Showing posts with label Jesus Christ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesus Christ. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


As I sat down to write today, I wondered, what could I possibly have to teach to such a strong and righteous group of people that they don't already know, or that they don't already do. And I answered myself saying nothing. There is nothing I could possibly teach them, for they have taught me.

Then I wondered what I could possibly share with them that could strengthen them or help them through the trying times that we now face. And again, I answered myself saying, nothing, for if ever a people so valiantly have endured it is for sure them.

So I said to myself, what I would like to do is to convince them of their strength, and righteousness; that they may see how the trial of their faith has brought them forward, for they are a humble people and boast not in their hearts but approach their days in a spirit of learning and love; yet, how could I do something like that? Just about everything that I could say to them I have learned because of them. So at a loss as to where to start, I began a study, in hopes that my goal would be met, and you the reader, the listener, would see the impact of the endurance of the trial of your faith, not just upon yourselves, but upon all those whom you come in contact; personally, through social media, in your work and family lives, in the many ways you live your days coming in contact with the children of God.

In my study, I read a passage from Elder Neil L. Andersen Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stating:  "Fiery trials are designed to make you stronger, but they have the potential to diminish or even destroy your trust in the Son of God and to weaken your resolve to keep your promises to Him. These trials are often camouflaged, making them difficult to identify. They take root in our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities, our sensitivities, or in those things that matter most to us." 

I like the way Elder Andersen stated that trials are often camouflaged making them difficult to identify and that the root in our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, sensitivities, or in those things that matter most to us because I think that is the most qualifying trail. We expect to have hard times when we are facing pandemics, facing protests, and the falling apart of our country.  We know these things are to come, and we face these trials with great strength and resolve we are valiant in remembering our God, for these trials are prophesied trials, and though, they do take us off guard, we come back and face them knowing that He has our back and come what may, in the end, it will work out for it is in His plan.

But what about those things that are not prophesied, that are not public but personal and hit us below the belt when we least expect it.   What about those things that are camouflaged that we don't recognize right away and hit us in the most sensitive spots? How do we endure then?  And how do we endure not only then but then during pandemics and war?  How do we remain “steadfast and immovable” (Alma 1:25) during a trial of faith when everything hits us all at once, public and private?

As you know, I have spent the past five and a half months living in Iowa to help the family.  I left for Iowa with a glad heart and full of my strength ready to face new challenges and serve in whatever way the Lord would desire of me.  Little did I know what he desired of me would be a very real and intense trial of my faith. 

I found that not only Satan, but personal feelings, things that seem normal and just part of life; can combine against us during tough times, and we may find ourselves in a place of depression, embarrassment, or sorrow; coupled with a feeling of neediness, aloneness, and even despair.  These are all the things I felt at one point or another during my time away, and it was a struggle at times to keep my head above water and my heart correctly in the game.  I know that we have all been in this place at one time or another, or maybe you are here now, so the question again is, how do we survive. 

Elder Anderson also taught that: "When faced with a trial of faith—whatever you do, you don’t step away from the Church! Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view.  It is within the sanctuary of the Church that we protect our faith. Meeting together with others who believe, we pray and find answers to our prayers; we worship through music, share testimony of the Savior, serve one another, and feel the Spirit of the Lord. We partake of the sacrament, receive the blessings of the priesthood, and attend the temple. The Lord declared, “In the ordinances … , the power of godliness is manifest” (D&C 84:20). When you are faced with a test of faith, stay within the safety and security of the household of God. There is always a place for you here. No trial is so large we can’t overcome it together (see Mosiah 18:8–10).  

But what if the tornado that hits is a quarantine? How can we face our trials together and not step away from the church when there is no church? 

In my time in Iowa, I was a member of a lovely tiny little branch.  I had barely gotten started with membership and serving in a new calling when pandemic and quarantine hit and I quickly found myself alone, in the gospel, as my family are not active members.  The branch tried but it was small and I didn't hear from anyone aside from email messages from the stake.  I had no priesthood in the home to help with sacrament, blessings or other needs and at this time none could be offered as church members were not allowed in the home where I was staying, and as an essential worker my ministering priesthood holder's family was not comfortable with me in their home so, I struggled.  Even to keep the Sabbath was a great task as I was caught in the middle of family and faith and I found myself having to make tough choices which at times were very painful and I was filled with all the emotions of despair. 

I felt bad because I couldn't partake of the sacrament.  And Satan used this to try and make me disappointed with my branch for not being more proactive.  But instead of letting that fester, I kicked it out by reading the sacrament prayer to Heavenly Father each week, personally, as if I was participating and praying to Him in a spirit of repentance and gratitude dedicating myself weekly to Him and praying for strength. I also prayed for my little branch, the leadership, and priesthood that they may be strengthened and have the help they need to help others. 

I was then hit with aloneness as my little branch didn't really have a social media gathering, a very small number of us posted to the branch page, but there was not "gathering" on zoom, or even through apps.  We didn't really communicate other than like buttons and a comment here and there.  I tried a couple of times to get something going but it didn't work and so Satan came to tell me I should feel sorry for myself because I was alone and be upset because I had no phone calls to check on me.  But it just wasn't right and I couldn't allow myself to feel that way and instead of letting it fester I quickly extinguished the fire by praying for those who would have served me if they could for they too were in a terrible state.  I chose to pray mightily making it not about me, but about we, and other than small disappointment I was okay and I felt strengthened and even happy.  I found that as I daily immersed myself in scripture study, church history study, and family history I was filled with companionship and I was not alone. 

