Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What Does God Think About Divorce?

As I was reading in Matthew 19:7-9; As Jesus explains the consequences of divorce, I found myself sincerely grateful that in this day of age I am married to a man that believes in keeping his marriage commitment. I understand the blessing that this is for myself and my children. I know that my circumstance is a gift to me from my God, and I respect and hold this blessing close to my heart. 

Because my husband and I met and married when I was in severe turmoil in my life, and because we married within six-months of meeting each other - it is easy to imagine that I did not always have such gratitude in my heart as a young lost soul.

In the chance that my experiences could be of benefit to another -I will share a small portion of the mercies that have brought me to this place of peace, Joy and trust that I have found through Him.

My husband is not a member of The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the time that I decided to be active in not only the church activities, but in my faith in the restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth, there was a period of time that I deeply struggled about what my future held as a woman whom is not sealed to her husband in the temple. I greatly desired to serve at the highest capacity as possible in the next life- this outwardly and inwardly posed problems for me which even those that were not of my faith often pointed out to me as they heard of the individual faiths involved in my marriage. Because of my spiritual development, yet lack of faith - I was in a nervous, and sad place. ( on Sundays most especially ). For awhile I responded poorly; hoping to hold my spirituality yet avoid the stirring of emotions that I did not have an eternal family or even the slightest hope that one could possibly result in my marriage partnership. Eventually I began to feel this sadness even when I was not at church and this was because I was thinking about the eternities and living with My Father in Heaven even when I was not at church and during each day. 

 Time passed and I had an experience which resembled that which was spoken of in John 11 as the account of Lazarus being sick was explained teaching that the sickness "  was not for death, but for the Glorifying of the Son of God " (vs.4). The experience that I had was also from Him to help ME to Glorify the Son of God as this experience would lead me to find  healing through Him.

My experiences put me on the path that He was paving for me to follow. 

First, I was given as a gift many scriptures to teach me humility, trust in God, and doing things in His way and after His will. 

Each time that I was given a scripture either in my personal studies or from another person, I  felt the spirit, and I knew that it had come from Him. 

1 Peter 3:1-6 

Wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of the plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God a great price. 

For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 

I held this scripture and pasted it on my mirror knowing that it was not my circumstance that needed to change in order for me to feel at peace and hopeful about my future in my Heavenly Father's presence - it was me that needed to change....

I continued the path that the spirit paved and along would come another jewel in the temple where I could never deny that My God was speaking directly to me through the scriptures as He stated to me from :

3 Nephi 22:5 

 For thy maker, thy husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel- the God of the whole earth shall He be called.

For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit; and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. 

For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. 

My second lesson to learn was that He is the only one that I need, and if I put Him first; He would gather me with great mercies. 

Third, I was taught that my children are greatly blessed and protected as I keep my temple covenants and as I serve as the spiritual leader in my home. 

1 Corinthians 7: 14 

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 

As I continued on the path that He paved for me I saw the blessings that my children gain as they watched a couple committed to each other, and a marriage work together despite different beliefs. I saw the ways that my husband was also being sanctified as he accepted and loved me despite my difference in choices like keeping the Word of Wisdom, Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, Not watching R Rated Movies and most PG 13s, Spending hours at the temple, Spending time serving in callings, Reading scriptures instead of the internet, etc - My husband also was and is being sanctified - for charity covereth a multitude of sins ( 1 Peter 4:8 ), and has and is learning charity towards me and my beliefs.

This list of scriptures that strengthened me and still guide me goes on...The experiences that I had and still have each day can not even be recounted on paper....

The path that I was on, and that I am currently on - is paved by Him- because He first walked my path as He went through trials, the Atonement and gave up all that He has for us all.  

I will never know a fraction, smidge, crumb, or slightest measure of all that He has gone through in order to pave this path that He has left as an example - But, I do know that His path shows me and all of us how we should treat everyone, and especially those that we have made covenants with and before God. ( Matt.19:6 ) 

As I work on, pray for, and care deeply about keeping my marriage covenants and doing so with joy - I can see the way that marriage helps me to become more like my Savior. I know and understand why we are made to be married ( Matt.19:4-5 ), and I know that marriage is ordained and looked upon pleasantly by our Father. 

