Not because I would ever run out of titles, but it has caused me such sacred reflection upon who He is and why He is so incredibly important in my life that it is becoming difficult to put them into words.

And I am finding that I have come up short everyday in my desire to share my thoughts and feelings about who He really is.

For He is Wonderful. He is the Way. He is the Prince of Peace. He is the Father. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is God’s Only Begotten Son.

So I have decided that on this the tenth day, aware of my incredible weakness, I will finish my “series” with this personal declaration: I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that He is more than I can ever imagine, but in all that He is, He still loves me. He still died for me. And I know He still waits for me to make the right choices so I can enjoy – in fullness – His great plan of happiness.

Truly, I have been grateful for the last ten days of reflection. For it has brought within me an even greater love for my Savior.

Which makes me think maybe the last ten days have been just for me! . . .

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 9: Jesus is . . .

Jesus is The Creator
(Mosiah 3:8)

Creating something – anything - is so exhilarating.

I know a woman who toils with sugar and butter in creating the most incredible, decorated cakes (I cannot believe people actually eat them - they are that amazing)!

I know a man, a machinist by trade, who makes stunning, unique jewelry just for his wife and six daughters. (He surprises them with something spectacular every Christmas).

I know a woman who takes clutter and mess and organizes it into manageable, working order. (She can turn a room, a house, or an office around in no time at all).

I know a man who can take a piece of wood and transform it into furniture you would see in an elite furniture gallery. (He made this incredible “wall-bed” that folds up into the wall and turns into workable shelf area when the bed is up!!)

The list of what people can create goes on and on and all recognition for these gifts and traits go back to Jesus, who is our Creator.

He who created me to become like Him.
 * * *
I have often wondered how He sees me as I try the things He created. I suppose I began thinking about this when our first baby started learning how to eat and all the little ones that followed.

I would always anticipate their expressions, their reactions, their responses.

Like the smile of the sweetness of a sweet potato.

Or the gag on the peculiarity of green beans and peas.

And, of course, the surprise on the first taste of good, old-fashioned ice cream.

Which has made me think, What has He seen in me when I first tried the barbequed octopus?

Or what was His reaction to my tasting of salty ocean water which was pouring down my throat?

Or did He smile when I feel a spider quickly crawling down my arm?

And to think that ALL this - from sweet potatoes to spiders - and so much more, He created for me.

For me to enjoy.

For me to figure out.

For me to understand.

And most importantly, for me to testify that He lives!  That He is my Creator!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 8: Jesus is . . .

Jesus Is The Door of the Sheep
(John 10:7, 9)

Often, this question comes up in our family: “Did Jesus need to baptized?”

One answer is NO! He did not need to be baptized for the remission of sins. He was perfect. The only perfect man to every walk the earth. He did not need to be washed clean.

However, the other answer is YES! He did “need to be baptized by water to fulfill all righteousness” (1 Nephi 21:5). Although He was perfectly obedient to all of His Father’s commandments, He needed to fulfill all the commandments given to man in order to receive the fullness of His Father’s glory.

600 years before the birth of Jesus, Nephi taught his people to, “Do the thing which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and Redeemer should do,” even baptism by immersion, repentance and standing as His witness. “That ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water” (1 Nephi 31:18).

When Christ was on the earth, He taught the Jews: “I am the door of the sheep.” He said “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

The door – or gate – by which we enter His kingdom – is that of baptism into His Church. It is the way that leads us to truth and to life.

What I remember of my baptism day was that it my 8th birthday!! It was one of the birthdays I remember the most.

I remember the warm water.

I remember my father baptizing me.

And I remember pretentiously thinking that I would never, ever do anything bad from that moment forward.


Double ha.

Because I’m pretty sure I hit one (or both) of my sisters just a few moments after leaving the baptismal services.

Which meant my clean-ness, my wholeness, my purity didn’t last for very long at all!

And I knew it.

And it hurt because I knew I couldn’t go back a few moments and erase what I had done because I had already done it!

My first day of being eight and I already had one - okay TWO - marks against me . . .

But over the years my hurts have turned to gratitude to know that through theb ordinance of baptism, coupled with faith and repentance, He will always be The Door and I will always be His sheep.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 7: Jesus is . . .

Jesus is The Possesser of All Things
(Doctrine and Covenants 50:27)

Sometime ago I read the following words from Howard W. Hunter.  These words help me teach my children when questions arise as to why we celebrate Christmas on December 25th instead of April 6th, Christ's actual birthday as revealed to Joseph Smith.

"The [Christmas] season is steeped in tradition and its roots stem back in history. The commencement of the holiday lies in pagan worship long before the introduction of Christianity. The god Mithra was worshiped by the ancient Aryans, and this worship gradually spread to India and Persia. Mithra at first was the god of the heavenly light of the bright skies and later in the Roman period was worshiped as the deity of the sun, or the sun-god--Sol Invictus Mithra.
"In the first century after Christ, Pompey carried on conquests along the southern coast of Cilicia, in Asia Minor, and many of the prisoners taken in those military actions were brought captive to Rome. This introduced the pagan worship of Mithra to Rome, for these prisoners spread the religion among the Roman soldiers. The worship became popular, particularly in the ranks of the Roman armies. We find today, in the ruins of the cities of the far-flung Roman Empire, the shrines of Mithra. Mithraism flourished in the Roman world and became the chief competitor of Christianity in the religious beliefs of the people.

