Symbols of the House of Israel in Scripture

Hi everyone! In order to prepare us for studying our next chapter (1 Nephi 21) in the Isaiah in the Book of Mormon series, we need to understand some symbols. This is a quick little video to help introduce those.

Enjoy!

 

Oh, and I hope that you are looking forward to General Conference April 2017 this weekend as much as I am. Click on the link above to find out how to watch it. 🙂 So exciting!!!

Thank you so much for watching and sharing!


Pictures used in this video: 

 

 

Family Scripture Study Idea: Seminary Reading

It’s that time of year again, we’re getting close to the end of third term and the end of the school year is in sight. About now, there are several students that are finding out that they can’t pass seminary without reading the book of scripture that they have been studying, and they are running out of time! Of course, there are those kids who do the reading on their own (which is phenomenal and should be encouraged!) however, there are some that may need a little help. For those in that position (or for anyone who could use it) this idea is for you – to add that encouragement and help, while still doing your family Book of Mormon reading.

Topics that are found in this video:

Scripture verses that we use in the video:

Ezekiel 37:15-17

Talks for further study:

The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion, President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1986

Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon, President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1988

A Reservoir of Living Water  Elder David A. Bednar, BYU Speeches, February 2007

The Blessing of Scripture, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, April 2010

 

 

Finding Principles – A Scripture Study Tool 1 Nephi 20:14-22)

Part 4 finishes 1 Nephi chapter 20 covering verses 14-22 in which we discuss a very important part of scripture study – finding principles. We turn to Elder Richard G. Scott to learn what principles are and practice locating them. I know that studying this way can totally transform your scripture study!

I also wanted to mention that creating these videos is a work in progress!!! You’ll find that I get better and better at creating them. For example, I realized a few videos after this one that I needed to make a few seconds of pause in the video when I ask the viewer to pause (so that you aren’t flailing about trying to find the pause, or needing to rewind to find what you missed [rewind … ha ha! I am such a nineties girl! ;)] ). So, heads up for this one –  the stops are very quick! I sincerely  apologize, but promise, that if you bear with me, my methods will get better!

Enjoy!


Topics that are found in this video:

  • Scripture study tools
    • finding principles in the scriptures
    • marking similar words/phrases
  • The Lord and His Prophets
  • Leaving worldliness behind us
  • Moses cleaves the rock
  • No peace for the wicked

Scripture verses that we use in the video:

 

Videos Referenced in this Video:

Media References (special thanks to):

Wikimedia Commons


Please feel free to share your thoughts with me, either in the comments here or on YouTube. Thanks for your support!

 

Still Called to the Work – Now What? 1 Nephi 20:14

Part 3 of our Isaiah in the Book of Mormon series begins to explore two things that we should do now that we know that we’re still called to the work of the Lord. One is scripture study (and this video introduces a way of marking and breaking verses down for clarity and understanding) the second is to think about prophets and what the Lord does to sustain and uphold them, and by extension what we can do to uphold and sustain them as well.

Finally, this lesson begins a little history segment about Babylon and the Chaldean nation that shows the Lord upholding and sustaining the prophet’s words.

Enjoy!


Topics that are found in this video:

  • Scripture study tools – marking
  • The Lord’s prophets
  • History – Babylon and the Chaldeans
  • Meaning of the term Babylon in scripture


Scripture verses that we use in the video:

Media References (special thanks to):

Moses cleaves the rock in the wilderness  Old Testament Stories LDS.org

 

 

Wikimedia Commons

 

Why is Israel still called to the work? 1 Nephi 20: 3-13

This is Part 2 of the Isaiah in the Book of Mormon Series. Sometimes we wonder why in the world the Lord would still work with disobedient Israel. Sometimes we wonder why in the world our Heavenly Father would still work with us. Let’s take a moment and explore some of those ideas.

Topics that are found in this video:

  • The kind of people that Ancient Israel tended to be.
  • Showing respect for the commandments.
  • Why does the Lord still work with obstinate Israel?
  • God is keeping His word to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.
  • God can fix broken things.
  • Remembering who God is and what is our relationship to Him.

Scripture verses that we use in the Video:

Media References (special thanks to):

  • LDS Media Library
    • The Ark Passes over the Jordan, by James Tissot
    • Moses Reading the Book of the Covenant at Mount Sinai, by Clark Kelley Price
    • Moses Calls Aaron to the Ministry, by Harry Anderson
    • Abraham and Isaac, by William Whitaker
    • Abraham Taking Isaac to Be Sacrificed, by Del Parson
    • Israel Blesses Ephraim with the Birthright, D. Keith Larson
    • Solomon’s Temple, by Sam Lawlor
  • LDS scripture maps
  • Morguefile.com
    • Iron Bars, by Erean
    • Furnace, by Erdene Bayar
    • Rusty Iron, by Quicksandala
    • Eiffel Tower, by Denna

What’s the Difference Between a Saint and a Sinner?