The tender mercies keep flooding over to me as I go to the temple, read my scriptures, serve my children, my husband and all of my brothers and sisters upon this earth. 

I know without question that anyone whom desires to follow and do the Lord's will in their life will be given strength, guidance, tender mercies, and most of all joy as they make their journey towards Him. 

" Families are the Lord's workshop on Earth to help us learn and live the Gospel. " 
                                                           - Cheryl A. Esplin 

I am so thankful that the Lord has allowed my husband to be patient with me and that He has blessed me with a marriage that is watched over and guided by Him. 

I am learning to not worry about eternity because eternity is part of now, and the Lord has taken me this far, and He has truly blessed me with joy in my journey. I know that my Father knows how to give good gifts to those that love Him, and I most certainly love Him with all my heart. ( Matt. 7:1, 1 Corinthians 2:1 ) 

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Love Him

As I read in Luke 10 this week I noticed a theme given by Jesus Christ; over and over again: 

Love God by keeping your eye single to Him

Over the years there is something that I am learning through my dealings and relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. What I have been learning is that: My Father whom is in Heaven and Jesus Christ do not desire for me to love Them more than anything else - for Them. 

They ask and desire for me to love Them with my eye single to Them- for me.

My Father in Heaven understands that every material thing or every person that I give my love to - more than Him - through means of time spent, thoughts made, actions created, or words spoken, - will never stand the chance of reciprocating, or even be nearly close to reciprocated at the same degree as it would have been - if only my love had been directed towards Him - with my eye single to Him. He knows that my love single and first to Him is everlasting through joy, knowledge, the spirit, and a multiplicity of blessings gifted to those whom love Him. ( 1 Corinthians 2: 1 ) 

Although when reading this chapter Christ comes out and states right out to the Lawyer whom asked " how to receive eternal life? " that one must, " Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind...." ( Luke 10:27 ) 

I gained a deeper meaning of what that looks like when I Love Him first; only a few verses later as the story of Mary and Martha is written in Luke 10: 38-42. 

 Jesus Christ was in the home of Martha. Martha's sister Mary was with them in this home. ( vs.38 )

It is explained that Mary rather than preparing, doing chores,and serving the way that women gain appraisal from (especially in those times) is found at the feet of Jesus hearing His words. ( vs.39 ) 

This was upsetting to Martha and not only does she accuse Jesus of not minding that Mary is not doing what women gain appraisal from, but she also asks Jesus to correct Mary. ( vs.40 ) 

Following this suggestion Jesus Christ teaches powerfully that there is " ONLY ONE THING " that we need to do in our lives which is love Him. We see the " One thing being needful " teach again to have our eye single to Him, and then Jesus teaches why we should have our eye single to Him, and why loving Him is the only thing that we should do as He states:

" Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." ( vs.42 ) 

Heavenly Father and Jesus know that the home that we may be building with fine materials, decorating with beautiful designs, or perhaps the career we sacrifice energy, time and relationships for, or perhaps the tv shows, movies, cars , sports teams, or toned body that we workout for ; are all going to end, and they know that they are going to be taken from us. 

What Mary was choosing was to love God and to keep her eye single to Him. She was not trying to impress anyone with her food, her home, or her skills; she was simply listening with all her heart because she loved Him, and her love for Him can produce much like; spiritual gifts that will touch others lives, unfailing faith that will give her strength through her trials, an ear tuned into the whispering of the spirit which will warn, teach her, and much more....

As I think of these things I consider myself. Although I do not have the Savior standing right in front of me with the chance to sit at His feet and learn from Him; I do have His words right in front of my face as His words are stored in my phone that I so frequently look at. I wonder how many times I am like Martha whom was " worried and careful " to the point that there was no place left in her mind for the things of the Lord? I consider lastly which of my motivations are rooted solely in my eye being single to His glory, and which are not?