However, the trial was to continue and even grow in intensity as I felt ostracized by my family members who are no longer of my faith.  It was a most difficult and trying time as it wasn't expected and took me quite off guard.  Sometimes I was picked on with jokes concerning my principles, other times if I mentioned an event or thought I was questioned fiercely concerning church history or doctrine; and at other times I felt raked over the coals for participating or standing for what I believed was true or for what I needed to do.  Satan surely came then blasting my thoughts and feelings of defensiveness, despair, pain, and sorrow.  However, I just couldn't let him have this one, I had to fight and find a way to blend and love my family without leaving behind the principles I hold dear.  After a couple of particularly heated discussions and events, I found myself on my knees praying desperately for help for I was at a complete loss.  I was lead to approach my family asking for forgiveness for my defensiveness, and seclusion and I began to serve them, even on the sabbath, in the best way that I could without disrespecting my principles or theirs.  Things immediately got better and there began mutual respect that allowed us each to continue to worship at home in our different ways without feeling bad.  

But then I felt embarrassed and ashamed.  And believe it or not, it was because of the blog that I write for Come Follow Me.  After leaving and having my church records transferred and accepting a new calling, I was released by default from the position of Gospel Doctrine Teacher and I struggled greatly with feeling as if I had no right to post a blog when it wasn't my assigned task to do so.  Satan came then, in a camouflage, telling me that I might be overstepping my bounds, that I might appear as boasting in myself, or that I might be pushing myself and writings on others when it wasn't my place to do so.  This was a great struggle for me and I wrestled with it for many weeks.  But Heavenly Father reminded me through my heartfelt prayers that I wasn't writing for fame or blog hits, I was writing for Him and it mattered not whether one person read or many read, that preparing the lesson each week, was like going to church.  So each Sunday morning, I prayerfully went to church and wrote the blog, and learned many things and cried, and my heart was filled, and then....I posted it...and prayed that it would help someone else as it had helped me and that I would not be seen as boasting but as a humble student sharing what I had learned so we could all "go to Church" and be connected with the spirit. After this, Many blog hits came, many read and some even commented, liked, and shared and I was greatly humbled for even in quarantine I was able to serve. Then interestingly enough, some weeks later, I had a dream, and in the dream, I was being asked to teach again.  The following week, just as I was preparing to come home, I had a phone call and was asked to teach the zoom Gospel Doctrine Class for my homeward; and I cried....

Though I experienced many things in my stay away from home I must say the grand finale was fear.  COVID 19 is most definitely a scare tactic and a good one, however, at first I was not fearful for I followed the admonition the Prophet and I was careful with masks and distance and cleaning.  I was even blessed with a job where I had little one to one contact with others but for my daughter, it was not so and she and I worried daily of exposure, and then... it came.  I had been in direct contact on more than one occasion and my daughter had indirect contact and suddenly, I was terrified, for both of us.  What if we were positive, what if we had taken this home to our family, and the what if's kept coming and coming and I began to panic.  We started our self-quarantine and qualified for testing and talk about terrifying and traumatic and I am a healthcare worker.  Yet I've never experienced anything like what I did with testing and waiting.  This one really hit me hard, and the fear was almost overwhelming,  with the potential to take me down. I fasted and prayed in a way that I never have before and asked others to pray for us.  Overtime my prayers developed into not just a fasting and prayer to be negative and get results quickly but it was for His will.  I found that He had given me the strength to accept whatever should come, even though I was scared.  I knew he would help me do whatever I had to do and my prayers and fasting grew into not so much for myself but for my daughter and her family that they would be spared.  When our test results came in and read negative I cried like I've never cried before for both of us and I was immensely grateful for such a great blessing. 

These are just a few of the things I experienced in my time away,  they are not grand stories, but they are I think, typical stories of how we are tested and tried in ways that are camouflaged and have the ability to weaken us. 

While away I learned how to rely solely on the Lord, for there was no one else.  I could not receive a blessing or even treatment for my severe recurrent migraines, yet seeking the priesthood from the Lord through fasting and prayer I was healed.  I was spared from sickness, I was spared from harm's way, I was blessed immensely with the things that I needed and even wanted such as acceptance into a nursing program and a huge scholarship to be able to accept.  I found that my sole and complete reliance on Christ himself through the father was a game-changer.  I found strength, I found joy, I found the ability to not panic, to not be needy, to not have to seek the approval of others, but to live solely through and for Him.  I say this because I don't think I had ever solely relied on him in this way for I've always had access to others to lift me up, to care for me, to bless me, to see that my tender feelings were not hurt, to walk me through the many trials of my faith.  But this time, it was just me and Him.

So how do we overcome the trial of our faith in troubled times, what do you do when it's just you and the Lord, and all things are hitting us at once.  We go to church, even when we can't.  We humble ourselves in heartfelt, meaningful prayer, and/or fasting.  We communicate with others of our faith, of our wards and branches, and participate in zoom meetings or other activities given to us for our benefit in survival.  We find a base to hold onto by having meaningful scripture study, and not just a read through, for we are in the times where one cannot stand on the testimony of others, we must have our own to survive particularly in a new world of social distancing and war.

During this time I prayed to Father in Heaven to overcome my feelings of low self-worth and self-esteem, I prayed to overcome the neediness I felt and to be strong in service to others, I had to remember that the Lord wants us to be happy. He doesn’t “play tricks” on us to get us to doubt the gospel.  Choosing to choose the right in a time of turmoil and adversity will make us happy, It made me happy.  It made me humble, it made me grateful, it made me stronger.  It renewed in me the spirit of the Holy Ghost that I had a baptism and I became again even a new woman. 

How do you remain “steadfast and immovable” during a trial of faith? You immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith: you exercise faith in Christ, you pray, you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you attend church, even in quarantine and take the sacrament even if/when you can't.  You keep the commandments, and you serve others to the best of your ability.  This is what we need to focus on today, this is our future, for the trials will surely keep coming, and we must overcome that we may be perfected and stand strong. 

