Thursday, December 24, 2009

Forever Praise Him

My all time favorite Christmas hymn/song is Oh Holy Night. I love the version by Celine Dion and love to watch it on YouTube. The line in the the Celine Dion version of the song that raises goosebumps on my arm every time is "Christ is the Lord!The name forever praise we".

I can imagine myself with that large host of angels in heaven the night that Jesus was born. I believe that we all were joyous and sang praises as we watched from above Christ being born. We knew what this would mean for the world.
I love the Savior and all that represents and has done for all mankind. The spirit of Christ can be felt all throughout the world for all those who believe on His name. I am excited to celebrate his birth at this special time of year and have posted the lyrics to Oh Holy Night below. I hope you read these praises and feel His spirit. I also included a short video below that sums up today's message. Merry Christmas!

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of Our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world In sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd And the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts By His cradle we stand.
So led by light of A star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men From Orient land.
The King of Kings Lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials Born to be our friend.
He knows our need, To our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us To love one another;
His law is love And His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break For the slave is our brother;
And in His name All oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy In grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us Praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory Evermore proclaim.
His power and glory Evermore proclaim.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Change of Heart

My sister called me last week to share some great news with me. She had a very special experience with her son (a learning moment) that was a significant spiritual awakening for her and her family. She was anxious to share it with me and I asked her permission to share it on this blog.

She had told me a couple of weeks ago about some neighbors she had that were always borrowing from her. They live pretty far from a grocery store so she thought they had just grown accustomed to borrowing from my sister to avoid having to drive to the store.
In the beginning she didn’t mind but as the weeks wore on it seemed to be a daily thing. She began to feel like she was their grocery store and they just came and went and shopped from her kitchen. They continued to tell her each day that they planned to repay her but they never did. While in her annoyed state she couldn’t help but become bothered by some choices the family was making and they seemed to be going down hill as a family. She felt their lack of food and other items was a result of their own poor personal choices.

Last Sunday she was down in her eight year old son’s room reading scriptures with him. It’s something they do each night before they go to bed. This night was a little different though as it was fast Sunday. They had fasted that day for certain things and it was my sister’s first fast in over 14 months as she has a 5 month old baby and couldn’t fast while pregnant and nursing.

They were reading in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah Chapter 4. When she came to verse 16 – 26 suddenly she felt the spirit pour over her body and the Lord speaking directly to her.

This chapter is King Benjamin speaking to his people. He says:

16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

She never realized she had been in need of repentance from feeling this way. The verse changed her heart.

19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

Yes, God has given us all that we have and when we share we are really the hands of the Lord. We are giving on behalf of the Lord. He blesses us so that we can bless others.

21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

Yes, my sister had been judging her neighbors and did not realize the severity of what she was doing. Verse 22 brought her to her knees.

23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

After reading this my sister turned to her son and told him that she had felt the Spirit over come her and that the Lord was trying to tell them something. His eyes watered up and he said, “Mom my eyes are watering, is that the Spirit I am feeling?” What a great teaching moment as a mother. As she taught her son that the way they had felt about their neighbors was wrong, her son believed her and agreed. She also taught her son that because they had fasted that day, they had opened up spiritual communication with their Father in Heaven. Because their spiritual eyes and ears were opened they were able to recognize the Lord speaking to them.

The next day my sister was surprised when she asked neighbors if she could borrow a latter to hang Christmas lights. Not only were they excited to lend her the latter, they gave her a bunch of things she had been in need of as well. She realized that the monetary value of what they had given her that day was more than the total value of all the things she had ever let them borrow. She was instantly humbled. My sister walked away that day a new person and had a new perspective of her neighbors.

During this Christmas season, let us remember that God gives us everything we have including our very lives. We owe it to Him to love one another and to give to those in need. Whether the gifts that we give are spiritual, emotional or physical and tangible, let us give with an open heart without judgment. I promise that by doing this we will feel the Spirit of Christ in our lives and we will be blessed immensely. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Mysteries of God

The other night after reading my scriptures I began studying the Bible dictionary on some interesting topics which transpired some new thoughts for me. Here is what I read below under the definition of “God”.