What’s the difference between a saint and a sinner?

It’s really simple. Are you ready?

A saint repents. And then sins, and repents again. And then makes another mistake, and (you guessed it) repents again. I’m not talking about a person who laughs at sin and continues to do it, knowing that they can “just repent later”, but real people, with real addictive behaviors, working each day, hand-in-hand with God, to repent and try to be better.

You may think that I’m being trite, but I’m not.

A sinner either thinks that there is no need for repentance (is in denial that there is such a thing as sin) or thinks that he/she is so bad that they are incapable of God’s love, or is mad at God and doesn’t want anything to do with Him … right now.

All of it is a matter of the heart. Let’s go to the scriptures to see what the Lord has to say  –

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).

I love that one. I love that the Lord wants to sit down and “talk shop” with us, “let us reason together“.

Here’s another one I love. This is for when the devil tells me that there is a quota on repentance –

But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven (Moroni 6:8).

Here’s one for when the devil tries to tell me that I’ve gone beyond the point of repentance, that the Lord is so disgusted with me that He doesn’t want to be around me –

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). 

And if that doesn’t work, I like this one –

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31).

But perhaps, one of my favorite scriptures of all, and the reason that saints go on repenting, and trying to be better –

Behold … I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love (Doctrine and Covenants 6:20).

A saint has felt the love of God in the most quiet reaches of the heart, in a place where no one else has access, and then desires always to have that love with them. Being a disciple of Christ is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work.  But the rewards are peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23).

And here is the best part of this whole discussion. You and I and everyone around us can change from a sinner to a saint at any moment. Right now in fact. It is a matter of the heart. Going to God and confessing (telling Him what we did wrong) and forsaking (promising to not do it again), and if we mess up, confessing and forsaking again until we get better and better at making the distance between the sin and the repentance smaller and smaller. Until, eventually, we decide that we love God more than the sin and so we choose to pray through the temptation instead of committing the sin and praying after. Then, we begin to change our lives … to not be where the temptation is so readily available, to replace the bad in our lives with good.

We can do it. The Lord believes in us. I know that is true.

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, …
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand (How Firm a Foundation, Hymn # 85).

Ogden Temple Open House

Ogden temple Open house

Recently, we went through the Ogden Temple. Usually, before a temple is dedicated, the Church allows visitors to tour through the temple in an Open House format. They totally reconstructed it, and it is stunning!

We had been telling the girls that they would be going, but until I stopped them and said, “we’ll be going through the parts that you won’t be able to see until you are much older, and you can see the areas that you can choose to get married in someday” that they started to pay attention.

If you are in the area, I highly recommend taking your family and going. It is so beautiful, and even without it being dedicated there is an amazing spirit there. You can get reservations here and it will continue until Saturday, September 6th, 2014. You don’t have to be a member of the LDS faith to attend, and is truly worth your time.

On another note, I wanted to share this really wonderful conversion story. Not only did it have a beautiful and touching message, but I was struck by the visual artistry.

We watched it for Family Home Evening tonight, my daughters loved the, “they prayed over the hot dogs” line.  Enjoy!

 

Healing vs Fleeing

Riding without training wheels

Long-term healing. The Balm of Gilead. Recover, Refresh, Renew. The Savior is said to “arise with healing in His wings” (“wings” in the bible means the power to act and do) see Malachi 4:2.

This is the topic of today’s musings, but first, I want to start with a milestone that we reached in our house this week.  We taught two children to ride bikes without training wheels (my nephew and my six-year-old daughter).  What a miracle! Their faces beaming with delight and satisfaction. They can propel themselves forward, they can balance, they have joined the ranks of the big kids – what an accomplishment!

So, how do these ideas relate? (I’m sure you’ve figured it out already, but I’ll draw the analogy anyway!)

As we began the bike lessons, my little girl and I started with prayer (see 2 Nephi 32:9).  In her prayer, she asked Heavenly Father to help her so that she wouldn’t fall.  Well, you can’t learn to ride a bicycle without falling.  It just isn’t going to happen.  So, I took her lovingly in my arms and told her that.  Then, we spent the first little while learning how to take a fall. After she got good at that, we began to work on balance. It was hard, tiring, frustrating work. She fell, but she had learned how to deal with it, and she kept getting up. Eventually, she began to go a few lengths after I let go of the bike seat. Then a few more, until she went several houses, and finally the whole street. She was so far ahead of me that I had to run quite a way to catch up. The absolute JOY on her face was so priceless (see the picture above) after she did it.  It made all of the work so worthwhile.

Life is so similar, isn’t it.  Looking at the big picture can remind us of why we are here having to deal with all of these mortal issues.  It’s so that we can have JOY (2 Nephi 2:25). So that at the end of it all we can have experience (D&C 122:7). So we can become someone better than we are now (1 John 3:2-3).

