Friday, February 27, 2009

Relax and Enjoy!

I don’t know about the weather where you are, but here it is a beautiful day. The air stills nips at my nose with its chill, but the sun is out and as I walked around today I soon forgot the nippiness. My yellow crocuses are breaking through the brown dirt and with the bright blue sky overhead it almost felt like spring! The big piles of dirty snow are fast melting and birds I haven’t heard for months are occasionally singing. Winter passes. Spring arrives and I didn’t do one thing to make it happen! God did it all. Sunshine! Flowers! Fresh air! Wow! It gives me hope. If He can do all this, certainly He can take care of me! I just need to trust and enjoy while God takes care of the rest!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just Ask

All of us have heard the wonderful verses of scripture (James 1:5-6) that motivated Joseph Smith to go into the grove to pray. We’ve heard them so often that sometimes we fail to really pay attention to what they say. We hear the verse and think “We are to pray in order to learn,” but don’t even notice the rest of what is taught. But there is much more!

In verse five we are promised that God will give to all people (not just to Joseph Smith and not just to prophets, but to all of us!) liberally, which means “marked by generosity.” And despite what we ask or how often we ask, he will not upbraid us. Upbraid is a word we don’t hear much anymore. It means to criticize severely or to find fault with. In other words, we can ask God and He will not criticize us or fault us for asking.

That is very comforting to me. Anything I want or need to know—it doesn’t matter how big or small a concern or questions—I can ask God about and He will not reproach me or scold me. Never! In other, more positive words, I have a Father who wants to teach me everything He knows. I can’t take it all in at once, but question at a time, line upon line, I can learn from Him. All I need to do is ask.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Do Not Anger Again"

Nephi’s Psalm found in 2 Ne 4:29-35, begins with a lament over Nephi’s failings and shortcomings. Nephi knows so much, has seen angels, seen visions, been taught by the Lord and yet he still makes mistakes. Obviously this is bothering him, but the Psalm ends with a command to himself: “Do not anger again because of mine enemies.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about anger lately and how it disrupts our lives. The dictionary defines anger as, “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.” This displeasure can range from mild irritation to rage, but it is all anger and is harmful. What the definition doesn’t begin to capture is the damage anger can do to relationships or our health and happiness. Recent studies show that besides causing stress anger can trigger heart attacks and death!

The more I pondered on this the more I realized that if we want to overcome anger in our lives we need to understand what causes the displeasure and antagonism. Surprisingly, the answer to that is simple. Anger occurs when something violates our conviction of what should be. When people think someone should be home at a certain time and they don’t show up, the person gets angry. When a driver cuts in front of a person and the person thinks the driver shouldn’t, they get angry. The list could go on, but anytime we think something should or should not be the way it is, it generates anger. The important thing to realize is we don’t have to become angry. Because we have agency, we can choose to accept what has happened without thinking it shouldn’t have happened. Thus we avoid anger. If we’ve been in the habit of letting anger flare in us, it may be difficult to change, but we can change if we want to.

Nephi seems to be at a point in his life where anger with himself, family, or friends is no longer a problem. But he realizes that nothing good can come from being angry even with his enemies. Whatever point we are at, we too can overcome anger and thereby make our lives happier. As the Old Testament preacher says, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Eccl 7:9).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

With Longing

We often talk about the Savior’s love for us. We cite the Atonement and His healing of the people as examples of that love, which they certainly are. But there are many other, more subtle, evidences of the Savior’s love for us.

One of them occurs as the Last Supper begins. Luke tells us that at that time the Savior said to the disciples, “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). Both the NIV and NRSV of the Bible translate that verse as, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;" The Greek word translated as “desire” in the KJV and as “eagerly” in the NIV and NRSV could also have been translated “with longing.” By looking at these various translations and the Greek synonym we get a better feel for the intensity of Jesus’ statement. Jesus REALLY wants to be with them. He wants their company. Of course He desires to with them so He can teach them, but it is more than that. He “longs” to be with them and to eat this Passover with them because He enjoys being with them. This tells us a lot about His love for them and for us.