I testify to you that God is real, Jesus Christ is His Son, and they love you.  If we remain steadfast in following the admonition of His prophet and remain true to the gospel principles we will have safety, peace, and even joy, regardless of our circumstances. 

 How to Face Trials

Saturday, January 25, 2020

How Does that Work Again??

Sacrament meeting speaking assignment January 27th 2020

I was asked a question two weeks ago, in preparing for this assignment to speak, it was, "How does faith in Jesus Christ give us hope and strength to carry on?" When I was asked this question, my mind immediately flooded with memories of my life, and the miracle that I am still here today. In thinking about this I prayed for the last two weeks about what I should say, what I should focus on and what I should share and this is what came to my mind.

Do you need to know that things will get better? Is there one of you today, reading this that has a great desire or even a desperate need in some way to know, things will get better? Well, the answer is of course, every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better, some of us are just at a different level of need than others.

Jeffery R Holland tells us that "For emotional health and spiritual stamina, everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. " We just need to know we can get there, that however far away, there is the promise of “good things to come. We all need to know that things will get better, its how we carry on, and this is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of obvious need, so I'd like to tell you a little of why I know this is true.

The first tragic super tragic event that took place in my life, was in Nevada Iowa in April 1988 when my three year old daughter died in a freakish playground accident. I cannot describe to you the pain of that event, for there are not words but what I can tell you is that through this horrific event, strange as it may seem, I gained hope.

I had been a reckless young adult and made many mistakes, I lived in personal turbulent times, some of my own making some of others; but even in those times I never gave up, I kept going to church, I kept repenting, and I kept striving to do my best until one day Satan got the upper hand and I gave up in my heart, That's when the light left, that's when the darkness came and the struggle was near unbearable. It wasn't until the day my daughter died that things began to change. The day she died I had a choice I could stay in the world and be mad at God blaming him for such tragedies and trials, or I could embrace the gospel and gain understanding, hope and strength and press forward. I chose the gospel and began to know Christ. I cried to the Savior day and night for help and in the meantime dedicated myself to repentance and putting all of my faith and hope in Him, then waited for peace to come. Many of my friends and even my husband at the time left me because I chose the gospel, I chose Christ over the world. But I had gained an inner strength in making this choice and I was no longer afraid or helpless, I would not let Satan win so I pressed forward. How did faith in Jesus Christ give me hope and strength to carry on in such a horrible time? Through prayer and study He taught me basic principles of the gospel that gave me a first a testimony of the gospel and repentance, then of life after death and the ordinances of the temple and I knew I didn't have to be afraid and that I would be with my daughter again. Through talking to Him, church attendance, and personal progress, he brought me a measure of peace, that has grown throughout the years. And as I reflect on this event I can't imagine surviving such an trial by making the choice of the world.

I was pregnant when all this happened, and I did not loose my baby but he was born two months early in full respiratory distress with collapsed lungs and a host of other problems. The doctor who had pronounced my daughter told me once again that my child would not live and I should make arrangements. But I was not willing to give up. I had read and studied about the miracles of Christ and I knew that the priesthood was on earth today, I believed in it, it was my only hope; so I chose to call my Bishop. He along with three other elders came and administered to my son. The same way that Christ and His apostles administered to those in need. I was not in the room when this was done but I prayed and I believed. I was told by the doctor and nurses that they had never experienced anything like what they had seen when my son received his blessing. I took him home three weeks later, a true miracle witnessed by believers and non believers alike. How did faith in Jesus Christ give me hope and strength to carry on? He taught me that miracles did not cease when He and the apostles left this world. The priesthood has been restored and mighty things are possible even with just a mustard seed of faith.

In 2009 On August 8 the birthday of my daughter who died, I received a phone call at 130am telling me that my son, the baby who had been saved by the miracle, had been shot. I then received a second call telling me that he had taken the shot himself. At first I thought it was a bad prank but quickly found out it was not and I was in complete horror and shock. My son born and saved after the death of my daughter died on her birthday as a victim of suicide, it was extremely surreal. Again I had two options to take, the way of the world, or Jesus Christ. Would I let Satan win, for this was a hard blow, so much so that I thought I wouldn't live through it. But upon hanging up the phone, I fell to my knees on the kitchen floor and began to pray. I cried out to the Savior in desperation and pleaded for his help. In the coming months and years since every time I felt a wave of panic wash over me I fell to my knees, when things felt surreal and I couldn't breath I fell to my knees, when the nightmares came I kneeled at my bedside, I talked to Jesus Christ more than I talked to anyone living on this earth, For this by far was the hardest thing I would ever face, not only had my daughter died but now my son was a victim of suicide. And these were not the only trials in my life at this time, these were just the monumental things. Turmoil ruled my world and it was a daily struggle to stay afloat. So how did faith in Jesus Christ give me hope and strength to carry on? By prayer, priesthood blessings, and scripture study the Savior taught me that by loosing myself in service the pain would not go away but I would understand it and he would help and guide me through all things that I ever faced.c

Like other people I have suffered a tremendous amount of trial and tribulations both physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and temporally. My life has literally been one tribulation after another, some, like before, caused by me, some by others and some just came out of nowhere. All I know about life is how to call upon Christ and survive. Its funny because when my best friend asked what topic I was assigned to speak on and I told her she said well that's your whole life, you got this one wrapped up. And I had to laugh a little but it was a good laugh, a laugh of love because I do know that I carry on today because of Jesus Christ.