Although God created all things and is the ruler of the universe, being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent (through his Spirit), mankind has a special relationship to him that differentiates man from all other created things: man is literally God’s offspring, made in his image, whereas all other things are but the work of his hands. Acts 17: 28-29)

Yes, I knew this before but had never thought about it this way until now. We really are children of God. Just like we are the offspring of our biological parents, we are the real offspring of our heavenly parents. That’s what makes us unique among all His other creations. Thus we take on His image and have the amazing ability to become like Him someday.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated

“God himself, the Father of us all, established a plan of salvation whereby his spirit children might progress and become like him. It is the gospel of God, the plan of Eternal Elohim, the system that saves and exalts, and it consists of three things. These three are the very pillars of eternity itself. They are the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement.”

Elder Mark E. Petersen stated

“Who would exchange the privilege of becoming like God for the very questionable and temporary advantages of this world? Our actions demonstrate whether we are working toward becoming like God or the world.”

Psalms 82:6

“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.”

No, I don’t believe for a minute that in the next life God’s children just float around on clouds and play harps. We all have a divine purpose and destiny now and throughout eternity. As we seek to find that purpose, then gradually that knowledge will be given to us.

On Earth we set goals and strive to achieve more, it is no different in the next life. There is work to be done and God has so much to teach us. We will have great responsibilities depending on our decisions we made in this life.

This knowledge is what keeps me motivated to do my best in this life. Knowing and understanding my potential makes it easier to withstand temptation. We are taught in the scriptures that when Christ returns he will reveal the mysteries of God. I look forward to that day and am very excited to know about things that are beyond my mortal comprehension. Though I struggled with chemistry and pretty much all sciences in school, I know that in the next life I will understand it inside and out. That is mind blowing.

I have a very humbling respect and deep love for our Heavenly Father and I know that He desires for us to have the desire to learn, grow and have a relationship with Him. There is so much He wants to share with us and we must be willing to seek Him each day in order to feel His love and receive His knowledge. This is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Power of a Patriarchal Blessing

It was June 9th 2002 and a beautiful spring afternoon. My husband Manuel, was ready and excited to receive his patriarchal blessing as was I. It was five years prior to this date when I was fifteen years old that I had received my own patriarchal blessing. I had remembered from my own experience the personal revelation I had received and specific promises and blessings that I was given if I remained faithful to the gospel. What a strength that was to me as a young teenager with all the influences and decisions that surrounded me. The blessing I had received at such a tender age would be a bright light guiding the course of the rest of my life. I wanted to strongly to live a life pleasing to the Lord so that I could have these blessings. Many of those promises have since come to pass, and knowing this made me ever so excited for my sweet husband to experience this for himself.

I’ll never forget the peaceful and humble feeling that surrounded us as we entered the home of our stake patriarch, Brother Hamblen. We had never met him before and what a blessing it was to meet him as well as his sweet wife who was wheel chair and home bound at the time. His radiant white hair and clear eyes were full of light and love that day, and there was a strong warmth about him that I can only compare to the feelings felt in the temple.

As he began the blessing I immediately felt a shower of warmth flow down from the top of my head to my feet which I know was the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was as if the heavens had opened and God’s love and power was entering through the ceiling of Brother Hamblen’s home. I knew that this righteous patriarch truly was blessing my husband by the power of God and that God’s words and all that He wanted Manuel to know were being spoken through the lips of the patriarch. What a powerful, testimony building experience this was for me.

Though we had prepared spiritually for this moment and special day for quite some time I soon realized how unprepared I was for what was to come. As the Patriarch began to tell my husband about the life he lived before coming to Earth and special responsibilities he had as well as decisions he had made in the pre-existence I saw my husband in a new light. My love for him grew ten times that day. I believe my spirit remembered what was being spoken and it was testified to me that these things were true.