Just as Jesus desired to be with the disciples, He desires to be with us. He wants us to return to Him. He wants to be able to sit down to supper with us and mingle with us. He wants our company because He loves us. The question then is whether we, with the same intensity, eagerly desire to sit down to supper with Him.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Road To Discovery

After Jesus joined Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus, He asked what they were talking about and why they were so sad. Surprised that He hadn’t heard the news, Cleopas asked, “Don’t you know what has happened?”

Then they proceeded to tell Him all about the great prophet Jesus, how the Jewish leaders had delivered Him to death, and how disappointed they were because they had believed that Jesus would redeem Israel. But there was more. Certain women had told them that angels had appeared and that Jesus' tomb was now empty just three days after the burial!

Jesus listened to all they had to say then rebuked them for being slow to believe, and began to teach them from the scriptures all things pertaining to Christ.

Throughout this entire encounter Cleopas and his companion never suspected that they were being taught by the Savior himself for they did not recognize Him. But they were touched by what He taught and when they reached their destination, they didn’t want the stranger to leave and asked Jesus to stay with them. As they ate supper, he took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. Obviously this was either a sacrament or sacramental symbolism, and we are told that as the two partook, their “eyes were opened, and they knew him” (Luke 24:31).

There are several lessons in this story for me. One is that if we too are eager to learn of Christ and stay close to those who are teaching us of Him, He will someday be revealed to us. Another lesson I learn is that the sacrament is one of the ways we come to know the Savior. The Sacrament can open our eyes, also, if when we partake of it we are worthy and are thinking of Him.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Taking Charge

The other day a friend startled me when she said, “I admire your ability to live in the present.“ The reason the remark surprised me is that living in the present isn’t an ability. It is a choice. Anyone who wants to can live in the present instead of worrying about or wishing for the future or fretting about or desiring to return to the past.

I’ve pondered on her statement a lot since then. So many of us go through life assuming that the way we are is the way we are always going to be. How often have you heard someone say something like, “I’m a person who needs to know. . . “ or “I can’t function without. . . “ or “I have to have everything. . .” You can finish each of these phrases with hundreds of things, but the point is when we think in these kinds of terms we are denying the fact that we have agency and can change. It isn’t that people NEED to know; it is that they like to know and have chosen to like to know. It isn’t that people can’t function without; it is they have chosen not to be able to function without.

The reason some of us cling to these ideas is that we don’t want to change. Change takes effort and it is a lot easier to just say this is the way I am, and make everyone around us deal with it. But in many cases, change would make our lives so much more enjoyable. It would strengthen our relationships. It would bring us closer to the Spirit. It would make life easier. Yet we stubbornly cling to the idea that what we are can’t be changed.

Agency is a great gift, but it does us no good if we don’t use it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Melody Making

Paul gives some wonderful advice to the Ephesians. He says, “Be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:18-19). Being a woman who talks to herself—usually right out loud—I like that Paul is encouraging such activity instead of condemning it as bordering on senile. I also like that he encourages us to think in poetry and music. I’ve always thought that both are the highest forms of language. Both can help us draw close to the Spirit.

I especially love the phrase, “Making melody in your heart to the Lord.” The word melody means, “A sweet or agreeable succession or arrangement of sounds.” And it is very interesting what power “a sweet succession of sounds” can have on you. Try it sometime today. When you feel yourself getting upset, or anxious, or stressing, or worrying, or any other negative feeling just begin to hum a sweet succession of sounds to the Lord. Make it up as you go. You don’t need words—you can hum or sing la, la, la’s. All you need to do is make sure it is sweet; then watch what happens.

I’m interested in how it works for you. Leave a comment and share your experience with singing and making melody in your heart. I'd like to use some of these experiences in a book I'm writing--with your permission, of course!

I hope you have a melodious day!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Way

In the New Testament the teachings of Jesus aren’t called Christianity, the gospel, the Church, or any other designation we refer to them as today. Instead His teachings were simply called “the way.” When blind Bartimaeus was given sight by the Lord, we are told that he then “followed Jesus in the way” (Mark 10:52).

I love this description. It isn’t A way to go, but it is THE way to go. It conjures up in my mind a mental picture of a well defined path that is worn because many have traveled it before. Those who have traveled this path are no less than people such as Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Rachel and Leah, Joseph and Emma, and the greatest of all, Jesus Christ himself. There is a certain security that comes from knowing you are on a path worn hard and smooth by such people.