So how does faith in Jesus Christ give us hope and strength to carry on? Elder Jeffery R Holland taught that Christ knows better than all others that the trials of life can be very deep and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them. Christ was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” His career to some seemed a failure, a tragedy, a good man totally overwhelmed by the evils surrounding Him and the misdeeds of others. He was misunderstood or misrepresented, even hated. No matter what He said or did, His statements were twisted, His actions suspected, His motives impugned. In the entire history of the world no one has ever loved so purely or served so selflessly—and been treated so diabolically for His effort. Yet nothing could break His faith in His Father’s plan or His Father’s promises. Even in those darkest hours at Gethsemane and Calvary, He pressed on, continuing to trust in the very God whom He momentarily feared had forsaken Him.

Because Christ’s eyes were unfailingly fixed on the future, He could endure all that was required of Him, suffer as no man can suffer except it be “unto death,” How could He do this? How could He believe it? Because He knows that for the faithful, things will be made right soon enough. He knows that “the Lord … will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. … For the needy shall not alway[s] be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.” He knows that “the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” He knows that “the Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.”

How does faith in Jesus Christ give us hope and strength to carry on? Because he knows us, he knows the things you are pondering in your heart this very moment that are troubling you, that beset you, that trial you. He knows your pain, and if you “Don’t give up, Don’t quit. keep walking. keep trying there is help and happiness ahead. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”

I testify that these are not just words, these are truths, all you have to do is believe even with the simplest of beliefs and faith and he will come, the help will come. I am living proof that the help does come! I have a journal full of miracles that testify. God Lives brothers and sisters! Jesus Christ is his Son our brother who died to save and succor us.

Some have lovingly told me that I have endured more than anyone should be asked to endure. That may be so sometimes it feels that way but truly, in reality, my story is not tragic but full of miracles, it is full of tender mercies, it is full of being saved, it is full of happiness and gratitude and strength when I thought I could not go on, it is full of the help Jesus Christ gave me and still gives me today. I would not be who I am today had I not lived through it all and came to know Christ. And it was faith in Him that lead the way.

Together God our eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ sustain us in our hour of need and always will, even if we cannot recognize that intervention. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they do come. and I testify of this truth to you today in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Firey Serpents

Imagine for a moment that you are a member of the ancient children of Israel. You've been freed from the bondage of Egypt led by your new prophet Moses. Its been a rough ride, you've been chased by Egyptians, had to walk through the red sea but remained dry.  You've eaten manna when you were starving, though you had no idea what it was.  You magically drank water from a rock when none was available and all this you know, was provided by God through Moses. Now, just when you think things are going to settle down for a bit, out of nowhere comes a herd of fiery serpents like nothing you've ever seen.  They fly out of the sky attack and bite you, and others around you. You become deathly ill, and know that you will surely die without a blessing, or really even a miracle. Then comes Moses saying all you have to do to be healed and live is look at a serpent fashioned upon a rod posted high in the midst of Israel. Sounds a little far fetched right? So tell me, do you look? 

6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 ¶ Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.  (Numbers 21 6-9)

The question of how to access and obtain blessings or even miracles has been the subject of theological debate for centuries. I personally just finished an intro to religions humanity class for nursing school and I learned of many religions which teach that blessings are completely earned; we receive them only through our works. Others, particularly in the western part of the world, contend that God has already chosen who He will bless and how; thankfully though, both concepts are flawed.

 Elder Dale G. Renlund Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles teaches us that  "Blessings from heaven are neither earned by frenetically accruing “good deed coupons” nor by helplessly waiting to see if we win the blessing lottery. However, "faith-inspired actions on our part, both initial and ongoing, are essential."

With this in mind let me ask you a question.  Do you have blessings you stand in need of or desire? How do you receive your blessings from God? Do you just sit and wait and hope, or do you take action, and like the children of Israel who lived.  All who looked as directed by Moses, accessed the powers of heaven and were healed. Others who were bitten and did not look died. Maybe they lacked the faith to look or did not believe that such a simple action could truly bring the promised healing. Or perhaps they willfully hardened their hearts, rejecting the counsel of God’s prophet. But the lesson we learn from the story is that we too, like the children of Israel, must act on our faith in Jesus Christ to be blessed.

Through the prophet Joseph Smith we know that God has revealed that “there is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”  Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21

 In other words, you do not earn a blessing; but you do have to qualify for it. We see this with the children of Israel as they qualified for the blessing of healing because they followed, or obeyed, the direction of their prophet in doing something that to them I am sure sounded crazy, but because they had faith, they obeyed and lived.

It may though, sound a little misleading when using the words, "qualify for a blessing" In some ways when you first just hear those words it sounds much like other religions mentioned that require good works, repetitive prayers, or winning the blessing lottery. In simple truth however, what the phrase is teaching us is that to receive a blessing from God, or in order to qualify for blessing, all we have to do is have faith. But, is that really all there is to it?

There are times when it doesn't feel that simple, and in fact it may not be. Sometimes energy is needed for blessings. Sometimes it requires more than just looking. Sometimes continuous repeated, faith-filled actions are required.

 Elder Dale G. Renlund continues to teach us on this subject explaining that in building a bonfire the wood pile must receive a constant supply of oxygen to burn to a blaze. Similarly Faith in Christ requires ongoing action or figurative oxygen, for our personal blaze of blessings. Small actions fuel our ability to walk along the covenant path and lead to the greatest blessings God can offer. But oxygen of faith flows only if we keep moving our feet. As we have learned through the scriptures, sometimes we need to make a bow and arrow before revelation comes as to where we should search for food. "Sometimes we need to make tools before revelations come as to how to build a ship. Sometimes, at the direction of the Lord’s prophet, we need to bake a small cake from the little oil and flour we have to receive an unfailing cruse of oil and barrel of flour. And sometimes we need to “be still and know that [God is] God” and trust in His timing."  This is in particular being something we need to focus on.  