"A festive season for the worshipers of the sun-god took place immediately after the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year--the time when the sun stands still after its annual dip into the Southern Hemisphere. The commencement of its climb from this low point was regarded as the rebirth of Mithra, and the Romans celebrated his birthday on the twenty-fifth of December each year. There was great merriment on this holiday--festivals and feastings, gifts given to friends, and the dwelling places decorated with evergreens.

"Gradually Christianity gained a victory over Mithraism, which had been its strongest rival, and the festival day celebrating the birth of Mithra was used by the Christians to commemorate the birth of Christ. The pagan worship of the sun, deeply rooted in Roman culture, was replaced by one of the greatest festivals among Christians. Christmas has come down to us as a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing--a day of good cheer and goodwill to men. Although it has an earthly relation and significance, it is divine in content. The ancient Christian celebration has lived continuously through the centuries.
The power of Jesus never ceases to amaze me!  Because even His glory broke through false pagan belief, making Christmas is a universal celebration.  It is a testimony to me that He lives.  That He is real.  That He is the Son of God.  That He possesses ALL things!

I add my voice with Elder Hunter's:

"It has been said that Christmas is for children; but as the years of childhood fancy pass away and an understanding maturity takes their place, the simple teaching of the Savior that "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35) becomes a reality. The evolution from a pagan holiday transformed into a Christian festival, to the birth of Christ in men's lives, is another form of maturity that comes to one who has been touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 "If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees--alone or with loved ones--give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that his spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve him and keep his commandments. He will take you by the hand and his promises will be kept."
I'd love to hear what your family is doing to Keep Christ in Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 6: Jesus is . . .

Jesus is My Example of Holiness
Moses 6:57

In ancient times the cry “Unclean!”
Would warn of lepers near.
“Unclean! Unclean!” the words rang out;
Then all drew back in fear,
Lest by the touch of lepers’ hands
They, too, would lepers be.
There was no cure in ancient times,
Just hopeless agony.
No soap, no balm, no medicine
Could stay disease or pain.
There was no salve, no cleansing bath,
To make them well again.
But there was One, the record shows,
Whose touch could make them pure;
Could ease their awful suffering,
Their rotting flesh restore.
His coming long had been foretold.
Signs would precede His birth.
A Son of God to woman born,
With power to cleanse the earth.
The day He made ten lepers whole,
The day He made them clean,
Well symbolized His ministry
And what His life would mean.
However great that miracle,
This was not why He came.
He came to rescue every soul
From death, from sin, from shame.
For greater miracles, He said,
His servants yet would do,
To rescue every living soul,
Not just heal up the few.
Though we’re redeemed from mortal death,
We still can’t enter in
Unless we’re clean, cleansed every whit,
From every mortal sin.
What must be done to make us clean
We cannot do alone.
The law, to be a law, requires
A pure one must atone.
He taught that justice will be stayed
Till mercy’s claim be heard
If we repent and are baptized
And live by every word. …
If we could only understand
All we have heard and seen,
We’d know there is no greater gift
Than those two words—“Washed clean!”

-Boyd K. Packer

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 5: Jesus is . . .

Jesus is the Fountain of Living Water
(John 4)

In the life there cannot be bread without water.
And the same is true in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He is represented as the Bread of Life and equally, as Living Water.
* * *
In studying the Old Testament this year, I found it fascinating to read this about the creation and when water first fell on the earth.

And the Gods came down and formed these the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were formed in the day that the Gods formed the earth and the heavens,

According to all that which they had said concerning every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Gods had not caused it to rain upon the earth when they counseled to do them, and had not formed a man to till the ground.

But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man’s spirit), and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul (Abraham 5:4-7).
* * *
Physically, our bodies cannot go three day without water and survive.
How physically symbolic then, are the three days the Savior’s body lay in a tomb before the miracle of the resurrection took place.
And spiritually symbolic, as the noble and great ones awaited in the Spirit World for the Savior to appear and bless and direct the work that would then begin for those who were not able to hear the gospel while in the flesh.
* * *
There are components of the gospel that fit together in pairs.
Some that come easily to my mind are:
Faith and Repentance.
Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
Anointing and Sealing.
and of course, Bread and Water.
During our Sunday worship, partaking of the bread and water is the MOST important reason we as members of the Church attend Sacrament Meeting.
For in the bread - the representation His body, and in the water - the representation of the shedding of His blood - Tthe ordinance is made complete.
And this complete-ness, this whole-ness allows me to receive a remission of my sins.  It gives remembrance of my baptismal covenants and the responsibility for me to "Receive the Holy Ghost."
Elder David A. Bednar teaches this:
"These four words—“Receive the Holy Ghost”—are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction—an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26). The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed “receive the Holy Ghost” and its attendant spiritual gifts."
* * *
I am learning that as I continue to feast upon the Word,  I being led to the fountain of Living Water or to the Tree of Life.  "Which waters are are a representation of the love of God; and . . . also  . . . that the tree of life [is] a representation of the love of God" (1 Nephi 11:25).
And in this process, I find myself filled with gratitude that the Lord does provide - Bread and Water from heaven!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 4: Jesus is . . .