But, it will mean that there will be some falls. Major, epic, difficult, heart wrenching falls (D&C 101: 2-5 & Hebrews 12:11).

Let me share some thoughts on the subject that I came across this week in an amazing talk.

What then is healing, and why should we seek it? My favorite talk on the subject of healing is a BYU devotional given by Elaine S. Marshall in 2002 entitled “Learning the Healer’s Art.” I strongly recommend you study it. I assign it in every class I teach, from undergraduate to doctoral level. I suggest you read it more than once. Listen closely to her definition of healing:

On [my] first day as a nurse, I assumed cure, care, and healing to be synonymous. I have learned they are not the same. Healing is not cure. Cure is clean, quick, and done—often under anesthesia. . . . Healing, however, is often a lifelong process of recovery and growth in spite of, maybe because of, enduring physical, emotional, or spiritual assault. It requires time. . . .

. . . It requires all the energy of your entire being. You have to be there, fully awake, aware, and participating when it happens.4

Healing is much more than “getting better” or “having our problems go away.” Healing is growth, development, and maturation. In a word, healing is change. It takes time and energy and struggle, but healing teaches us. As Marshall said:

Healing can help us to become more sensitive and more awake to life. . . . Healing invites gifts of humility and faith. It opens our hearts to . . . truth, beauty, . . . and grace. 5

But remember, even with all that beauty and growth and grace, healing does hurt.

Some people I have had the privilege of working with over the years have had a hard time reconciling the fact that healing requires suffering and yet is a gift from our Savior. How is it that a loving God would allow us to suffer? I have come to realize that my Savior cares more about my growth than He does about my comfort. One evidence of His love is that He does not spare me from the suffering I need for my development and progression, even when I get mad at Him. As a client once told me, “I used to feel guilty for getting mad at God. Then I realized He can handle it.”

And, unlike other humans, He does not punish me when I am mad or hold a grudge or remind me of it the next time my heart is right and I ask for His help.

The above talk, Healing = Courage + Action + Grace,  was absolutely phenomenal. It was given by Jonathan G. Sandberg on January 21, 2014.  It is WELL worth your time, as is reading the footnotes. I know that sounds weird, but I’m serious. He has given copious notes for extensive study, and well as additional thoughts on the quotes that he referenced in the talk. You can read the entire transcript here, or watch it here –

Along with this, I need to address another part of healing. Yesterday, my older daughter and I had to have a hard talk. It was about some negative actions that she has been repeatedly doing.  As we talked she cried and yelled, denied, and cried some more. Finally, she said, “Mommy, it’s just that when we talk about this stuff, it hurts. I feel so bad!”

I know it hurts.  I ache right along with her, but we needed to address the behavior, we needed to find solutions, and NOT run away from the difficult work. (As a side note, today, when the behavior happened, she followed the protocols, exactly the way that we worked it out, thus saving us grief and frustration. What an AMAZING little girl!)

Another thought from Sandberg’s talk –

[W]e have to be courageous to face the truth regarding what needs to change in our lives. This type of intense introspection requires tremendous honesty with ourselves. As Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32; see also 2 Nephi 28:28), but that is usually only after it hurts us first. Most of what I know about the courage to heal I have learned from clients. I have noticed among those who do find healing a real commitment to learning the truth about themselves, which is never easy.

I am so amazed at my beautiful children. I am amazed that they trust me to work with them, whether it’s learning to take a fall, ride a bike, or having a hard talk which will change behavior for the good.

I wonder, sometimes, if the Lord feels the same way about us. Is He thrilled right along with us as we learn to bear up under our burdens just a little bit more? Is He thankful when we offer true forgiveness and understanding to those who have caused us pain and frustration? Does it bless His life when we ask for His gifts and powers to enable ours? Is He thankful when we serve and bless others, especially when He asks the first time?

The truth is, although we may pray and ask Heavenly Father to help us so that won’t fall, life doesn’t work that way.  You can’t live in mortality without falling.  It  just isn’t going to happen.  So, when we do fall, we have some choices. We can flee and hide. That is our right and privilege as Beings with agency. We never have to learn to ride a bike. We never have to have hard talks.  But then we will never grow.

Or, we can choose to allow the Lord to take us lovingly His arms and spend some time learning how to take a fall. We can choose healing when we fall. We can choose to keep going, to keep learning, even when it hurts. We can choose to be comforted by that Being who has healing in His wings. And through these experiences, if we choose healing, then we will be able to join the ranks of “the big kids”.