I know with all of my heart that everything that the Lord teaches and asks of us are all for our good and because He wants to bless us with more. I will be seeking to choose Him first and show Him that I love Him more. 

3 Nephi 13 : 

22 The light of the body is the eye; if , therefore thine eye be single , thy whole body shall be full of light. 

24  No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye can not serve God and Mammon. 

I say this in the name of My Beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

" Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way towards becoming like Him, our perfect example. Our way of life, hour by hour, must be filled with the love of God and love for others. There is no surprise in that, since the Lord proclaimed those as the first and great commandments. It is the Love of God that will lead us to keep His commandments. And love of others is at the heart of our capacity to obey Him. "

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Harvest is Great

In Luke 10 verse 2 the message the Savior gives to His apostles and seventy, (which He had " appointed " vs.1 ) , allows us to see that He is not only calling those apostles, seventy or even the missionaries to do His work; but any " Labourer " that would be willing. We see Christ instruct these seventy and apostles to pray to be able to find more         " labourers".
Luke 10:2
Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
As I consider the disheartening fact that Jesus Christ - The One whom has given His life, and all that He has - to bring men the chance for immortality and eternal life - does not have enough followers whom desire to work for Him - I can't help by consider why? Why do people not want to work for our Savior in His cause and His work?
Perhaps we think we are not called to do His work of sharing the gospel, ministering on His behalf or that we are not responsible for building His kingdom upon the earth?
To me this scripture account shows that Christ does not only want to find individuals whom would be willing to believe in Him and repent - He wants individuals to be found that would be willing to also "Labour" for Him. ( Labour is a word that suggests work beyond just belief )
Another consideration that I had  pertained to some of my own distractions that sometimes keep me from focusing on little ways that I could be sharing the gospel or " labouring " for Him.
The scripture that came to mind in Matt.8:21-22 taught me. In this scripture one of Christ's disciples tells Christ that He would like to follow Him and come with Him onto the boat, but he explains that his father has passed away and he would like to go bury him first?
Matt. 8:21-22
And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury the dead.
As Christ tells this disciple " let the dead bury the dead " He is basically saying those whom are not willing to " labour" for me can bury your father, come - don't let your work wait.
I remember all the times that I have told myself that I needed to get one more thing done before I could follow a prompting that I had concerning a  way that I can " labour for Him".
I remember the times that I have told myself " what I am doing is good . I can pray more fervently about ways to " labour " for Him tomorrow".
As I read this instruction from Christ to His disciple I understand that we can be distracted by good things that we should and can do in our lives, but first and for most we should pray about which way that He would like us to " labour " for Him that day? And whom can we reach out to that day? Perhaps there is a person whom would desire to " labour " for Him with an invitation by us, and the confirmation of the spirit - if only we shared?
In the Oct.2013 General Conference our Beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson echo's Christ's message to His apostles and disciples :
"Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work." - ( Welcome to Conference , Thomas S. Monson )
I want to be my Savior's " labourer ". I want to help find those individuals whom love Him and desire to have the fullness of His gospel. I pray that I can more fervently seek to find His will for me each day, and whom I can reach out to and help share the gospel with, for Him.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Glory to God The Eternal Father

Principle 1 –

We should give God the Father the Glory

As I read in John 8, I saw over and over the principle that Jesus taught about giving God the Father the glory. Jesus credits God many times in this chapter and He also teaches us that this is what we should do in order to follow Him. I appreciate these witnesses in regards to the manner that we should worship because I have been told that I should pray to Jesus specifically, or that I am not giving Jesus credit because I believe in God the Father as a separate individual. As I read these verses I am thankful to know that I am following Jesus Christ’s example as I pray the way that Jesus did to “ Heavenly Father “ ,( Luke 11: 1 ), and as I do this I am following Jesus's example, and instructions. 