Jesus is the Bread of Life
(John 6)

Beth: The second letter in the Hebrew alphabet and a designation meaning house.

Thus, Bethel means house of God.

Bethany means house of the poor.

How symbolic then, that Bethlehem, meaning house of bread, is the city in which the Bread of Life was born. A city that is still alive today!

As I thought about this title, I reflected on the stories of Jesus that involved bread.

The first that came to mind is the story of the five loaves and two fishes, which resulted in the feeding of 5000.

Then I thought of the Last Supper and the institution of the Sacrament.

And then one of my favorite stories of when He walks the road to Emmaus, walking with and teaching Cleopas and his friend, and finally breaking bread with them before vanishing out of their sight.

To the Israelites, Jesus provided manna.

To Moses the Lord said, “I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel; speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God” (Exodus 16:12).

To the Jews, Jesus lived among them in the flesh.

To them He taught, “My Father giveth you the true bread of heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” And then testified, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger” (John 6:32-33,35).

To us, in our day, the Bread of Life has given us the fullness of His everlasting gospel.

Jesus commands us - which is so fitting for this Christmas season - “Do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness” (2 Nephi 9:51).

How grateful I am to the Sacrament. A saving ordinance of which I can partake weekly as a remembrance - – a sacred reminder – of the Bread of Life.

To Whom I owe everything.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 3: Jesus is . . .

Jesus is The High Priest of Good Things to Come
(Hebrews 9:11)

I first heard the title “the High Priest of Good Things to Come” from Elder Jeffery R. Holland 15 years ago while watching a video presentation in the Los Angeles’ Temple Visitor Center. That title, that concept, that truth penetrated into my heart so deeply that it has always been one of the Savior's titles that I have held most dear - probably because I find myself constantly hoping for good things to come.  Not in an anxious way, but in a hopeful, promising way as I try my best to look to the Savior with faith and trust.

More recently in General Conference, Elder Holland spoke on this very topic that has been put into video, which causes me to sob everytime I watch it.  Because I know that Jesus Christ is the only One who can and will provide the promise that good things can come; will come; do come.

Click here to read Elder Holland's entire talk.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 2: Jesus is . . .

Jesus is The Shepherd and Bishop of my Soul
(1 Peter 2:23-24)

My life has been blessed by bishops whom I have loved and respected.

Regular men.

Ordinary men.

Imperfect men.

But men, nonetheless, who, through the laying on of hands, are given the authority to become a spiritual and temporal shepherd over me, thus engaging in the extraordinary task of trying to be as the Savior and do what He would do if He were on the earth.

And as I've had opportunities to sit across a desk from many a bishop, I have often reflected on the trust the Lord has placed in them.

For them to lead and for me to follow.

For them to judge and for me to judge not.

For them to know and for me to know just enough.

And I confess that in my imperfection, I have not always followed completely,

or withheld my unrighteous judgment,

or was satisfied in knowing a part of the whole . . .

But I have certainly come to know that Jesus has placed these men in my life as a symbol of His love for me.

Because He wants me found.

He wants me clean.

He wants me home.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 1: Jesus Is . . .

There have been many times my children have asked me why Jesus has so many different names. I explain to them that even I have different names to different people. To my children, I am Mom. To my family and friends, I am Darla. To others I am known as Auntie, and to my husband I am Honey. And still, the list goes on and on and on.

So, I've decided that each day in December this year I will write about one of the names Christ. For Christ has many titles. I am sure I will discover new truths as I explore and study the One whose birth we commemorate this month, our Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I would love your comments and insights along the way.

Jesus is: The Author and Finisher of My Faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)

I have always been intrigued by this phrase, for faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel.

This principle of faith leads me to believe in His name in order for Him to make all things possible.

Then, through the covenant of baptism, faith leads to taking upon me His name so that I can stand as His witness at all times, in all things and in all places.

It is my witness of Him that comes with a price.

And that price is endurance.

Because absolute faith in the Savior is required of me when going through adversity that seems endless or hopeless or fruitless.

To the father who suffered for years as he took care of his son struggling with a dumb and deaf spirit, Jesus said “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him the believeth.”

To which the almost faithless father replied, “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.”

Help Thou my unbelief!

How many times have I uttered this phrase! And how many times will I yet utter it?

Because sometimes enduring is much, much harder than the textbook describes.

And much, much darker than the darkest night.

And much more lonely than being alone.

But just as the Savior stands at the beginning of faith (He Being the first principle of the gospel), He also stands at the end.

To tow the line when I have no strength.

To be the hope when I’m ready to give up.

To be the One in lonely so I don’t have to be.

And in the end, He finishes me better than when I started.

Only to realize that I get to start all over again.

Because He wants me to experience the authorship of His plan and take me through the steps to help me finish what He sent me here to do.