When I think about the way in this manner, it is less tempting to consider taking a purported short-cut through the bush or even a cut-off that is touted as leading to pleasure and fun. The way that is worn smooth and well defined by apostles and prophets looks good to me. I like the idea of “following Jesus in the way.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thoroughly Stretched

In the Book of Mormon we are constantly warned about the dangers of contention. For example in Mosiah 23:15 we are told that Alma did “teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them.” I know that contention means disputing or arguing, but the other day I looked up the word and discovered that it comes from the Latin word “contendere” which is made up of the prefix “com-“ which means thoroughly and the root verb “tendere” which means “to stretch.” Thus the original meaning of contending is “to stretch thoroughly.”

Sometimes a history of a word helps me understand the current meaning better. This one baffled me. How did “to stretch thoroughly” turn into “to dispute or argue”? I’m not sure, but the thought of someone being stretched thoroughly because they are arguing sent a mental picture into my mind that started me laughing. Stop for a minute and imagine it yourself. You become defensive and start to argue or defend yourself and as you do you start to stretch into a pencil thin, pinched together person. Think Pinocchio’s nose only instead of just your nose it is your whole body that stretches out like pulled taffy. You checks suck in, your eyes elongate, and your arms grow long. You have to admit it is funny!

Now every time I start to contend I’m going to think of that image and instead of contending, I’m going to laugh at myself and move on! I don’t know how “thoroughly stretched” became “contending” but I don’t like the thought of being “thoroughly stretched” so I’ll let the word history work to help me!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Get Life!

Because it has become a swear word, most of us avoid not only saying, but thinking about the word “damned.” But it appears throughout the scriptures hundreds of times, and it is instructive to understand what is meant by the word. The dictionary definition of the words is “to condemn to a punishment or fate.” But what is the punishment? The punishment is that you stop in your progress.

In Moses 5:15, we are told that in the beginning God taught that “as many as believed in the Son, and repented of their sins, should be saved; and as many as believed not and repented not, should be damned.” To be saved means that you go on in your progression. To be damned means that your progression stops. That is the punishment. You don’t grow any closer to your Father in Heaven. You don’t become more like Him. You don’t gain more faith or hope or love or anything that is good. You stop where you are and remain like that.

Each of us chooses whether or not we will be damned and those who are damned choose the moment they will stop growing and remain like that. It is the moment they sin and refuse to repent. However, for those who recognize when a mistake has been made and repent, the damning barrier is lifted and they go on progressing to Eternal Life. So the choice is be damned or repent and progress. I like the idea of progressing!

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Words of Isaiah

My students often complain that Isaiah is too difficult to read. I agree that certain passages are difficult. I don’t understand it all, but there are so many wonderful things hidden away in Isaiah that it is worth plowing through it to find them. For example, In Isaiah 41:10 it says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

The right hand is the covenant hand and so the Lord is telling us that when we are keeping the covenants He sustains us. The covenants we make with Him are binding and powerful! Because of those covenants, we don’t need to fear. We don’t need to get discouraged. We have a covenant with God, and therefore He is with us and will take care of us.

Finding passages such as these help us understand what the Lord meant when he said, “Search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

There is so much good in this world, but so much that tempts us to only see what is bad. On this Valentine’s Day as we focus on people we love, I’m also focusing on all there is around me to love—all that is good and wonderful. But focusing isn’t enough. Giving thanks isn’t enough. I’m focusing on what is good so that I can give a Valentine’s gift to the world. How? By passing on, in any way I can, what is good.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
I hope many good things come your way today. Then pass it on!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Tree of Life

When Nephi is shown his father’s vision, an angel guides him, commanding him to “Look!” Every time Nephi obeys he is shown something new and the angel asks him a question. They continue like this for some time. Commanding. Obeying. Learning.

At one point Nephi is shown the Tree of Life and the angel asks, “Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?” Since it is the Tree of Life you would expect Nephi to answer that it is about life. But instead he says, “Yea, it is the love of God.”

If you stop to ponder that answer doors of understanding open. Eternal life is love. Jesus Christ, who is the Tree of Life, is love. The gospel, given to us by Jesus Christ, is love. That Tree represents so very much that it could have taken Nephi hours to explain. But he understood all that it represented and summed it up in six little words, “It is the love of God.”

