Monday, February 28, 2011

Faith, Hope, and Charity

Moroni 7

v. 12 Wherefore, all things which are agood cometh of God; and that which is bevil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to csin, and to do that which is evil continually.

v. 13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do agood continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and benticeth to do cgood, and to love God, and to serve him, is dinspired of God.

v. 14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is aevil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

I love the simplicity of these verses, and the ones that follow.  How do you know what is good?  How do you recognize truth?  All things which are good come of God.  Everything which entices you to do good is inspired of God.
I think people are put off when they hear members of the Mormon church say "I know that this church is true."  It makes it sound like an exclusive country club, and that members only have access to the truth.  But that's not right.  Truth and godliness are all around us, everywhere, and can be found in the most unlikely of places.  Whenever I discuss faith or religion with anyone, I always look for common ground, for that shared light and truth that we have.  I find truth in the natural kindness of people, in the beauty of nature around me, in the order of science and the universe, and in the way sacred places make me feel.

That said, the reason I am a Mormon is because my religion to me is a never failing source of truth and goodness.  It is a place where I come and meet God and feel closer to Him and know Him better.  I have not yet run into a principle that has caused me to fight against God or entice me to sin.  My religion leads me to want to be a better person and to always do good continually.

v. 40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning ahope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?

v. 41 And what is it that ye shall ahope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have bhope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life ceternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

v. 42 Wherefore, if a man have afaith he bmust needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.

v. 43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be ameek, and lowly of heart.

v. 44 If so, his afaith and hope is vain, for none is bacceptable before God, save the cmeek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and dconfesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.

It seems that my studies have been so focused on faith lately that I've forgotten that faith is but one part of three important principles.  Faith, hope, and charity are necessary to each other, like three legs of a stool.  Hope is necessary before you can have faith.  Interesting, but hope seems easier than faith.  Yes, I hope to sit at the right hand of God.  Yes, I hope to be healed, in this life or the next.

v. 45 And acharity suffereth long, and is bkind, and cenvieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily dprovoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

This is a great checklist, a measuring stick if you will.  How am I doing?  The more I develop these qualities, the more charity I have and the more capacity I'll have to hope and to have faith.  If I feel my faith is lacking, then I can simply come here and see where I am weak.  Which leads me back to my studies yesterday -- I can humble myself and let God lead me to make my weaknesses strong.

v. 46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

v.  47 But acharity is the pure blove of Christ, and it endureth cforever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

v. 48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, apray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true bfollowers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall cbe like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be dpurified even as he is pure. Amen.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Faith Is Things Which Are Hoped For And Not Seen

Ether 12

v.3 ...dby efaith all things are fulfilled—

v. 4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with asurety bhope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which chope cometh of dfaith, maketh an eanchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in fgood works, being led to gglorify God.

The fruits of faith are hope for a better world.  All right, the burden of my chronic illness weighs heavily upon me right now, so I might think of a better world as one with better health.  A better world would also mean more peace and love in my home, more joy in my family, success and accomplishment through writing, deeper and more meaningful friendships, greater knowledge and understanding.  A better world is one where I have done something to make it better.
Faith maketh an anchor to the soul.  Anchoring, meaning grounding, keeping me in place.  Where would I wander?  In the valley of darkness and despair, away from my relationship with God and Christ.  


1. free from doubt as to the reliability, character, action, etc., of something: to be sure of one's data.
2. confident, as of something expected: sure of success.
3. convinced, fully persuaded, or positive: to be sure of a person's guilt.
4. assured or certain beyond question: a sure victory.
5. worthy of confidence; reliable; stable: a sure messenger.
6. unfailing; never disappointing expectations: a sure cure.
7. unerring; never missing, slipping, etc.: a sure aim.
8. admitting of no doubt or question: sure proof.
9. destined; bound inevitably; certain: sure death.
10. Obsolete . secure; safe.

1. fixed in direction; steadily directed: a steadfast gaze.
2. firm in purpose, resolution, faith, attachment, etc., as a person: a steadfast friend.
3. unwavering, as resolution, faith, adherence, etc.
4. firmly established, as an institution or a state of affairs.
5. firmly fixed in place or position.
Faith leads you to ALWAYS abounding in good works.   Which goes back to a better world, doesn't it?  If I am always trying to do good things, then I will be building a better world.

Finally, faith will lead me to glorify God.  I think this goes beyond praising him verbally, or even in my heart.  Glorifying God means to bring glory to Him.  I have faith in Him that He knows what is best for me, and that by submitting to His will, I am becoming what He knows I can become.  I am the work of His hands, and becoming what He is molding me into will bring Him glory.

v. 27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them.

I see a process here between these two verses.  God gives us a weakness.   We humble ourselves and have faith that He can help us overcome our weakness.  We have hope in our success, and then we work on it, sure and steadfast, always guided by our faith in Jesus Christ and our determination to keep our will in line with God.  He blesses us along the way, and we slowly see our weakness turned to strength.  The finished product brings glory to God.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Light in the Darkness

Ether 3

v. 1 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the amount, which they called the mount bShelem, because of its exceeding height, and did cmolten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent dglass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:

v. 2 O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be aangry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are bunworthy before thee; because of the cfall our dnatures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.

v. 3 Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been amerciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these bthings which I have molten out of the rock.

v. 4 And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all apower, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy bfinger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have clight while we shall cross the sea.

v. 5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which alooks small unto the understanding of men.