 

Character – The Legacy That Lasts

42 The Jackie Robinson Story

 

A while ago, I watched the movie, 42: The Jackie Robinson Story  – it’s a great movie about baseball, but like most movies about sports, it’s not just about baseball. There is one scene in particular that teaches the principle that I want to discuss today, but a little background, first. Jackie Robinson was the first black player to play on a major league baseball team at a time when there were many, many social injustices and much prejudice and hatred.

In the scene that’s our focus, the Dodgers were playing the Phillies on April 22, 1947. During that game, the manager of the Phillies, Ben Chapman was being so vehement, cruel and vile in his insults toward Robinson who finally almost loses it, but instead of railing back against Chapman, Robinson goes down under the stadium and takes his frustrations out on the wall with a bat. Then the owner of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey (the man that hired Robinson, and a devout Christian) comes to talk to him and this is their conversation (the first line, I paraphrased a little, but that’s the jist of it.) –

Robinson: Next white person to say something, I’m going to smash his teeth in.

Rickey: You can’t do that, Jack.

Robinson: I’m supposed to just let this go on?

Rickey: These men have to live with themselves.

Robinson: I have to live with myself, too. Right now, I’m living a sermon out there.

Rickey: You don’t matter now, Jack. You’re in this thing. You don’t have the right to pull out from the backing of people that believe in you, that respect you, that need you.

Robinson: Is that so?

Rickey: If you fight, they won’t say that Chapman forced you to. They’ll say that you’re in over your head. That you don’t belong here.

Robinson: Do you know what it’s like having somebody do this to you?

Rickey: No. No. You’re the one — living the sermon. In the wilderness. Forty days. All of it. Only you.

Robinson: There’s not a … thing I can do about it.

Rickey: Of course there is! You can get out there and hit! You can get on base and score. You can win the game for us. We need you. Everybody needs you! You’re medicine, Jack!

 

Earlier in the movie, when offering the contract to Robinson, Branch Rickey said that there was one condition for him to be able to play. Could he control his temper?  Rickey said:

“I want a player who’s got the guts NOT to fight back. People aren’t gonna like this. They’re gonna do anything to get you to react. Echo a curse with a curse and they’ll hear only yours. Follow blow with a blow and they’ll say, ‘the [black man] lost his temper.’ That ‘the [black man] does not belong.’ Your enemy will be out in force and you cannot meet him on his own low ground. We win with hitting, running, fielding. Only that. We win if the world is convinced of two things: that you are a fine gentleman and a great baseball player. Like our Savior – you gotta have the guts – to turn the other cheek. Can you do it? “

Now, I realize that dialogue and elements of the film were dramatized (as they pointed out at the end of the movie). But what is the legacy that Jackie Robinson left? The number 42 is the only number that is retired in baseball, and every year, in April, all of the Major League players wear #42 on their uniforms as a reminder of Robinson’s accomplishments.

At the end of the day, what matters? What is the legacy that you leave? Your character.

Of course you could fight back, railing for railing, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, but who does that bless?

When we engage with others (ESPECIALLY when we don’t agree with them) there is a need for character “at all times, and in all things and in all places” (see Mosiah 18:9).

They have to live with themselves.

They have to face the great Judge of all Mankind, just as you do. There will be mercy and there will be justice.  But, as I’m trying to teach my children, the only one that you can ever really do anything about, truly, is you. You are the one living and teaching the sermon, and if you let the teachings of the Lord change you, change your heart, then your fruits will be of great worth. We cannot bear good fruit if we don’t do it in the Lord’s way. (see John 15: 1-8 and Matthew 7: 16-20).

Because of Him

 

Happy Easter!

I love spring.  I love watching the tiny green buds on the trees begin to sprout into delicate white and pink flowers.  We spent Saturday clearing out the dead and old wood and leaves from our rose bushes and flower beds. Then, we planted new annuals and patched up the lawn.

What a time of renewal and refreshing!

It makes me think about my own life.  Physically and Spiritually, we have the ability to start again, just as nature does.  Cast off those old burdens, hurts and habits and plant something new into your life. It’s not to late to start with the gifts that you’ve been given and make of your life, body, home or family something new and beautiful.  Start small, start with what you have, pray to see how you can make things around you better.  You’ll be surprised at what wonderful ideas you’ll get from the Holy Spirit of little changes that will make your life feel transformed!

And it’s all because of the Savior that we can.

 

Finally –

When I was a teenager, a teacher (I can’t remember which, but I am indebted for the teaching)  introduced me to this quote-

Turn Life over to God

 

It was from a talk by then, Elder Benson at a BYU devotional on December 10, 1974, you can read the full talk here.

It is one that I have tried to follow all of my life, and it’s been quite an amazing journey.  But it’s far from over.

It’s time to start over, to not give up on being a better person, to recommit, to clean up, to try harder, to work stronger, to lift up more.  Experiment upon the word, (Alma 32) see if the LORD will do it for you, too!

It’s time to get busy, it’s a new season, it’s a new day!