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Power Source

We often hear people say that in order to help others we must first fill our own well. It makes sense. If you have no water in the well, you can’t offer anyone a drink. Unless you first study the scriptures, you can’t teach them.

But the metaphor of filling the well is a little deceiving. It gives the impression that we have to be constantly concerned about ourselves and doing things for ourselves in order to fill the well. It gives a subconscious picture of us as always frantically searching and filling for fear of running dry. Some even use this metaphor as a pretext for self indulgence. Their attitude is something like: “I’ve got to do this for myself or I won’t be happy and if I’m not happy I can’t make anyone else happy!” But in 2 Corinthians 9:8 we read, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

What this verse is telling us is that a better metaphor than the well is a metaphor of electricity. What we need to do to help others is not to fill our well, but to plug into the right source, Jesus Christ. Once we do that by repenting, obeying Him, and trusting in Him then we are connected to Him and His grace flows through us to bless others. His grace, or enabling power, isn’t something that runs dry and needs to be replaced. Instead it flows constantly, and as long as we remain worthy the power source is turned on and is available.

If we “plug” into the source, we will never run dry! We will always have enough to sustain ourselves and plenty left over to offer to others.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let Me Be Light!

You’ve all heard the verse in Luke that says, “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light” (Luke 11:33). In this King James translation the meaning is that we should not hide our light, but we should let it shine brightly for all to see.

Verse 34 goes on to say, “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light, but when thine eye is evil thy body also is full of darkness.” When we go to the extant Greek copies of the New Testament, we find something interesting here. The word “luchos” that is translated as candle in verse 33 is the same word that is translated as the first “light” in verse 34. Therefore verse 34 could have been translated “The candle of the body is the eye.” Luchos is a metaphor for the eye because just as a candle illuminates the way for us to go, the eye perceives the way to go. Therefore the message here is that when our directing force (our desires and attitudes) is single to God our whole body will be full of directing light. But when our directing force is evil, we will stumble in darkness and have no light to share.

I don’t know about you, but I need all the light I can get. So the secret is to watch my desires and attitudes and keep them single to God. Then I will have plenty of light to put on a candlestick and illuminate my way.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mighty Prayer

One of Jesus’ disciples once asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” In response the Savior gave the people what we now call the Lord ’s Prayer and then went on to teach with a parable. In the parable a man receives unexpected company and has nothing to feed his guests. Frantically, he knocks on a friend’s door and asks for some bread. The friend is already comfortably bedded down for the night and calls out that he can’t come to the door.

But the man persists in knocking, and we are told that though the friend wouldn’t go to the door simply because he was a friend, he finally goes to the door because of the man’s “importunity” (Luke 11:5-10).

Jesus is teaching about prayer and obviously we get the message that sometimes we need to be persistent in praying for what we need and want. But there is something more here. The word importune means “to request or beg for urgently.” Persistence is definitely part of this definition, but in addition we get the feeling that Jesus is explaining that prayer is not just words, prayer also involves emotion.

Sometimes our prayers become routine—just spoken words. But prayer means that we are engaged in the thoughts and intents of our prayer with all of our mind and our heart. The scriptures call this mighty prayer. What Jesus is teaching us here is that mighty prayer is not something uttered; mighty prayer is something felt.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Imperfect "C"

I have to admit that during the announcements at Sacrament meeting yesterday, I had a difficult time concentrating. I was looking at all the heads in front of me and thinking about which men had hair shorter than mine. There were only two that I could find. That was a little discouraging but maybe someone will get a haircut this week so that I can find three or four next week. I am thankful the speakers were very good or I may have counted through the whole meeting!

Several scriptures have also taken on new meaning for me. I used to read that “there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost” (Alma 11:44) in a rather cursory way. But now it has great significance. The bald “C” on my head won’t always be there because “every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame.” What a wonderful promise that is.

Every time I look at my bald “C” I am reminded of that promise and I want to shout “Hallelujah!!” My “C” is temporary, and until every hair of my head is restored, it will remind me of the Person who made it temporary, Jesus Christ. I hope you are also blessed with something that daily reminds you of our Savior. Otherwise the daily hustle and bustle make it is so easy to forget the promises He has given us.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sheep and Goats

At one point in Jesus’ ministry, the mother of James and John came to worship Jesus and he asked her what she wanted of Him. She answered, “Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom” (JST Matthew 20:21).

