Tuesday, July 19, 2011

...With a Privilege

While reading an apostle's remarks about the honor of holding the priesthood, the authority to act in God's name, I gained some insight of my own. Although I don't hold the priesthood, I am still a daughter of God with great potential and privilege. The apostle, Dieter F. Uchtdorf shared the following story:

There once was a man whose lifelong dream was to board a cruise ship and sail the Mediterranean Sea. He dreamed of walking the streets of Rome, Athens, and Istanbul. He saved every penny until he had enough for his passage. Since money was tight, he brought an extra suitcase filled with cans of beans, boxes of crackers, and bags of powdered lemonade, and that is what he lived on every day.
He would have loved to take part in the many activities offered on the ship—working out in the gym, playing miniature golf, and swimming in the pool. He envied those who went to movies, shows, and cultural presentations. And, oh, how he yearned for only a taste of the amazing food he saw on the ship—every meal appeared to be a feast! But the man wanted to spend so very little money that he didn’t participate in any of these. He was able to see the cities he had longed to visit, but for the most part of the journey, he stayed in his cabin and ate only his humble food.
On the last day of the cruise, a crew member asked him which of the farewell parties he would be attending. It was then that the man learned that not only the farewell party but almost everything on board the cruise ship—the food, the entertainment, all the activities—had been included in the price of his ticket. Too late the man realized that he had been living far beneath his privileges. (Your Potential, Your Privilege)

My heart breaks everytime I hear that story! How horrible it is imagining all the great meals and activities the man missed out on! Yet, how often do we make the same type of decisions, missing out on the many blessings surrounding us?

We are blessed to have a prophet and apostles again on the earth. People who gain direction from God for our benefit! Do we truly understand how wonderful that news is?! Do we take the opportunity to listen and improve our lives? Or are these inspiried men like those many activities on the cruise ship that we don't take full privilege in?

I think the same principle can also be applied to the blessing we do receive in our lives, but don't take the time to recognize. In the scriptures we see the example of a group of people who "began to prosper by degrees" (Mosiah 21:16) and didn't recognize the wonderful blessings they could take part in and rejoice over.

I hope we'll never be like the man on that ship. I hope that we don't get too caught up in the expectations and focus on what we want that we don't recognize the many blessing that we have, esspecially the blessing of having a spokesman for God on the earth.

Monday, July 18, 2011

...With Weeds

As I was reading in the Ensign, a magazine published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I came across an article titled This Year It's a Weed--Pull It.

It's a simple enough story of weeding a field of corn; however, the narrator finds a large potato plant. It's not a weed but it's not what is currently growing in that field. That year, the potato was a weed.

I learned that "obedience is not just making a right choice but making a right choice in the right season...Satan deceives us by convincing us to do the right things in the wrong order: sexual intimacy before marriage, dating before age 16, becoming a parent and then getting married, and so forth. The greatest commandments of God, when compromised or polluted, become plants grown out of season—weeds."

What a profound teaching! And how true it is! Satan is the father of all lies, although he'll often add a dash of truth to the equation to convince us of his lies. The ability to create life is incredible! The blessing of being with an eternal companion is wonderful! But we need to make sure we are not cultivating these blessings in the wrong year. We need to obey God, but more important we must trust and follow his time frame, not only in deed but in our hearts and minds as well. We need to focus on righteousness, and avoid the distractions of things that may be good, but are not the best for us now.

Friday, July 15, 2011

...With Music

I've always loved to sing. I remember when I was younger I would sing all the time at home, but I was never very comfortable with my singing voice. Throughout the years I've grown to have more trust in myself and how I sing. I love when I have opportunities to sing, whether it's just while I'm in the shower, at church, or singing in front of other people.

The other day I was visiting an older woman, Margaret. She brought up the music she heard in church and I started singing the hymn she mentioned without much thought to it. She sat quietly until I had finished the song and then simply said, "sing another." My companion and I sang song after song and the spirit was so strong. I could tell that Margaret appreciated music that praised God and Jesus Christ.

After almost an hour of singing she sat contemplating the songs we had song, and then brought up The Lord's Prayer set to music. She told us of the day her father passed away and that she sang this song at his funeral. I'd never heard of it before, so she encouraged us to look it up. I was touched as I listened to the music and I hope you will be too. Margaret has asked that I learn this song so we can sing it together. I hope that if I do learn it I can do it justice.

Monday, July 11, 2011

...With a Currant Bush

As a man went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say: “How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”

The man replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’” (As Many as I love, I Rebuke and Chasten)

"A nice story," you may think, or maybe you're are thinking "What is up with this weird story about a talking bush?" But this story has had quite the impact on me these last few weeks. 

God is the gardener. We are the bush. How many times have you felt your life cut apart, and the things you care about thrown in the compost pile? It's not a very joyful experience. However, think about something you did or said ten years ago. I'd venture to say that you'd do or say that completely different now. Why? Cause like that currant bush we all get cut down but the Gardener  know what's in store for us. He sees that by trimming us here and there he sets us up for a better, glorified future.

Friday, July 1, 2011

...With Children of God

I LOVE this video! I think it's wonderful and I hope you enjoy it too! Remember that you too are a child of God.
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