As he proceeded on he began to mention specific prayers that my husband had prayed quite recently. The Patriarch mentioned each of these prayers specifically and said that Heavenly Father had heard them and was aware of his desires. He then mentioned that each prayer would be answered and each desire would be fulfilled and that the Lord loved him. I could not hold back the tears as I heard the patriarch speak of these prayers that only God would know about. I knew God had heard Manuel’s prayers and that what was important to Manuel was important to Him. It was an amazing yet indescribable feeling to know the God truly does hear all of prayers and He knows what is in our hearts.

As he went on to talk about very specific things in Manuel’s past, and goals he currently had and so many other specific and personal things that the Patriarch himself had no way of knowing it was another testimony to me that God is aware of everything in our lives. He knows us each individually from our favorite colors to our innermost fears. He has known us since the beginning of our existence and he knows what we are truly capable of.

Finally the patriarch spoke of Manuel’s future and all the blessings that were in store for him and our future family which we did not have at the time. He was given a specific guideline to follow in order to receive these wonderful blessings and was promised that all his desires would be fulfilled and all his goals would be achieved as long as lived worthy of these and other blessings. Of course these are very personal and not to be discussed publicly on the internet, so I will end there.

I can’t tell you how much my precious spirit learned that day. It was as if I had begun and completed a four year educational program all within 15 minutes, very overwhelming but undeniably powerful. I knew that God had a purpose for us and for Manuel individually. I could not deny that. I was excited for the rest of our life here on earth together and for what was to come in the hereafter. This knowledge and experience has truly shaped the relationship I share with my husband and the love and respect I have for him.

We both keep our blessings in a safe place within our home where we pull them out often to read and reflect on our progress and what we need to be doing. They truly have been a roadmap and compass in our lives. As we have followed their guidance and counsel from the Lord we have personally witnessed very specific promises and blessings come to pass in the last seven years. This of course has been motivation to remain strong in the gospel and continue to live worthily of all the blessings we have been promised. We are very happy because of this knowledge and testimony.

In a world of darkness and confusion it can be very easy to get lost in the chaos and calamity of day to day life. It’s important that we know who we are, what we are here for and where we are going. Without this knowledge we are left vulnerable to the precepts of man, and the temptations, sorrows and deceiving of Satan. We are given several tools in this life such as scriptures, prayer, prophets, leaders, priesthood keys and so many others that if used righteously will give us these answers and the guidance we need.

Let this experience that I have shared with you be a personal witness in your life that God is real and He does know you and love you. In fact He loves you so much he has placed you on this earth at this time for very specific reasons. He has given you a very specific purpose and has arranged certain people to come into your lives at certain times to bless you in certain ways. He has also arranged for you to do the same for others. Nothing happens by chance in this life, it was all orchestrated before we came here. God has a plan for every one of us and he desires for us to seek this plan and receive eternal happiness, a happiness that doesn’t end with death but goes on forever. I know this to be true and because I have witnessed this in my own life it is my strongest desire to share it with you. Having this knowledge changes the way you see yourself, those you love, the decisions you make, your experiences whether good or bad, and your attitude and outlook on life. What a powerful knowledge and a blessing that God desires all to have.

I want to thank you for reading this entry today and letting me share something so personal and dear to my heart with you. I pray that this message touches you in more ways than one and leave a promise with you that if you pray to the Lord about these things that you have read He will give you the answers you are seeking. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Please comment below if you have questions or anything to share. You never know who you might touch and whose words may have special relevance for you.

For more information on Patriarchal blessings and how to receive one visit Patriarchal Blessings

Sunday, November 15, 2009

High on the Mountain Top

Yesterday my husband and I had the opportunity to go to the Draper temple. My mom lives in Sandy and she offered to watch our kids so we could go. It was such a cold and snowy day, and there were a few instances when we almost decided it would be warmer and safer just to stay home. I really felt strong about going though, and I knew that this is what the Lord wanted too and that he would protect us on our way there. So off we went!

