Showing posts with label gospel. unconditional love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gospel. unconditional love. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Not So Secret

 My shift is 3-11pm with a long hour drive to and from work.  As I drive to work I take time to think about the events around me.  What may be going on at work itself, whats going on with my kids and home, and about the world today and things we face.  Sometimes I may be having personal issues and need to focus and ponder on my faith and making it greater that I may understand my weaknesses, trials and tribulations, or sometimes I may be struggling to understand a principle or just why the world is such the state that it is.

  On the way to work I spend a lot of that time talking to Heavenly Father.  I have my prayers in the morning upon waking, but on that drive many times, its just a talk that I need to have with him, for things that I question or problems that need solving and often times its about scriptures or things that I've read to help me to better understand.

My drive home is usually spent streaming the Mormon Channel  from my cell phone (yes I'm a Mormon) and I like to listen to stories and examples and teachings that help to guide and give me strength; however, there are also those times when I leave it quiet.  When there is no streaming and no sound for the entire hour and its just me inviting the spirit in and listening.  I think about things I've read, the questions of my heart, or maybe I'm trying to wrap my mind around a concept or principle and often during this time, an answer will come, an understanding will be made clear, or a blog will pop into my mind and I am filled with great gratitude for the communication we can have with our Father in Heaven.

After arriving home and setting down; then is the time for my daily reading and study.  I have to take the time to have that Heavenly end, if you will, to my day.  I want the last thoughts I have before closing my eyes to be that of the Lord, so I end the day with a prayer and open my scriptures. 

In doing this I rotate my study between the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants and as I read I refer to references in each; ie cross referencing verses in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants with verses in the Bible.  In doing so I see how they all fit together and I gain a greater understanding of the information and instruction that Heavenly Father would have me learn.

This week my studies took me to the Book of Mormon and these are the thoughts that came to my mind.

The words "Secret Combination"  in the Book of Mormon mean to conspire to do evil, to make a pact and secretly destroy for personal gain. The book of Mormon and the Bible are replete with example of secret combinations that have come down from the begging of time, even from Cain himself as he conspired with Satan.  It is also full of words from prophets preaching, guiding and instructing not only those of their own day but also we in our day about repentance and how to guard and protect ourselves from "Old Scratch".   Their teachings help us to learn to stay clean and stay with God.  They tell us to choose carefully the things we would do and say for the Devil even that old serpent is sly and cunning and his ways will devour us and we will not even know that he has done so until it is too late.

When we as a people think of secret combinations, conspiracy, or evil I think we automatically think of the Mafia, Gangs, Politics, the Government, things that are or have become plainly evil in our day.  However I believe there is more to it and there are secret combinations right in front of us that are more successful in destruction yet, they have become so common place we don't always see them. 

This morning I was listening to a Professor of Ancient Scripture from Brigham Young University speak on just this subject and he said that when he talks to his class and explains secret combinations  he asks them how many of their family or friends have been killed by the Mafia or Gangs and maybe one now and then will raise a hand.  Then he asks how many of them have had family or friends lives destroyed from Alcoholism, Pornography or Tobacco and almost every hand goes up.  He then explains that the producers of many socially acceptable things are far more effective at destroying lives than some of these other groups.  The way they, the sellers of these products, do business with callous disconcern for people is destroying to get gain, therefore they fit the profile for being a secret combination, a destructive force in society.  So then we can say, a secret combination can be an organization or institution, but the attitude of gaining for oneself by preying on others is also very much a secret combination. 

Through the scriptures the words of the Lord have warned us:  

"Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you....."  Doctrine and Covenants 89:4

I believe that for today we must think about those things that we participate in, that we agree with, that we make a part of our lives, and choose carefully.  Even everyday things that we might not think of as being destructive could very well be.  If we prayerfully approach our daily decisions and live so that we may invite and retain the spirit with us always we can be protected from these forces that the world sees as normal but the Lord has warned us is not.

Satan is cunning this is something we should remember as we search our lives and make choices.   I hope and pray that I will be able to always remember this and will make those decisions that will be good in the eyes of Heavenly Father, I pray I can have my eyes wide open at all times and withstand the evil for myself and help my famiy to do so also..... and, I hope you the reader will too.....

With Love from Dixie

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thou Art A Good Daughter.....

One night, as a young woman, lay weary and fast asleep she dreamed a dream, yet, it was so real that it surely wasn’t a dream.  You see, she had died in the dream, but felt nothing of the death, it was as if she had been translated for it was painless and instantaneous as she stood at the place where she had been sent and it seemed familiar as she took in her surroundings.  There were groups of people being taught, each divided into age groups and they were anxiously engaged in the lessons.  She could feel them soaking in the knowledge as workers dressed in white appeared with a gentle smile and guided her to a room where she was to wait.  

