Thursday, December 29, 2011

...With New Beginnings

In the Bible is a story about God destroying a wicked city, but, being merciful, He warns the righteous to leave before it is destroyed. One righteous family being that of Lot. However, as Lot's family is leaving the city of Sodom he is told "look not behind thee...lest thou be consumed." (Genesis 19:17)

Later, as the family was leaving the city, God sent brimstone and fire out of heaven destroying the wicked. Then, longing for the joys of the past, Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

We all make mistakes. We all need a new beginning. Tomorrow starts today. We have a bright future ahead of us. It's the beginning of a new year. Now is the time to look forward and make new goals. "look not behind thee." The best is yet to come.

New Year's: Look not Behind Thee

...With Goals

It's the season of making goals. Often around this time we call them "New Years Resolutions." They tend to turn more into the January joke more than anything though. If you're anything like me, you have good intentions and a bright hope for the future. You make a goal and follow through with it...for a few days or weeks at least.

Why does that happen? What makes the difference, when a goal is made, that determines whether or not you'll succeed in your firm resolution?

Before we set a goal we should pray and meditate about it. Ask ourselves how important it is to us and how resolved we are to complete our goal. After we've determined the worthy goals opposed to the "time wasters" we need to write them down. I've heard it said that a goal not written down is merely a dream.

Along with writing down a goal, we must have a firm path on how we will achieve that goal. Fitzhugh Dodson said, "without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination." Set goals, attainable goals, and make a list of how you will accomplish it.

I was once talking to my sister about a goal she had set. She had about three months until she graduated high school and wanted to accomplish her "Personal Progress Award". I asked her what she was working on and how she would finish the award. Shrugging her shoulders she said "eh, I don't know."

Failing to plan, is planning to fail. Without setting a course, being determined, and knowing the reasons behind our goals, they are nothing but hopes and fading dreams. So before making your "New Years Resolutions" this year, reflect on how committed you are to them and what you can do to follow through with your goals so that they can be more than just good intentions.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

...With Worth

"Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God"
-Doctrine and Covenants 18:10

Too commonly we forget our great worth. We are children of a loving God. A God who knows us individually and wants us to be happy. "No matter what our circumstances, or appearance, or social status, our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to recognize our self-worth."

The world wants us to believe that we have to be updated with the most recent fashions, have more "friends" on facebook, or be the star athlete to have any worth. The Lord doesn't look at what grade we got in math or how many activities our children are involved in, He looks at our hearts.

Think of it! "The most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of our spirits. He knows us individually. He loves us with a perfect love." Satan tries to deceive us. "He attempts to focus our sight on our own insignificance until we begin to doubt that we have much worth. He tells us that we are too small for anyone to take notice, that we are forgotten—especially by God."

President Uchtdorf told a story of when he was in pilot school in Big Spring, Texas. He could hardly speak the language, he knew no one and little about the culture. He says "At the time, Big Spring, despite its name, was a small, insignificant, and unknown place. And I often felt exactly the same way about myself—insignificant, unknown, and quite alone."

Yet, he knew the truth. He continued, "I knew that it didn’t matter to Heavenly Father where I was, where I ranked with others in my pilot training class, or what my calling in the Church was. What mattered to Him was that I was doing the best I could..."

It is true! No matter where we are, no matter how insignificant we may feel, God knows and loves us. He created everything for us, but to Him we are everything. Let us not forget His love and His constant awareness of us. Ask Him. Pray and ask to feel His love more abundantly, or in a way you haven't felt it before, and I promise He will answer.

Friday, December 9, 2011

...With Symbols of Christmas

I love the Christmas season and its many traditions. There was one tradition my family has always done that has always stuck in my memory and is still my favorite part of the holidays: reading "Teach the Children." It's not one of the most well known story, but it will always be my favorite Christmas story.

To summarize, the story is about Santa Claus, sad and disappointed, pleading with the narrator to teach children what all the symbols of Christmas mean. He explains the following symbols:

1. The Christmas tree. Green is the second color of Christmas. The stately evergreen, with its unchanging color, represents the hope of eternal life in Jesus. Its needles point heavenward as a reminder that mankind's thoughts should turn heavenward as well.

2. The star. The star was the heavenly sign of promise. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was the sign of the fulfillment of that promise on the night that Jesus Christ was born. Teach the children that God always fulfills His promises, and that wise men still seek Him.

3. The color red. Red is the first color of Christmas. Red is deep, intense, vivid. It is the color of the life-giving blood that flows through our veins. It is the symbol of God's greatest gift. Christ gave his life and shed his blood for all that they might have eternal life. When we see the color red, it should remind us of that most wonderful gift.

4. The bell. Just as lost sheep are guided to safety by the sound of the bell, it continues to ring today for all to be guided to the fold. Follow the true Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep.

5. The lights. The glow of the candle represents how people can show their thanks for the gift of God's son that Christmas Eve long ago. Follow in Christ's footsteps; go about doing good.
Let your light shine before people that all may see it and glorify God. This is what's symbolized when the twinkle lights shine on the tree like hundreds of bright shining lights, each of them representing one of God's precious children's light shining for all to see.

6. The candy cane. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the church, and the firmness of God's promises. The candy cane form's a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth. It also represents the Good Shepherd's crook, which He uses to reach down into all ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray. The red stripes are the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed, and the shed blood of Jesus, so that we can have the promise of eternal life.

7. The red bow. The bow reminds us of the bond of perfection, which is love.  The bow tells the story of good will towards all and its color reminds us of Christ's sacrifice.

8. The wreath. The wreath embodies all the good things about Christmas for those
with eyes to see and hearts to understand. It contains the colors of red and green and the heaven-turned needles of the evergreen. Even its very shape is symbolic, representing eternity and the eternal nature of Christ's love. It is a circle, without beginning and without end.

9.  The holly leaf. The holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by the savior. The red holly symbolizes the blood shed by him.

10.  Santa Clause. Santa represents the spirit of family fun and the joy of giving and receiving.

11. Gifts. The wise men bowed before the Christ child and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We should always give gifts in the same spirit of the wise men.

12. The angels. It was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior's birth. The angels sang "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men."

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...