Though there was ice in the parking lot and storm clouds lingering all around, it was so beautiful to be up there on that mountain. The beauty, peace and friendly faces seemed to instantly drown out the bitter cold air. It was 4:00 and a wedding had just let out. The beautiful beaming bride and groom made their way to the parking lot where we had just come from and it was so surreal to see such happy, smiley people in such frosty temperatures. The bride had on short sleeves and no coat yet was glowing with joy while surrounded by her family. It testified to me of how the temple and the ordinances performed there bring such a great deal of blessings and joy into the lives of those who partake in them.

As we entered the temple the first face I saw happened to be my visiting teacher Natalie and her husband. We both smiled with a look of surprise. Such a coincidence that we both happened to travel from Clearfield to Draper that day both using the excuse of visiting family as a reason to go to the Draper temple for the first time. It was a warm and welcoming feeling to be greeted by a familiar face in such a heavenly and holy place. I was reminded of Heaven and imagined how similar it will be when we enter for the first time and are greeted by caring, loving familiar faces.

My husband and I didn’t realize that the Draper temple doesn’t rent out clothing but it did help us realize that we now know what to get each other for Christmas this year. We had planned on performing sealings but it now appeared we had no choice but to do initiatory. Keeping in mind that all things happen for a reason, I soon realized what a blessing initiatory work would be for me that day. It had been so long since we had done them and I had forgotten their significance. Hearing the words of promises and blessings repeated by the sweet temple workers over and over was just what I needed. The women there that day seemed so familiar and they said the same about me. I knew it was because in the temple the veil becomes thin and a remembrance of our life before becomes more clear. I am sure that I knew these kind and loving women before and I was grateful for their service in the temple that day.

The rest of the day just seemed to flow so perfectly. We went to a turkey dinner that night with family and everyone was in the best of spirits. My husband always becomes more handsome to me when I see him serve the Lord and when we do it together. He really glowed that night. I thought to myself how much I wish I could go more often to the temple so that I could have this peaceful feeling all the time. The blessings that come from going to the temple are so real. But it’s not just about being in the temple that brings these blessings, its about the work that is performed there. This is what our Heavenly Father and our passed loved ones need us to do for them. They rely on us to do this great work and by doing so it blesses more lives than we’ll ever know.

The Savior himself spent much time visiting and teaching in temples. Temples have been of great importance since the time of Moses when they were introduced to the children of Israel after escaping Egypt as they were required to prepare a sanctuary, wherein Jehovah would manifest His presence and make known His will as their accepted Lord and King. There are many scriptures that touch on the topics of temple work and redeeming the dead.

Mathew 16:19 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 whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

John 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

1 Peter 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

2Nephi 12:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.

3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

This morning I woke up with the impression that my husband and I need to do the work for his deceased loved ones. It had not been on my mind for a while but clearly someone was reminding me that this is important and should not be put off any longer. Later today at church, each lesson was happened to be about the temple and doing work for our loved ones. Someone has clearly been preparing me, and I recognize the Lord’s hand in all things. We are not just brought into this life to have a great experience for ourselves, we are here to bless the lives of others as well. Time is running short and the Savior’s coming is sooner than we realize.

Mathew 24: 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

D&C 133:17 For behold, the Lord God hath sent forth the angel crying through the midst of heaven, saying: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight, for the hour of his coming is nigh

There are countless scriptures that testify that the Lord’s coming is soon and when we least expect it. I believe that is why temple attendance and genealogy are being emphasized so much in our meetings manuals, through our leaders and by the prophet and apostles.

I am going to make temple work, genealogy and sharing the gospel my life’s new mission. Aside from my busy duties and responsibilities as a mother, wife, compassionate service leader, business owner and all the other hats I wear, I feel this is something the Lord wants all of us to be doing more of. I want Him to be able to count on me whenever He needs me and know that what is important to Him is also important to me. That’s one of the best ways we can all show our love for Him.

I challenge you to make the Lord’s priorities yours as well. You will be amazed at the difference it will make in your life. If you desire to feel needed, have purpose and meaning, make a difference in this life and the next, have spiritual experiences and feel an abundance of love and blessings poured down from Heaven; then become in line with the Lord and His purposes. When you do this you will have a greater understanding of the love He has for all of us and a strong desire to be like Him.

This I testify in the name of Jesus Christ amen.