John 8: Jesus states all these things 

26 – He that sent me is true,
I speak to the things I heard Him say
28 – I do nothing of myself but that the Father taught me
29- I do always the things that please Him
42 – Neither I came of myself but He that sent me
49- I honor my Father
50- I seek not mine own glory

Furthermore, a witness as to how we should worship is given the explanation from Jesus. Verse 39-41 explains that a person does the same kind of actions as the one that they follow. So likewise, as we follow Jesus Christ, we will do what He does- which is give God the Father our prayers and thanks that He sent His Son – Jesus Christ – as our Savior and the only means by which we can come back to Him.

John 8 :
 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, we be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

I  know that as I seek to follow the manner of behavior and actions of that of my Beloved Savior, I will be most pleasing to My Father in Heaven ( vs. 29 ) , and because I will be doing Christ’s same works I will be His disciple ( vs. 31 ) and essentially His adopted child as well.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mount of Transfiguration

 As I consider the events on the Mount of Transfiguration in Luke 9, Mark 9, and Matt. 17, 
I find a remarkable witness of God, our Eternal Father's desire for us to have all that we need to help bring us back to Him. 

Seeing the Savior present on the Mount of Transfiguration I have pondered the strength that the events on that mount, and the ways that they must have  prepared Jesus Christ to take upon Himself our sins. Despite my amazement at that event I am also called to the witness that this account gives us in regards to God's pattern of prophets and correct authority to lead His church on the earth. 

First, the fact that Jesus Christ Himself prayed to God, the Father " all night " in order to choose His apostles only chapters prior in Luke 6: 12-17 is a great witness to how important it was that the correct individuals be called as apostles, and even more importantly- set apart - or given the authority from God. 

Second, we know that six days before Jesus would take Peter, James and John to the mount, Jesus had explained to Peter what his calling was to be after He left the earth ( the prophet ), as Christ stated, 

  • New Testament
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven : and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven: and what whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.  

Third, We see another example of prophets being under authority, or set apart in a similar account that is given in the Old Testament, Exodus 24:9-11 as Moses was called up to Mount Sinai along with his three counselors and the Seventy- which were also set apart for the calling to serve. 

As I Know that the prophets, the seventy, and leaders of the church are required to be in authority from God, I am  given comfort to know that God has not left us alone on this earth to be " tossed about by every wind of doctrine " ( Ephesians 4: 14 ). We do have current guidance and revelations being given even in our day. ( Consider The Proclamation to the World that was written almost 20 years ago )

Lastly, I urge you to consider these things with me : What are those " keys" that Jesus Christ was referring to when He told Peter that he would receive them? Why would Jesus Christ take the time to " pray all night " to choose His apostles if His church could be led by anyone who decided they wanted to start a church? 

Keys symbolize power because they are given to those
who are judged trustworthy. . . . In the Old Testament keys belong
to the steward of the house, the trusted servant, the one that the
master has chosen for the household affairs
Thus, in the biblical
context, keys are dual images of trust and responsibility. 
 For the
one who gives the keys, they are symbols of trust and belief in the
character of the steward. For the one who receives the keys, they
are symbols of responsibility
While Jesus taught the Jewish leaders
that keys control access to revelation (see Luke 11:52), his statement
implied that, because the Jewish leaders did not fulfill their
responsibility in accessing and teaching the truth, they had lost the
keys which they had once 
held. The biblical references to keys
(Is. 22:22; Matt. 16:13–20; Luke 11:52; Rev. 1:18; 3:7) imply that
there are several keys associated with the kingdom of 
As two of the foremost prophets in the Old Testament with
roles that embodied trust and responsibility, both Moses and
Elijah held keys for the governing of the kingdom
. “
                                  -   RykenWilhoit, and Longman discuss the meaning of keys in biblical texts.

I am thankful to know that not only does God answer my prayers individually to myself, but that His church is organized after the same pattern, and process that He Himself set up in our witness of the New Testament - in the pattern of prophets with authority.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Seek Ye First The Kingdom of God

Putting it All Together – Emily Turano

In Matt.13 Jesus Christ gives better understanding of what those in the “Kingdom of Heaven " will have done in order to be there. 