When searching, praying and hoping for blessings it is important to remember that not only do we need to have faith and fuel the fire, but also that blessings come on God’s timetable. If a desired blessing from God has not been received—yet—you do not need to go crazy, wondering what more you need to do. Instead, heed Joseph Smith’s counsel to “cheerfully do all things that lie in [your] power; and then … stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the … arm [of God] … revealed.

Most of you know my personal story, as I have testified many times of my trial with severe, incapacitating migraine headaches.  For 28 years I suffered repeatedly.  Some days all I could do was sleep on the bathroom floor due to excessive vomiting, and some days it required an ambulance ride to the hospital where I begged for release from the pain.  My migraines were so frequent and debilitating that I could not hold down a job, I missed family activities and time with my children, family and friends from church would constantly have to rescue me and drive me to the doctor for help, I remember a time when I rode in the passenger side of my sister's car with my head in a bucket due to vomiting and another when my visiting teacher came to my house and had to come into my bedroom lift me out of bed, dress me and carry me to the car to go get help.

Many people don't understand migraines and sometimes my family or doctors didn't, to them it was just another headache and I was seen as weak.  But my struggle was/is real and it was horrendous.  I cried and begged and pleaded in my prayers for help and sometimes I would just pray the end would come and I could go home to Father in Heaven and rest.  I prayed and prayed for help, I received blessing after blessing, and for many years I thought I was being punished, that the Lord had forgotten me, or that I hadn't done enough to receive healing or even help.  But in reality he was helping me I just didn't understand his timing.

At the peak of my illness, a new drug was put on the market and this one little pill allowed me to gain relief from the pain within a couple of hours therefore I was able to better hold down jobs.  There was a catch though, the cost of the drug, because it is one that migraine sufferers can't live without, spiked and due to the frequency of my attacks the cost would sometimes be over $800 a month.  But it was a blessing I was so grateful for as there was finally help. The drug became so popular among those that suffered that a discount card became available and I  was then better able to obtain the medication I needed, another blessing that I just had to be still and wait for.

A few years later, though the migraines began to worsen and even with medication I couldn't function.  I thought as before that I was just not good enough to receive a blessing.  No matter how much I prayed or what I did there was no improvement and things were actually worsening by the day.  This was my fiery serpent and I was near death from its bite.  

Then I had a blessing.  A young missionary serving in our ward, was called to give me a blessing on a particularly hard event when I was so incapacitated that all I could do was lay on the bed while he administered I couldn't even open my eyes or acknowledge him I just laid there as if dead.  Its a day I'll never forget.  I did gain relief from the pain with that blessing but I also gained counsel.  The young elder told me that he had the strong impression from Father in Heaven to tell me that I was not doing anything wrong and should not beat myself up.  The migraines would never go away, it would be a trial that I would have for the rest of my natural life.  But he also told me that Heavenly Father would not leave me alone, that he would provide an escape from the pain and I would be able to manage.

I felt the spirit so strong from that blessing, not only was I healed from immediate pain, but when the elder spoke to me I knew he was relaying an important message.  So I took note and stopped beating myself up and got to work.  As I continued in prayer I began to research and within a few weeks I had gained enough knowledge and information about allergies dealing with food, medication and outdoor, that I believed I knew how to treat my illness and get relief if I could get help from a doctor.  I was led out of the blue to a doctor I didn't know but who listened and I became his patient and he did the proper testing and sure enough I am allergic to so many things that the doc laughingly told me I needed a bubble to live in.  However with this new information I was able to make enough lifestyle changes in foods and medication to gain some relief, I could see the light to the escape route, I only needed to look.

In the following years since, I have had times of suffering but there has always been an escape.  When I didn't have money for medicines, someone always appeared to help.  When the medicines were particularly hard on my body because I had to use so much, I was immediately relieved for a day or two and able to gain strength.  And after 28 years and an acceptance of my trial and complete trust in Father to lead me so that I could function.  I was lead to people who had information that would indeed provide a complete escape.  Interestingly enough that came from here right here in our ward.

I had always wondered why Heavenly Father would send me here so far away from my home and family and I must admit I came here pouting a bit.  But if he hadn't sent me here and I hadn't followed the intuition to move, even when advised against it.  If I hadn't acted and done my best to put my best foot forward,  I would have never known about NAET acupuncture that has literally saved my life.
Now as long as I follow treatment guidelines Father has given me with diet, and acupuncture, my headaches are minimal and no longer incapacitating.  And though they still do come, I have found that since being called as the Gospel Doctrine teacher, I am released from the pain when I have to teach.

The fiery serpent bit me, severely, and I would have surely died, without help but thankfully, I had enough faith to look, as the Israelites did and as I did and do, He indeed provides an escape. But I had to have the faith, I had to put in the work, I had to trust Him.

What is your fiery serpent.  Do you stand in need, is there something you desire, do you need help.  I am sure you do, we all have serpents that could easily do us in.  

So the message I leave with you today is that I pray you will seek for help with those things you stand most in need of, I pray you will not become discouraged, I pray you will not give up or beat yourself up, but that you will be able to hear and allow the Holy Ghost to guide and direct you so that you, like the children of Israel, will also look, and “abound with blessings.”

I testify boldly that your Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, live, they are real, they are tangible, and they are concerned with your welfare, They delight to bless you.  They will not leave you without or comfortless.  Let us begin today to pray for ourselves and for others, that we have the faith we need to qualify that we may abound with blessings and I do so in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Dixie Dawn <3 
Public talk for September 22, 2019 
Sacrament Meeting
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Happy Is The Man that findeth Wisdom

*Scripture references have been highlighted in red and are hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at and will open in a new window. Please click to read!  
  Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog.