Everybody passes through dark times, trials and tribulations.  That is the nature of this life. "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance." Ecclesiastes 3:4  If you don't know bitter, you can't know the sweet.

So, I have to ask myself, have I done enough to prepare myself for this journey, for the storms that I knew would come?  And what am I doing now to provide light during these dark times?

I'm responsible for providing the light.  It's up to me to look for it and find it, and if I do, the Lord will bless it.  I suppose that's one of the lessons I am to learn from this. 

My lighted stones are:
My husband
My children
Scripture study
My writing
My friends
Good music
The flowers in my garden
The birds that visit me
The abundant sunshine outside
My internet supportive community
Stories from General Conference online
Good books

These are the things that bring me joy every day, that make me smile and feel happy, that make my burdens seem much smaller and less significant.  These things outshine my suffering and push it into the background of a very happy life. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Your Faith Is Sufficient

3 Nephi 17

v. 7 Have ye any that are asick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or bleprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will cheal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.

v. 8 For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your afaith is bsufficient that I should heal you.

v. 9 And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their ablind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.

v. 10 And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did akiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears.

This is a very difficult passage for me to read.  I have been chronically ill for four and a half years now.  I have prayed for healing, and those who love me have prayed for me to be healed.  I know that God can do all things, and that He has the power to heal me.  But He has chosen not to.  Not yet.
And when I read this passage, I wonder, is my faith sufficient?  Would He have healed me by now if I had had enough faith?  People have hinted to me that the answer is yes.  "You just need more faith..."

I have enough faith to bear this burden as long as the Lord deems it necessary for me.  I have enough faith to be patient and long-suffering.  I have enough faith to find joy and meaning in my days in spite of my illness.  I have enough faith to go to one more doctor and try one more treatment.  I have enough faith to believe that this life is still worth living.  I have enough faith to believe that I am still valuable to the people in my life who love me.  I have enough faith to keep trying to make myself a better person, every day.

Maybe that is what will lead me to have enough faith when the time comes for me to be healed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ

I found this today. Coupled with my morning study, it seems to be the message God wants me to know.

The Winds Will Surely Come

3 Nephi 14
see also Matthew 7

v. 24 Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a arock

v. 25 And the arain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it bfell not, for it was founded upon a rock.

v. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a afoolish man, who built his house upon the bsand

v. 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

I have loved this scripture ever since I was old enough to know adversity.  There is a comfort to it, knowing that if you hold fast to your Savior, you will be given the strength to withstand any storm that may pass through your life.  

Well, the storms are raging, and I can testify that this scripture is true.  My Savior strengthens me, He comforts me, He blesses me, He compensates me for blessings lost.

I wonder, what is it about doing the words of Christ that gives you that protection?  What does He ask of us?  Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Judge not.  Ask for good gifts.  Serve others, "for inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  (Matthew 25:40)

Can you not see the life you are building when you follow Him?  A life filled with love and loving relationships.  A life filled with people who care about you and will remember you in your time of greatest need.   And even if people fail you, you still have a personal relationship with Christ that will carry you through your great difficulties.

The storms will come, the winds will blow.  Nobody gets a free pass.  Life is hard, and it was meant to be, because it is only in overcoming the obstacles and withstanding the storms of life that we learn and grow and become better people.  But I know that when I hold fast to my Savior and His teachings, I can hear Him whisper, "Peace, be still," to my heart.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Consider the Lilies of the Field

3 Nephi 13
see also Matthew 6

Today's study seemed to be answering the worries of my heart.  I know I'm not alone.  These are difficult, challenging times.  Many are struggling financially.  Add to that health issues.  And do we ever stop worrying about our kids?  Nope, I don't think so.

v. 8 ...for your Father aknoweth what things ye have need of before ye bask him.

My Heavenly Father knows me.  He is mindful of me.  He knows the troubles and worries of my heart.  And He knows just what I need, even before I ask.  Notice it doesn't say what things ye want, but what things ye need.  It isn't always the same thing, is it?

I've often thought, if God knows what I need, why do I need to ask?   But it really isn't about asking.  It's about approaching.  It's about humbling myself and coming to Him.  It's about aligning myself with His will and being prepared to accept His gift.

Because, how many times does He give us a gift, and we are not ready to receive it?  It isn't what we want, so we rail against it and throw it back in His face.  We are not at all grateful for this thing that we NEED in our lives right now.

v. 9 After this amanner therefore bpray ye: Our cFather who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

v. 10 Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

v. 11 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

v. 12 And alead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

v. 13 For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

This is not a prayer of supplication.  God is not a magic genie waiting to grant wishes.  This is a prayer of approaching, a prayer of alignment, a prayer of humbling and accepting.

v. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where amoth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;

v. 20 But lay up for yourselves atreasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

v. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 v. 26 Behold the afowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

v. 28 ...Consider the alilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;

v. 29 And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.

v. 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

v. 32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

v. 33 But aseek ye first the bkingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

These verses are a call to me, lay down your worries.  There will always be money enough, food enough, clothing enough to get you through day by day.  All I need to worry is that there is love enough, and that I am focusing on my treasures -- my family.  My focus and energy should be on each of them, and leave the rest to my Heavenly Father.