In this chapter Jesus gives many examples of “the Kingdom of Heaven” but my personal favorite reads: 

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant man seeking goodly pearls, who when he found one pearl of great price went and sold all that he had and bought it. 

As I visualize this man searching for something good to buy, I see how many people are seeking for something good to spend their time and money on. I see how easy it would be to pick and choose many things of desire, rather than spending all that you have for one great gift - or essentially losing yourself for the Lord. (Luke 9:24) 

I am reminded of a scripture that my older sister Audrey shared with me.

2 Nephi 26:10 states that: 

They sell themselves for things of naught

This scripture is not only about money and buying things of no lasting value in terms of materials but it has a deeper meaning that correlates with what Christ was teaching in Matt.13. 

 To sell yourself or to sell something is to give away something for something else - like a trade.

We give away our time to work and in exchange we get money. 
We give away money to buy a gallon of milk. 

Essentially everything has a cost, and if we are not careful we may be making unwise trades that will not bring us into “The Kingdom of God." 

When we trade too much time for higher wages, hobbies, recognition in our employment, popularity, shopping, tasting, acquiring, and relaxing - we could be giving up deeper experiences that we could have had with God and our families during service to Him, magnifying callings, helping the poor, sick, and afflicted instead.

When we spend too much time on social media, or our favorite television show, 
We could be trading stronger faith and testimony as we have less time to devote to things that invite the spirit like scripture study, temple attendance, and strengthening bonds with immediate family members. 

We can hold a grudge, hang onto to our desires for justice and trade the peace that Christ's Atonement provides through healing as we turn our anger over to Him in humility. 

We trade acquired attributes like patience, faith, and charity when we make the choice to give up on people. Where we could have prayed for help and He would have taught us how to be more enduring and charitable, we could instead trade for the easy way out which is severing relationships. 

One of my favorite all time talks was written by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, titled “Swallowed Up in the Will of The Father ". 

In this talk Maxwell eloquently explains what it means to “choose first the Kingdom of God “by offering our whole selves unto Him as an offering. Maxwell states:

"To the extent that we are not willing to be led by the Lord, we will be driven by our appetites, or we will be greatly preoccupied with the lesser things of the day. The remedy is implicit in the marvelous lamentation of King Benjamin: “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13). For many moderns, sad to say, the query “What think ye of Christ?” (Matt. 22:42) would be answered, “I really don’t think of Him at all!”
"So many of us are kept from eventual consecration because we mistakenly think that, somehow, by letting our will be swallowed up in the will of God, we lose our individuality (see Mosiah 15:7). What we are really worried about, of course, is not giving up self, but selfish things—like our roles, our time, our preeminence, and our possessions. No wonder we are instructed by the Savior to lose ourselves (see Luke 9:24). He is only asking us to lose the old self in order to find the new self. It is not a question of one’s losing identity but of finding his true identity! Ironically, so many people already lose themselves anyway in their consuming hobbies and preoccupations but with far, far lesser things."Each of us might well ask, “In what ways am I shrinking or holding back?” Meek introspection may yield some bold insights! For example, we can tell much by what we have already willingly discarded along the pathway of discipleship. It is the only pathway where littering is permissible, even encouraged. In the early stages, the debris left behind includes the grosser sins of commission. Later debris differs; things begin to be discarded which have caused the misuse or underuse of our time and talent. "

I hope with all my heart that I can spend all that I have to fully consecrate myself and everything that I have for my Savior Jesus Christ and The Eternal Father, whom so lovingly gave me Him. 

My witness and testimony is that as I have come from a place of desire in my life that was self-centered and selfish in the past. I know from experience that devoting ourselves to Him and His work is what brings the very most joy that I have experienced. I don’t know if I will be able to live in His Kingdom yet, but I can honestly say that the thing that brings me the most joy is trying to help build His kingdom upon the earth- today.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.