I love this video. We watched it with our kids and discussed during scripture study this week. What a wonderful visual way to invite the Spirit and start a discussion about Easter.
I was recently talking with someone about the atonement and they talked about how it was SO hard to feel that the Savior had suffered for them. How it almost made them sick to think that someone else had suffered for them.
I can relate. None of us want someone else to be in pain because of something we did. None of us want to cause harm to someone else, and it makes us at least uneasy to think about that happening.
But, that does not change the reality. He did suffer for me. For my mistakes. For my weaknesses. For my insecurities.
On this day over 2000 years ago Jesus Christ suffered for me.
While He had every right to complain, every right to rebuke those that afflicted him, he did not.
Because He loves me.
Because He wants me to be able to return to Heavenly Father… and this was the only way. So he completed his task.
There is nothing more powerful than knowing and feeling that in my life (when I am strong enough to face it, and strong enough to admit it).
I am grateful today for Easter. Today is that Good Friday when the Savior completed his task.
I pray you may take some time today and the coming days to get on your knees and feel His personal atonement for you.
A few weeks ago we had a family vacation up to our family cabin. I have more memories and lessons learned at the cabin than almost any other place I can think of. The cabin sits at about 9500 ft in the Rockie mountains in northern Utah. During the winter months it is accessible only by snowmobile. My brother and I (in a moment of insanity) decided it would be fun to take ALL of our family up there… only 18 were able to make it… but it was still quite the task. Through some tender mercies of the Lord we were able to get everyone in and had a great time.
While we were there my (crazy) brother decided he wanted to shovel the deck off… as you can see in the picture to the right, that is no easy task. That balcony he is standing on is normally about 9 feet off the ground. All the snow from the roof falls on the balcony and then off the cabin. It was not a particularly heavy snow year, but there was at lest 5 1/2 feet of snow tall, 8 feet wide, and about 40 feet long (the deck goes for a while down the whole side of the cabin). I’m not mathematician, but I’m guessing that is around 1000 cubic feet of snow…
And it was wet and heavy in some spots…
And frozen solid in others…
I loved the idea of having the balcony for folks to go outside on and enjoy the beautiful view… but wow… I was already exhausted from getting everyone into the cabin (a post for another day).
But that didn’t discourage Brad. He went to work… shoveling… and digging… and shoveling… and digging. It didn’t take too long before he broke the shovel… but he found a new one… and kept digging. My 11 year old son joined him. I helped a little bit here and there… but mostly he did it himself. A few hours later he had cleared the deck except for a few spots for our cabin ‘fridge” and a bench for sitting. It was amazing, and a WONDERFUL place to go and sit while we were there.
There are so many lessons I could take from this experience, but the one that I find most powerful is how sometimes… every once in a while… there are people around us that are examples of the Savior in our lives. My brother was that example to me that day. There was a task that he saw that needed to get done. I looked at it and agreed it would be nice… but I could not do it. I could not. I was utterly exhausted. So Brad stepped in (which he did many times during this trip) and took the burden on himself. He shoveled the deck. He created a wonderful space for us to go and be together as a family. I’m sure he was tired, but he did not shrink from the task and he finished it for us.
Here is a great quote from M. Russell Ballard from the last general conference along the same lines
How grateful I am for a brother that sees a need and fills it, and for a Savior who did not shrink, but finished the job for us so we can have a heavenly home.
- Mosiah 2:17
- Matthew 25:40
- “Be Anxiously Engaged” – M. Russell Ballard
I came across a GREAT story yesterday about a couple in New Zealand that were asked to go before Parliament in defense of traditional marriage. Given all that is happening I thought it was appropriate to share this today. It is a bit long, but VERY worth the time to read it. A few things stuck out to me.
After they found out they were going to be asked to speak this is what she said:
“Our minds were swirling with all sorts of information and questions. Why us? What could we possibly say or share that could make a difference? There are so many wonderful talks, websites, research on marriage and the family. Where do we begin? We asked some friends and family for ideas but ultimately, we knew it was only between us and the Lord. We had about a week to prepare, and the pressure was intense–we prayed and studied constantly. We came to know, more than ever before, that the home is truly comparable to the Temple in terms of sacredness. We know that any outside influence from the adversary disrupts the process of receiving revelation and feeling the Spirit in our homes--which is precisely what Satan wants.”
Wow! What a testimony to me of how the Lord works in each and every one of our lives and how we need to be prepared at any moment to stand up and bear testimony of what we know. I think this is going to become more important for each of us as the word descends deeper and deeper into the depravity that is sweeping the world.
The last thing I want to share is a large portion of what she said to the New Zealand Parliament. It is not surprising that much of is is comprised of the Proclamation on the Family and the Spirit testifies so strongly as I read it of her role in speaking that day.
“There has never been a time, at least in recent history, when we have been confronted with more challenging problems in our homes and families. We need not remind you that the world we are in is a world of turmoil, and of shifting values. Shrill voices call out for one thing or another in betrayal of time-tested standards of behavior. So many of the youth of the world, and likewise so many of their elders, listen only to the voice of self-gratification. The moral foundations of our society have been badly shaken.
There are those who would have us believe in the validity of what they choose to call same-sex marriage. We know there are a small number of people in this country who have feelings of affinity for the same gender. We love and regard them as our brothers and sisters. However, we cannot condone so dramatically redefining marriage without serious and sobering consequences for our families, communities, education systems and long held religious traditions and institutions of this country.