She stood in the room for what seemed like a very long time then suddenly she was aware that she had come home and for a moment she was frightened and sad for she was alone and maybe this was her fate.  Then she felt it, a fullness, enter the room, it was warm and the whole place filled with a presence.   She became suddenly aware that someone was standing behind her, so, she turned to look, and her entire being changed.
 “It’s You!” she exclaimed with wonder and amazement, “It’s really you”; and she was filled with  absolute indescribable joy as she threw her arms around the neck of her brother and held him tight.   At long last she had returned home and was greeted by her loving brother while at the same time, her mind and spirit awakened with a perfect knowledge.  She knew immediately who she was, where she had come from, and she knew him, her brother, Jesus Christ, the same as she knew her own earthly family and she was full of joy with the return of her memory and the greeting of the one she loved so dearly. All that she had believed was true, all that she had hoped for was real, as the Lord stood before her with a smile, also filled with great joy for her awakening and love for him.  

 Then suddenly and without notice, the scene changed and the two; after their loving embrace, were transformed to another room where the young woman stood at the entrance and looked upon her brother who now sat upon a throne made of fine gold and workmanship.  It was breathtaking at the very least and she gazed, for he was regal and majestic and the surroundings matched his countenance, yet, he still smiled and she felt impressed to move closer. 

 She began to walk the length of a golden carpet laid before her and as she came closer to him, her brother, her mind again was enlightened and she knew him, she knew everything about him, she knew of the decision he had made and she remembered being there when he had accepted it, she remembered her decision to follow him, she remembered the lessons she was taught, the promises that were made she remembered life before they were born, she knew it all as if she had wrote it in her journal  and as she looked upon the Savior with this perfect knowledge, she fell to her knees clasping her face in her hands, the recognition of the moment crashing upon her.  

She knelt before the Savior her Lord and king, and at that moment she not only knew of the pains he had suffered that she would live and be free, but she felt them.   She had a clear recollection of all that he had graciously suffered and great sobs of agony poured from her as she bitterly wept drowning his feet with her tears.  She had made mistakes in her life on earth,  how could she have been so blind, how could she have forgotten her promise to be true, oh how could she have made him suffer so with her choices, someone she loved with her whole being.  At that very moment she had a perfect recollection of her life, a perfect recollection of his sacrifice and she wept, for she had not honored him as her heart had desired, and she could no longer look upon him for she was unworthy and she fell before him at his feet, indeed and ever heartbroken, she could not be consoled from her grief.   

Then she felt it.  His hand as he laid it upon her head, he caressed her hair like one would do for a little child and consoled her speaking in the mildest of tones with a love and tenderness she had never before known, saying, “daughter why do you weep so,” she would not look upon him but could feel the gentle smile he possessed, it penetrated her, and she felt a love so full and strong that it was palatable.   HE lifted her chin with his hand that their eyes would meet and said “Thy sins are forgiven, thou art a good daughter, be not down trodden, go thy way, sin no more”  (© Dawn Michelle. All rights reserved)

In reference to the atonement, “to the thoughtful woman and man, it is “a matter of surpassing wonder” that the voluntary and merciful sacrifice of a single being could satisfy the infinite and eternal demands of justice, atone for every human transgression and misdeed, and thereby sweep all humankind into the encompassing arms of His merciful embrace. But so it is.” -Jeffery R Holland of the quorum of the twelve apostles of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

 In a manner to us that is incomprehensible and inexplicable, He bore the weight of the sins of the whole world and in doing that, opened the kingdom of heaven…..

"Through his suffering, Jesus redeemed the souls of all men, women, and children “that his bowels would be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he would know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” In doing so, Christ “descended below all things”—including every kind of sickness, infirmity, and dark despair experienced by every mortal being.  The utter loneliness and excruciating pain was so great that it caused him, even Christ to cry out “My God My God why hast Thou forsaken me” and he did this in order that He might “comprehend all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth" -Jeffery R Holland of the quorum of the twelve apostles of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints we are taught from our youth of the atonement and its importance; but with this knowledge we have of the atonement of the Savior, it is important for us to remember and not forget that it covers everyone.  

My message today maybe for you, to let you know that His sacrifice was not for everyone else except you because your sins and mistakes are too great or because you feel you will never be good enough.  But that His sacrifice IS for you, if your sins are too great and you feel you are not good enough. 

And my message today may be for you, to remind you that.  It’s important to remember that the atonement is not just for you because you are a member of the church magnifying your calling and living the letter of the law. But that it’s also for those who may not be members or are not doing so great with their job and may need extra help with the law.  In fine, the atonement is for everyone.