The following are well-known statements from the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes can you fill in the blanks for the missing words?

  1. _______goeth before destruction.Proverbs 16:18
  2. Train up a________ in the way he should go.Proverbs 22:6
  3. To every thing there is a_____ and a _____ to every purpose under the heaven.Ecclesiastes 3:1
  4. ______in the Lord with all thine heart.Proverbs 3:5
  5. A______ turneth away wrath.Proverbs 15:1
  6. For as he______ in his heart, so is he.Proverbs 23:7

The books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes  from the Old Testament have proven to be the great insights into wisdom that has carried us through the ages.  But did you know that we are more connected with the book of proverbs than you may realize.

The formal wisdom texts in the Bible originated in scribal circles and have been preserved by them, but it is also evident that wisdom from the Old Testament and Proverbs as well as Ecclesiastes in particular had roots in the common experiences of families and everyday life. The claims and teachings contained in wisdom literature did not derive from theory, nor were they attributed to revelation. They came primarily from observation: what worked and what did not.  Just like us in our day, adherence to wise counsel produced, happiness, prosperity, and longevity and though this we have gained the great books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

What Is a Proverb?
The Hebrew word masal is usually rendered "proverb" in the KJV, which represents an attempt to render in words a lesson learned through experience. Proverbs are basically short sayings that generally give counsel about living righteously.  The proverbs compiled in the book of Proverbs represent various literary forms such as multiverse, poetic wisdom "poems,"wisdom "sayings,""admonitions/prohibitions," and "numerical" proverbs.

The Old Testament records that Solomon “spake three thousand proverbs” (1 Kings 4:32). Some of these wise sayings are included in the book of Proverbs. Although Solomon and the other authors of this book were not prophets, much of what they wrote was inspired by the Lord. Their writings generally reflect a belief that true wisdom comes from God.

The book of Ecclesiastes also contains wise sayings, and some people believe Solomon to be its author. The message of Ecclesiastes is that life is meaningful only through God.

The Book of Proverbs
The book of Proverbs is found in that portion of the Old Testament known as the Writings and is categorized as Wisdom Literature.  It is a compilation of instructions and sayings that has as its aim the social, moral, and ultimately, spiritual betterment of people. As an anthology, Proverbs is designed for consultation and study in measured doses. (Studies in Scripture Vol 4 Kent P Jackson)

The book of Proverbs contains much that is attributed to King Solomon. It is a treasured collection of Hebrew wisdom literature derived mostly from the experiences of humankind and written by wise and faithful men and women to epitomize rules of good behavior and to commend their virtues. The book contains less material accredited as divine revelation and more attributed to human observation than do the books of the Prophets; but some inspired advice is included, and ways of thought, speech, and action pleasing to the Lord are commended. Much of it no doubt originated with men and women inspired by the Lord, and in that sense they were prophetic.

Solomon was credited with God-given wisdom and understanding exceeding that of "all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt"; it is recorded that "he spake three thousand proverbs, and his songs were a thousand and five" about relationships between nature, man, and God (1 Kgs. 4:29-43).

Three sections of the book of Proverbs are labeled as the proverbs of Solomon. Whether these are all of his compositions, or whether all that are attributed to him are really his, are matters of some speculation, but no doubt much that is in this book was written by Solomon. Other authors are identified in the headings.

The book of the Proverbs is divided into five parts. The first part, Proverbs 1 through 9, is called "the Proverbs of Solomon" (Prov. 1:1); it contains didactic poems longer than the two-line couplets that make up the body of Proverbs proper. The poems are largely advice from father to son; they include some dissertations on wisdom.

The second section, Proverbs 10 through 24, is also—and perhaps more aptly—entitled "the Proverbs of Solomon" (Prov. 10:1); it contains formal, pithy, poetic couplets. There is no evident organization of most of the subjects of the verses and chapters of this section; but there is a collection of short aphorisms, one or more verses in length, that is introduced by an explanatory admonition and covers a variety of moral and social matters (Prov. 22:17-24:34).

The last three sections together are shorter than either of the first two. Proverbs 25 through 29, the third section, is introduced as "also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out" (Prov. 25:1); it contains proverbs, maxims, and other aphorisms. The fourth section, Proverbs 30, is called "the words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy" (v. 1); it too contains a variety of moral and religious observations and admonitions. The fifth section, Proverbs 31, is called "the words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him" (Prov. 31:1); it is a renowned poetic summary of the virtues of a good woman and wife.

The Hebrew title of the whole book, Mishlei, is a plural form of mashal, whose root means "to represent, be like, be similar." Many proverbs do indeed treat similarities using parallel clauses with a synonymous, antithetic, or synthetic relationship.  (Latter-day Saint Commentary On the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen)

Solomon wrote 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. (1 Kgs. 4:32.) They covered a wide range of subjects, far beyond those which are printed in our Bible.
The scripture says that he spake of trees, "from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes." (1 Kgs. 4:33.)

Those proverbs and songs that we have in our scriptures are highly inspirational. They cover a wide field, from the premortal existence to what the Lord hates, to instructions on rearing children, and finally to the "conclusion of the whole matter." (Three Kings of Israel Mark E Peterson)

The Book of Ecclesiastes
The book of Ecclesiastes is a report of a man's lifelong search for something enduring in this world "under the sun.