Jesus answered, “Ye know not what ye ask” (Matthew 20:22).

At first it would seem like James and John’s mother was asking a very reasonable thing. Wouldn’t every mother like her children near Jesus? But later, in Mathew 25:33, the Savior explains that when the Son of Man comes in glory, He is going to separate the righteous which he compares to sheep from the wicked which he compares to goats. “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” So what James and John’s mother unknowingly asked for is that one of her sons would be among the righteous and one among the wicked.

There is a great lesson in this for me. I must be careful what I ask my Father in Heaven for and remember that when He says no, it could be that I have actually asked for something that would not be good for me!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Miracle of Righteousness

In the vision that Nephi and his father Lehi saw, they are shown the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. When Nephi sees them he is told that “These twelve ministers whom thou beholdest shall judge thy seed. And, behold, they are righteous forever; for because of their faith in the Lamb of God their garments are made white in his blood” (1 Nephi 12:10). There are two things in this verse that caught my attention.

First, we are told why the apostles are righteous forever. But the answer isn’t what you would suspect. It isn’t because they are so wonderful or marvelous or good. No! The apostles are righteous forever because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Too many of us are worrying so much about being righteous that we miss the point. Yes, we need to do good, but righteousness comes about by trusting in Jesus Christ not just by being good. Trusting means that when adversity comes or hard times, we trust that the Savior will guide us through the problems and that all that is happening is for our good. We don’t complain or become bitter or fret or stew—we trust.

The second thing that struck me is that the verse says the apostles “garments are made white in his blood.” Now I’m a woman who has done a lot of laundry and I know for a fact that you can’t make clothes white by soaking them in blood. So what does the Savior mean by this metaphor? What would it take to make clothes white in blood? It would take a miracle. And that is exactly what He offers us. The Atonement that will make us righteous forever is a miracle—the greatest miracle in the world.

Friday, February 6, 2009

We Need Each Other!

Thanks to all of you who left me birthday wishes here, on Facebook, or my email. It meant so very much to me! You helped make it the best birthday ever. There is something about facing the possibility of death, coming through it, and then celebrating your birth so soon afterward that makes that celebration more momentous.

One of the things that made it so meaningful is that through all this experience with Grizelda I have REALLY come to realize how much we mean to each other. The Savior’s words that we should be one with each other and with Him are not just nice advice. There is something about bonding with one another, caring about one another, sharing life’s experiences with one another, and rejoicing with one another that is essential to happy living here and Eternal living hereafter. We influence each other much more that we realize. A simple few kind words can change the course of someone else’s bad day. A smile, a hug, a heartfelt greeting can lift and encourage. And usually we don’t even know that we’ve done it!

So thanks again! It was the very best of birthdays. And I’m grateful I was here for it.

picture from:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Party Time!

All right, what can I say! I’m another year older. But I prefer to think about the fact that I've gained more credibility! Since last birthday, I know more. I have more friends. I’ve traveled more. I’ve read more. I’ve had new experiences. I’ve conquered new challenges. I’ve loved more. I’ve been loved more. I’ve heard new music. I’ve tasted new foods. In short, I don’t understand all this dread of getting older! Bring it on! The older the better! At least until my birthday means I know less because I forget, have less friends because they’re dying, I’ve traveled less because my wheelchair won’t take me very far, I’ve read less because my eye sight is failing, I haven’t heard new music because music makes my hearing aid buzz, I haven’t tasted anything because my taste buds don’t work, and I’ve conquered less challenges because I can’t stay awake long enough to conquer. Then maybe I won’t like birthdays. But until then, let’s party—with or without hair!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm So Lucky!!

I went to lunch with some friends today and somehow a rather sarcastic conversation started with everyone joining in on, “I’m so lucky because . . .” You know, “I’m so lucky I broke my leg because that’s how I met my husband.” Or “I’m so lucky I got in a car accident because I got a new car.” It almost became a game around the table, but it got me thinking that I’m going to make that my theme for the year.

