Wednesday, November 30, 2011

...With Shiny Rocks

There is a story in the Book of Mormon about a group of people who the Lord is leading to a promised land. The prophet of these people was directed on how to build barges, or ships, that would carry them across the ocean. He came across a few different problems though, one of them being that they had no source of light. The Lord told the prophet to think of a few ideas and then pray about it. The prophet then shaped stones, and carrying them to the top of a mountain, asked the Lord to touch each one, knowing that each stone would then shine bright. (See Ether 2-3)

As I read this story, the significance of the stones stood out to me more than past times when I had read it. I was amazed at the effort it would take to carry 16 large stones up a mountain, having faith that the Lord would perform the miracle you hoped for.

Symbolically we each have stones we need to carry up mountains to the Lord. In this same book of scripture we are told by the Lord: "if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficent for all men that humble themselves efore me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27)

When we bring those heavy, ugly stones up unto the Lord he can cause our weaknesses to be strengths, lighting our way. Our weaknesses can be made strong, and we can use those strengths to lead and help others.

"And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in the darkness, to give light unto men" (Ether 6:3)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

...With Comfort

Men's Hearts Shall Fail Them

This video brought me a lot of comfort and strength. I hope it brings you the same. There are so many challenges in life, some larger than others, but we often get discouraged. We feel lost, alone, hurt, and scared. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings relief. Let us turn to Him. He can make us whole. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

...With Sharing

I recently watched as a group of little girls played together. One little girl had brought with her five Pretty Ponies, another had brought only her doll. I watched as all the Pretty Ponies were handed out so each little girl could play with one -- all but little Sydney and her doll.

Whenever a girl wanted to play with a different pony she'd yell "trade!" and snag one of the other girl's pony, swapping it for her own. I watched as on occasion a girl would want to trade Sydney a pony for her doll. Sydney would yell and run away. Slowly inching back she watched as the girls played with the ponies and continued to ask for a pony to play with. Sydney didn't understand why the girls wouldn't share the ponies, yet she guarded her doll closely so that no one else could play with it.

The doll turned into the most coveted toy, and the group of girls grew increasingly agitated as Sydney tried to snatch at their toys, but not even let them see the doll she held. Eventually Sydney was convinced to join the group by working with them, using her doll to in turn stroke the mane of each little girl's pony.

I see similar complications as many religions try to work together. We need to be open with sharing our beliefs and willing to lovingly care and understand the religion of others. Sydney was worried the group of girls would ruin her doll, as I think many of us worry that others will misunderstand and mock our testimonies.

The less Sydney wanted to show her doll the less the girls wanted to be nice and play with her. We shouldn't be ashamed of the beliefs we have. We need to be open in sharing our convictions and as we work with others, respecting their beliefs as well we can each grow closer as predominately Christian society.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

...With Caramel Apples

When I was in high school I had a young woman's leader who was a great cook! Many Sundays she would bring with her a treat to share after teaching us a lesson. One particular Sunday she brought beautiful caramel apples. They were coated with sprinkles and candy. You could smell the thick caramel from across the room. My mouth watered, and my stomach grumbled with anticipation for the sweet juices I'd soon be biting into.

As we all sat down to begin the lesson she passed the tray around and told everyone to go ahead and take an apple to enjoy while she taught us. Each of us greedily took one of the large coated apples and smacked our lips. I watched as everyone closed their eyes and took a great big bite. Excitedly I sunk my teeth into my apple as well. My teeth first sunk through soft, sweet caramel and then came in contact with a bitter onion. Gagging I spit it into my hand and turned to see all the other girls doing the same.

As the lesson went on I'd occasionally see a girl peel off a part of the candied caramel and try to enjoy at least a bit of the caramel onions. Although we all knew what was behind the caramel, it couldn't stop us from trying to enjoy at least part of it. However, it wasn't the same, there was a lingering onion taste to every piece of caramel.

Satan often tempts us with appealing things. He sugar coats the bitter temptations and presents us with what appears to be a great treat. Deceived, we don't examine what he puts in front of us and bite into trouble without realizing it until it's too late. Sometimes the sugar coating is thick and it takes a while before we realize the danger we've put ourselves in. We may try to dapple in sin, and say we're just having fun, only scraping off the good stuff, but the sin is still there. We must remember that "no man can serve to masters." (Mathew 6:24) We can not eat candy coated sin and say we're on the Lord's side. We need to examine our choices closely and choose God's way.
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