The first two chapters introduce "the Preacher" and his problem; they report his observations on what he found transient and what of enduring worth. Then he declared that though there is a time for everything, many things are done out of time and place, and much injustice exists. The report continues in the same vein, after a few proverb-like admonitions, reporting some common frustrations and inequities of life. A short section discusses wisdom and a certain grace engendered thereby. The last chapters present the author's parting advice to the young, with his surprise summation of "the whole duty of man" and his solid conclusion about the ultimate justice of God.
There are many analyses and interpretations of Ecclesiastes, but one might as well study it out for oneself, checking the cross-references to related scriptures, and seeking the Spirit to perceive the truth and applicability of its teachings (BD, "Ecclesiastes").  (Latter-day Saint Commentary On the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen ) 

The origin of Wisdom literature is usually explained as follows: At an early period of time, short, pithy sayings became popular when they expressed something which seemed to be true to life. Among the Hebrews, who had strong religious instincts, these sayings frequently took on a decidedly religious turn. At a later time when used in literature they became more complex and acquired an extended sense. Thus, the utterances of Balaam (Num. 23:7, 18, etc. are a supposed example. It is assumed that collections of popular sayings were eventually made by different individuals who added to them proverbs of their own. Finally, these collections were written down, and in this way their literary form began. Once the literary form had been attained, there gradually evolved a guild or group of Wisdom writers, Chakamin, "Wise men," or "Sages", who developed the Wisdom literature. It is supposed that the "Sages" came originally from the ranks of the learned scribes who often held important positions of state. The attention of the reader is called to 2 Sam. 8:17, where mention is made of Seraiah the Sopher or scribe, an officer of David's; reference may also be made to 1 Kgs. 4:3; 2 Kgs. 19:2; 22:3; Jer. 36:20, 21. These Scribes may have been trained in a town like Kiriathsepher which means "the book city", or, as the Septuagint reads it, "the Scribe city". (Spirit of the Old Testament Sidney B Sperry)

The following 8 sections show us the highlights of these books and help us to understand important principles in becoming more like Jesus Christ.
Part 1: Wisdom
The books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes emphasize the importance of wisdom. 

What differences are there between being learned and being wise?   Proverbs 1:7; 9:9–10; 2 Nephi 9:28–29

 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

In biblical language, to fear the Lord means to reverence and obey him. wisdom is more than knowledge; it is the proper application of knowledge. To the Israelites, wisdom meant obedience to God’s laws.

What can we learn from Proverbs 2:2–6 about how to obtain the knowledge of God? 
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Why do you think it requires diligence to obtain this knowledge?  Wisdom is like any other thing in our lives. We appreciate it more and are more likely to utilize it if there has been effort and diligence applied in obtaining it. It is easy to read from the scriptures and say to ourselves that the principles contained therein make sense. But until we read, ponder, pray, and apply these principles, we cannot begin to understand what the Lord is teaching us.

How does the value of wisdom compare to the value of earthly treasures?Proverbs 3:13–18; Ecclesiastes 7:12  (the words she and her in Proverbs 3:15–18 refer to wisdom.)
13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

How does wisdom bring happiness and peace?  True wisdom will safeguard one from "the way of the evil man" and the "strange" woman (Prov. 2:12, 16a); it will lead one in the way to good, whereas the wicked will suffer destruction.

Proverbs 3:18 says that wisdom “is a tree of life” to those who have it. What can this symbol teach us about the value of wisdom?  1 Nephi 11:8–11, 21–25 

The tree of life is a symbol of God’s love.

8 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.

9 And it came to pass after I had seen the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.

10 And he said unto me: What desirest thou?

11 And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof—for I spake unto him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another.

21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?

22 And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.

23 And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.

24 And after he had said these words, he said unto me: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him.

25 And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

What qualities of wise people are listed in Proverbs 9:9–10 and Proverbs 15:31–33
 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.

32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
Why are these qualities necessary to gain wisdom?  

Part 2: Trust in the Lord Proverbs 3:5–7

What counsel is given in Proverbs 3:5–7

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

How does the Lord direct our paths?  

What experiences have taught you to trust the Lord? 


What does it mean to acknowledge God?  Proverbs 3:6; Alma 34:38; D&C 59:21

 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.


How are we blessed as we acknowledge him?


Part 3: The words we speak

Proverbs 6:16–19 lists seven things the Lord hates. Three of these things—lying, bearing false witness, and sowing discord—apply to the words we speak. 

16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Why is the Lord so concerned with the words we speak? Proverbs 16:27–28; 18:8; 25:18; Matthew 12:36–37 

We know the power that other's words have upon ourselves. We need to acknowledge this wisdom and use our language for building up and strengthening others.

 27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

 28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

How can we overcome the problems of lying, gossiping, or speaking negatively about others?

Proverbs 16:24 says that “pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul.” How is this true? 
24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

What are the results of speaking kindly? Proverbs 12:25; 15:1; 16:24.
25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

 24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

How have the kind words of others helped you? 

What benefits come from speaking softly when a disagreement arises?  Proverbs 15:1.

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley said: “We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention” (Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 82; or Ensign, June 1971, 72)

Part 4: Pride Proverbs 8:13; 13:10; 16:18–19

Proverbs 8:13 states that the Lord hates pride. 

13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.


Why is pride such a serious sin? 

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’ It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us. 

“Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of ‘my will and not thine be done.’ As Paul said, they ‘seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s’ (Philippians 2:21).  

“Our will in competition to God’s will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled (see Alma 38:12; 3 Nephi 12:30). “The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives (see Helaman 12:6). They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works. 

“Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended, and sign seekers. The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s. … 

“Pride is a damning sin in the true sense of that word. It limits or stops progression (see Alma 12:10–11). The proud are not easily taught (see 1 Nephi 15:3, 7–11). They won’t change their minds to accept truths, because to do so implies they have been wrong” (Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 3–5; or Ensign, May 1989, 4, 6). 


Proverbs 13:10 and 16:18 teach that pride leads to contention and destruction.  

Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.


How can pride do this? 

How does pride affect our families?

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Another face of pride is contention. Arguments, fights, unrighteous dominion, generation gaps, divorces, spouse abuse, riots, and disturbances all fall into this category of pride. 

“Contention in our families drives the Spirit of the Lord away. It also drives many of our family members away. …

“Pride adversely affects all our relationships—our relationship with God and His servants, between husband and wife, parent and child” (Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 5; or Ensign, May 1989, 6).


How can we overcome pride? Proverbs 16:19.
 19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

What can we do to be more humble in our relationships with our family members and with God? 

Part 5: Friendship

Why are we warned about unrighteous friends?  Proverbs 13:20; 22:24–25

 20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

 24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: 

25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

What are some characteristics of good friends? Proverbs 17:17; 27:9 
 17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

 9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

How have good friends helped you through difficult times? 

What can we do to gain true friends? Proverbs 18:24  To have good friends we need to be good friends.

24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

 How do true friends react when we make unwise choices? Ecclesiastes 4:9–10.

9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Elder Marvin J. Ashton said:  “Someone has said, ‘A friend is a person who is willing to take me the way I am.’ Accepting this as one definition of the word, may I quickly suggest that we are something less than a real friend if we leave a person the same way we find him. …

“No greater reward can come to any of us as we serve than a sincere ‘Thank you for being my friend.’ When those who need assistance find their way back through and with us, it is friendship in action. When the weak are made strong and the strong stronger through our lives, friendship is real. If a man can be judged by his friends, he can also be measured by their heights. …

“Yes, a friend is a person who is willing to take me the way I am but who is willing and able to leave me better than he found me” (Conference Report, Oct. 1972, 32, 35; or Ensign, Jan. 1973, 41, 43)

How can we strengthen friendships among family members?

Jesus Christ has often called his followers his friends D&C 88:62; 93:45
62 And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near—

45 Verily, I say unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., or in other words, I will call you friends, for you are my friends, and ye shall have an inheritance with me—

How has he shown that he is our friend? John 15:13 
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

How do we show that we are his friends?  John 15:14
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

How have you felt his friendship?

Part 6: Raising children

Proverbs 22:6 says to “train up a child in the way he should go.”   Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

What should parents do to follow this counsel?  D&C 68:25–28 

 25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents. 

26 For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.

27 And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands. 

28 And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord. 

How can we more effectively teach children the principles of the gospel and nurture their testimonies?

Elder Richard G. Scott said: “You must be willing to forgo personal pleasure and self-interest for family-centered activity, and not turn over to church, school, or society the principal role of fostering a child’s well-rounded development. It takes time, great effort, and significant personal sacrifice to ‘train up a child in the way he should go.’ But where can you find greater rewards for a job well done?” (Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 43; or Ensign, May 1993, 34)

Why do children need rules, boundaries, and loving correction?  Proverbs 19:18; 29:17
18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

 17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

 How should children respond to the righteous counsel of their parents?Proverbs 6:20–23 

20 My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.

23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

 How should parents give correction?  D&C 121:41–44 

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
The point is that the simplest fare in a humble home where love and peace abide is more wholesome than a sumptuous meal of meat in a home full of strife. The last phrase, translated literally from the Hebrew, may be rendered "than a house full of sacrifices of strife." To understand the phrase, one must know that flesh was not common fare. It was used for sacrifices on holy days and for food on festive occasions. When used in the home, it was like a kind of sacrifice, and if the spirit of the home was one of conflict and contention, discord and dissention, the sumptuous meal would be, ironically, "sacrifices with strife."
Other proverbs in this chapter also pertain to home management and a good atmosphere; see in particular Proverbs 17:2, 6, 9, 17, 19 through 22, and 25. But of course those may be applied otherwise also, and many others are good for both home and community.  (Latter-day Saint Commentary On the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen)

Part 7: Happiness and good humor Proverbs 15:13 Proverbs 17:22

Why is it important to develop a happy attitude and a good sense of humor? Proverbs 15:13; 17:22

 13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.


President Hugh B. Brown said: “I would like to have you smile because after all we must keep a sense of humor whatever comes. I think of all the people in the world we should be the happiest. We have the greatest and most joyous message in the world. I think when we get on the other side, someone will meet us with a smile (unless we go to the wrong place and then someone will grin), so let us be happy. But let our happiness be genuine—let it come from within” (The Abundant Life [1965], 83)


What can we do to encourage uplifting humor in our families? Remember the times when humor has helped your families solve problems and grow in love for each other.


Part 8: Personal Connections 

The following verses apply to our body, mind and spirit.  How do they apply in our lives?

Proverbs 2:2 (ear and heart) 

 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

Proverbs 3:5 (heart) 

 5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Proverbs 3:7 (eyes) 

 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

Proverbs 3:27 (hand) 

 27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.

Proverbs 4:26–27 (foot) 

 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Proverbs 8:7 (mouth) 

 7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

Proverbs 10:4 (hand) 

4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Proverbs 12:15 (eyes)

 15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.



Remembering and following the counsel in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes will deepen our desire to be wise and do good,  as we seek these desires that are in harmony with the gospel we become more Christlike, which is our ultimate goal.  The depth of wisdom found in these chapters of the Old Testament, is remarkable, we would do well not to pass them up but to pay them attention with study and heed, with a desire and diligence for knowledge.  This can only bring us safety and peace and an inheritance of eternal life.


Studies in Scripture Vol 4 Kent P Jackson 
Latter-day Saint Commentary On the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen 
Spirit of the Old Testament Sidney B Sperry
Three Kings of Israel Mark E Peterson 
The Abundant Life [1965], 83
Conference Reports