“I’m so lucky I had to shave my head because now I get to see what I look like bald.”
“I’m so lucky my hair is ¾ inches long because soon it will cover my bald spot around my scar.”
“I’m so lucky I’m getting older because my friends took me to lunch!”
“I’m so lucky I’m out of work because now I can sleep in anytime I want.”
“I’m so lucky I had brain surgery because now I have something to blame all my forgetfulness on.”

All kidding aside, I have so many blessings and have received so many miracles recently that my “I’m so lucky” list is very long and not sarcastic at all. But even then (I’m ashamed to admit it), I sometimes start to think about the negative side of things. So turning everything into an “I’m so lucky” is going to be my goal this year because I really am lucky and I want to remember that!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Expecting Spring

I am expecting my crocus to push their way into the world any day now. I love how they suddenly brighten my lifeless yard and distribute color so generously. I’ve come to expect it now, but we moved into our home many years ago in August when everything was dying. We had no idea the crocus there, and how surprised we were that next spring to see rows and rows of crocus and then tulips and daffodils and hyacinths. After the long winter, the yard was ablaze with brilliant color that I hadn’t done a thing to make happen. The previous home-owner had planted it all, but God was in charge, and in the divine order of things He made it bloom.

Our lives are like that. We have our winters and our springs. We go through cycles and processes of learning. But through it all, God is in charge and His divine order is directing every summer and every autumn of our lives. What we must remember is that even through the crocus seems to suddenly appear, it has been developing and preparing the whole winter long. There cannot be spring without winter and no autumn without summer. Each season is necessary and can’t be rushed. Our only job is to trust in the divine order and be patient. God is in charge of our lives and He will make them bloom.

Monday, February 2, 2009


In Isaiah 8:19-22 there are some difficult passages to understand. Part of the problem is the King James translation which is very unclear and confusing in these verses. However, when we go to other translations of the original Hebrew texts, these passages become not only clear but extremely instructive for our times.

The gist of what Isaiah is saying in these verses is that it is useless for people to turn to mediums, astrology, or anything but God to get answers about life and what to do. One shouldn’t inquire of the dead to know what to do for the living. When people accept and speak words from any of these other sources they will have words with no light, and thus they will roam about hungry. (I assume this means spiritually hungry.) And in this state of hunger they become angry and they blame God for their problems. And as they look around everything will be depressing and full of anguish and gloom.

We live in tough times. The economy is failing. Sin abounds. Adversity hits us from every side. In our day most of us aren’t tempted to turn to mediums and astrologers for answers, but we are tempted to listen to worldly prognostications spouted by the stock market experts, newscasters, politicians, and academics. We hear them on television and read them in the newspapers. But as Isaiah taught, instead of listening to them, we should be listening to the Lord. The worldly forecasts give us advice as they guess at the future, but it is never comforting. We go away from them hungry and upset and sometimes even doubting or blaming God.

The Lord, on the other hand, will guide us as to what we should do and feed us at the same time. When fed and full of His comfort and love, we can see the problems around us and know what to do. But even more, we can live without feeling anguish, despair or gloom. We can be at peace knowing the Lord is with us and will guide us through the problems we face.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Light That Leads

At one point in the New Testament, Jesus and His disciples are traveling through Galilee into Capernaum. When they reach Capernaum the Savior asks the disciples what it was they were disputing about while they were traveling. Mark tells us that the disciples, “Held their peace” (Mark 9:34). I can imagine the scene as the disciples lowered their heads and awkwardly averted looking into the eyes of the Savior. The reason they remained silent and didn’t want to answer is because they had been arguing about who was the greatest among them and they knew they shouldn’t have been doing that. It is interesting to me that their own hearts convicted them, not the Savior.

From time to time we all get caught up in doing something that we know isn’t right. And we know at the moment we are doing it that it isn’t right. How do we know? Because our hearts tell us it isn’t right. We don’t need a mother standing over us wagging her finger and saying, “No, no, no!” Each of us has been blessed with the Light of Christ (Moroni 7: 15-16) and that Light lets us know if what we are doing is right or wrong. If we heed that Light it is like Lehi’s Liahona. It will guide us to the things we should do. If we consistently disobey the light, it soon goes out and we are left with a guilty conscience and in darkness.

Learning to listen and obey our own internal promptings is one of the most important things we can do in life. We are wired with all the voltage we need. We just have to use the Light.