With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, those who have gone before us--as if they were standing here today– would warn and forewarn on this bill to change marriage. In furtherance of this, I would like to reiterate our submission today with a reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which have been repeatedly stated throughout history.
We, as a husband and wife and as citizens of this country, proclaim our belief that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
All human beings--male and female--are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. By divine design, fathers preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers help one another as equal partners.
We stand with those who have gone before us and warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society. The accumulated wisdom of centuries declares with clarity and certainty that the strength of any nation is rooted within the walls of its homes. The institution that will save our broken society is not Parliament, it is the home.”
I pray this will help some of us find peace in the hate that is swirling around the internet today.
Many of you have probably heard there is a new edition of the scriptures. This morning I ran across the announcement on LDS.org and noticed there was a bunch of other material associated with this release that really strengthened my testimony of the scriptures. I pray it will strengthen you as well!! These two sections below are from the page above. There are some GREAT guidelines for study and blessings, and I love the history!
Heritage, Study, and Blessings
The Holy Bible inspired Joseph Smith to turn to his Heavenly Father in prayer, leading to the opening of the heavens and the restoration of the gospel in the latter days. Learn more about the heritage of our LDS scriptures, how other Saints apply them to their lives, and prophetic promised blessings we may receive through regular scripture study.Read more ›
Throughout the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, leaders and members have reverenced the text of the scriptures and deepened their understanding through the use of study aids such as dictionaries, cross-references, and the historical information given in chapter and section headings.See a history of the LDS scriptures ›
Last week my sweet mom invited me to lunch. I consider it one of my greatest blessings to live close to this matriarch of a woman and am grateful for her every day! I’ve never talked about her before on here so let me give you a little background.
My mom is a convert to the church. She has served in many, many callings including Stake RS president for like 7 years. She stayed home and raised us, but about 10 years ago after my youngest sister graduated from high school she went to college with her to get a degree in social work. She figures she has about 30 years of experience working with kids and marriage. :) About 1/2 through her schooling (about 5 years ago) her sweetheart, my wonderful Dad, passed away. She finished her bachelors and got a masters degree as well.
After she finished she was looking for a job for a while. During this time I used to urge her to just go serve missions. There was no need to go to work. She could sell her house and serve missions the rest of her life. In a way that only mom’s can do, she looked and me, smiled, and said: “Not right now. It’s not what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Eventually she got a job and worked for the state for a while, but at the beginning of this year felt (and I stress felt) it was time to open her own counseling business. So she quit her job and started her counseling business.
As we talked over lunch she told me of some of the wonderful work she was doing now in counseling. Nothing specific about people, but just that she was making a difference. The glow in her eyes and, more importantly, the Spirit that I felt testified that this was why she was not to serve a mission before. Her mission, at this time in her life, is to help people in a way that only she can help them. The Lord needs her counseling here now.
What a wonderful testimony to me about the importance of doing things in the Lord’s time and ALWAYS asking him what he would have us do before we do them.
Elder Bednar recently spoke (and I actually got to go and be an usher) here in Arlington. He said this: “I do not know all of the reasons, all of the purposes, and I do not know everything about the Lord's timing.” And then a just a paragraph or two later he says “Though I do not know everything about how and when and where and why these blessings occur, I do know and I witness they are real. I testify that all of these things are true--and that we know enough by the power of the Holy Ghost to bear sure witness of their divinity, reality, and efficacy.”
How grateful I am for the power of the Spirit that testifies to me of his plan for each of us.
Oh how I love the Sabbath day. A day of rest (kind of), a day of peace. This week I ran across this wonderful article written about bishops. As some of you may know, I have the privilege of serving as a bishop right now. My heart felt the burden of this calling as I read this article…. but my heart also wept for joy at the opportunity I have to do such a great work. To try to be an influence for good in the lives of others. This good brother hit it right on the head in so many ways.
So, I am led to ponder… amidst all the work that needs to be done, how I can make today a day of rest? Well… I think I’ve given up on the rest one.. But how I can make today a day of peace and worship while I fulfill my calling? I’m guessing that many of you are in the same boat.
There are certainly still times during the day when it is quiet. The Sacrament comes to mind. Do I sit and ponder about the atonement of the Savior during that time, or do I wonder and worry about all I have to do and look around the ward members. What needs to get done will get done. That is why I have an amazing Executive Secretary. During those quiet times I need to allow the Spirit to touch me. I need to close my eyes and talk to my creator about how my life is going. Ask him for his guidance and repent.
I am going to try to make sure that happens today! I pray you can as well!
What other things do you do to make sure today is a day of rest? How do you keep the Sabbath holy?
Found another great MormonMessage today that I hope will lift each of you up as well.
I just love this line: ”Being brave does not mean I am not afraid. Being brave means acting in faith. ” I know that many of you are struggling. Really having a hard time dealing with all the trials and burdens that are placed on your back. I pray that you will each find the bravery you need to have the faith in the Lord to sustain you.
There is a new MormonMessage out to get ready for General Conference. Share this video with your friends on Facebook and share the message!
“Through tears and trials, through fears and sorrows, through the heartache and loneliness of losing loved ones, there is assurance that life is everlasting. Our Lord and Savior is the living witness that such is so. His words in holy writ are sufficient: "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). I testify to this truth.”
- Thomas S. Monson – Peace Be Still – March 2013 Ensign