It is imperative that we also remember that the atonement covers all things.  Pain, sorrow, grief,  irritability with one another, day to day misgivings, judgemental attitudes, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, sadness, forgetfulness, selfishness, and a host of human imperfections we are guilty of,  if, we can but use the time we are given, to prayerfully seek forgiveness and direction, and to accept council and guidance.  

The Atonement is the greatest of all gifts, it heals, provides safety, and peace, it absolves us from the sin of Adam, it ensures the resurrection of every man woman and child that ever lived or ever will live upon the earth, AND every other principle, commandment, and virtue of the restored gospel draws its significance from this single event.  Everything that we do, everything that we have is because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. 

Of course by now you know that the topic I was asked to speak about today is the Atonement and I think its because I have been seeking an even deeper knowledge and understanding of the nature of Christ.  And as I have come across things that make me think and feel differently I have had a great desire to share them that all of us together will have a deeper and greater understanding.  

Even so, there's not a lot that I can tell you that you probably don’t already know.  The LDS Church is generous with curriculum and the voice of our general authorities in teaching us true and correct doctrine and principles.  From the time we are children until the day we leave to return home,  the Lord through faithful servants, has provided for us, so that we are not left alone and on our own,  but have the guidance and direction that we need. 

 What I can tell you, however, is this.  I WAS that woman stricken with grief at His feet.  In fact, I was, a sinful woman.  I was without a doubt blind and made him suffer because of my choices and through my own personal repentance process, I felt the real physical feeling as the holy ghost left when he was removed from me; after which I sat in sacrament meeting and watched the bread and water as it passed me by because I could not partake.  

 Many times as Latter day saints its unimaginable to us to not be able to partake of the sacrament or be without the holy ghost  for it is freely given us upon baptism and it can in many instances be taken with a grain of salt attitude.  The idea was inconceivable for me, until it happened; and many who do have to attend to the process of repentance that I did, don’t return at all.  But for me, I grasped onto the hope of the Atonement and held it with dear life, for I had felt it, I had felt it with a real physical feeling, I had beheld it with my natural self, thus it was my entire goal to gain a true knowledge of the gifts of the atonement and allow it to work in my life.  For oh, oh how I longed to be with my Savior once again! 

At the very moment I chose to accept the Atonement and allow it to work and to accept the consequence of my actions, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He lives, that the Atonement is real and not a Sunday Story made up, it is not a game, He lives! and he died that I, that we, could be saved and live also.  

When the time came after my repentance process that I was reinstated, and I was able to partake of the sacrament for the first time, I wept with great sobs even almost unable to eat, for I was so full of humble gratitude for what he had done for me.  I have not only received  forgiveness of my sins and been made new, I have also received healing and strength from tragedies, I continue to be carried in my day to day struggles and my heart and mind think upon him through my days when the world seems to fall upon me.  So it is my greatest desire to have an even deeper understanding of this gift Christ has given us, it is my desire to more reverently partake of the sacrament and stay focused, it is my true and honest need to be able to watch with him one hour, without falling asleep and it is my desire for you to join me.  

We are told again by Jeffery R Holland that “[The sacrament] should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions. As such it should not be rushed. It is not something to ‘get over’ so that the real purpose of a sacrament meeting can be pursued. This is the real purpose of the meeting. And everything that is said or sung or prayed in those services should be consistent with the grandeur of this sacred ordinance.

If we properly prepare for the sacrament, and partake worthily we can transform our lives.   Donald R Clarke of the seventy has suggested a guide line of five steps to help us do just that.  

1. Have a feeling of gratitude for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
2. Remember that we are renewing baptismal covenants.
3. Seek to feel forgiven of our sins.
4. Seek inspiration for solutions to our problems.
          5.  Partake of the sacrament worthily so we can be filled with the Holy Ghost
Therefore, today,  it is my suggestion and prayer that we all give more heed and focus for the Atonement of our Lord and Savior even Jesus Christ.  That we attend our sacrament meetings and not skip for whatever reasons; as our entire lives, our very souls, rest upon our partaking of the sacrament worthily. 

 Let it not be the time to prepare lessons or work, let it not be for things of the world and let us strive for it to not be a stressful time with ill feelings and judgements. Let us focus with reverence and love, let us renew ourselves with him that we may be strengthened, let us learn for ourselves that we may, in the ways of Christ, show others how they too through the Atonement can be new, how they too can have hope, how  they also can press forward; and let us honor him as our hearts so desire to do, that when he comes, after we have sat to watch, we will not be asleep, but will be indeed awake….. 

With Love,
Dixie Dawn