Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Mighty Change of Heart: Alma 5

ldsliving.com
Alma 5 discusses having a Mighty Change of Heart.

And who better to teach it than Alma the Younger who had one the mightiest changes of heart in The Book of Mormon.  He went from being the "vilest" of sinners...to a mighty prophet of God. 


What IS a mighty change of heart?

A mighty change of heart is one of the levels of repentance.  It is a deeper level, requiring deeper commitment.  This time a person is not just repenting...meaning stopping their sinful behavior....but their hearts change and they never again return  to this  behavior.

If someone has a mighty change of heart, they leave their sins and their past life with those sins...and begin a new life, being a new person. They don't look back.  They only look at where they are going, not where they have been.  And definitely not ever longing to go back.  Think of Lot's wife.  She was turned to salt not because she looked, but because in her heart she wanted to "go back". 

A mighty change of heart is a miracle.  Listen to what Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke from his talk {Miracles}
"...one of the greatest miracles is a mighty change of heart by a son or daughter of God (see Mosiah 5:2). A change of heart, including new attitudes, priorities, and desires, is greater and more important than any miracle involving the body. I repeat, the body will be resurrected in any event, but a change affecting what the scripture calls the “heart” of a spirit son or daughter of God is a change whose effect is eternal. If of the right kind, this change opens the door to the process of repentance that cleanses us to dwell in the presence of God. It introduces the perspective and priorities that lead us to make the choices that qualify us for eternal life, “the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7)."
Have miracles ceased? see {Moroni 7:29}  Does God  save, rescue, and deliver?  see {this}




Why Do We Want a Mighty Change of Heart ?

Those going through the process of receiving a mighty change of heart, might feel overwhelmed, and  want to go back to what they know best, the easier more comfortable life. Remember the children of Israel who at times wanted to go back to their life as slaves in Egypt than go through the learning process of  the wilderness.  God was with them and delivered them. He will also deliver us.  It is a process that requires patience.


Alma 5 also refers to those people who persist in their sins.  Alma warned of that outcome.  An outcome, he no doubt, came very close to himself.  Alma 5:52:

52 And again I say unto you, the Spirit saith: Behold, the aax is laid at the root of the tree; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be bhewn down and cast into the fire, yea, a fire which cannot be consumed, even an unquenchable fire. Behold, and remember, the Holy One hath spoken it.

What is required of Us? 
  • Putting our trust in "the true and living God" (Alma 5: 13)
  • Having His image in our countenances, (Alma 5:14)and having the light in our eyes.  When people are living the gospel, they don't have to tell others, it shows in their faces.  See Elaine Dalton's talk    {It Shows in your Face}
  • Faith in God
  • Being clean through the Atonement of Christ

Now What?

Alma the Younger set the perfect example of what to do after you have received a mighty change of heart. 

He never ceased to remember.  Over and over again in The Book of Mormon he refers to the Lord delivering his father, Alma and their people. (there was 2 deliveries there) and of his own delivery from spiritual destruction.  Remember, remember, remember.   Remembering reminds us of God's hand in our lives and that it was by HIM that we were delivered.  Alma 5:6

6 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, you that belong to this church, have you sufficiently retained in aremembrance the captivity of your fathers? Yea, and have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them? And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?
 Now for the final thought...vs. 7

7 Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word; yea, they were encircled about by the abands of death, and the bchains of hell, and an everlasting destruction did await them.
 8 And now I ask of you, my brethren, were they destroyed? Behold, I say unto you, Nay, they were not.

We have such a perfect, merciful, loving Father in Heaven who waits with open arms to deliver us, rescue us, and receive us.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Proclamation Series: Nurturing our Family Through Food



"Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children"

That one simple declaration has made me reflect over and over again on my role in our home as a "nurturer"

I will admit, many years ago, I felt a little gypped that our only declared role was to nurture. It is such a short one-liner. Wasn't there more to be had as a mother? Did we get the short end of the stick?

To nurture means: to promote and sustain the growth and development of something, to feed or support, educate or train, nourish, raise, inspire with confidence, give hope or courage to, care for, rear,bring up from infancy,help develop, help grow...etc
Basically it encompasses all we do as mothers, and what we do best. We have the natural innate tendencies to nurture. Through nurturing we come to find ourselves and fulfill God's purposes.

I have a picture on my wall that is a great reminder to me everyday


We can't underestimate our value and worth in the nurturing of our children.

One of the greatest ways we nurture our family is through food


Children are born associating mom with food. Sometimes we try to separate ourselves as mothers from being the constant need to be the food person.

Through nature and because of nurturing: we are it.


I have noticed that there is little else that can bring a feeling of home, comfort, warmth, and family bond more than mom baking, cooking, being there in the kitchen doing her thing.


I have also noticed, that there is really no homey feeling of comfort, warmth, or family bonding when we as mothers, are not there providing meals and food for our families in a nurturing way.

When we are standing up around the counter, everyone "fending for themselves", and eating on their own. Besides feeling chaos, you will definitely notice that

something is missing!

...and it will effect the spirit of your home and the cohesiveness of our family.

There is something to sitting down together, with every one's feet under the table, eating a meal, and talking about the day. It is worth sacrificing to make happen.

Dallin H. Oaks in his talk Good, Better, Best said this:

"The number of those who report that their “whole family usually eats dinner together” has declined 33 percent. This is most concerning because the time a family spends together “eating meals at home [is] the strongest predictor of children’s academic achievement and psychological adjustment.”
What your children really want for dinner is you."

Nurturing our family through food, in one of those small and simple things...
for which great things are brought to pass.


See: Julie B. Beck's, {Powerful Nurturing}

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Atonement is like a Blanket



When I think of the Atonement, I think of a blanket that covers me.


By nature I am almost always cold.  I hate to be cold more than anything else.  If I am cold, I cannot sleep at night, and cannot concentrate during the day.  My mind just wants comfort and warmth.

Turning to the Lord, and having the Atonement applied in my life and letting it cover my pains, heart-aches, struggles, and sins...feels like the perfect warm blanket on a cold night warming, soothing, comforting, loving, and bringing healing to a needing body.





"The word atonement is from the ancient Hebrew word Kaphar, which means to cover. Isn’t it interesting that when Adam and Eve discovered their nakedness in the Garden of
Eden, God sent Jesus to make coats of skins to cover them? Coats of skins don’t grow
on trees. They had to be made from an animal, which means an animal had to be killed.
Perhaps that was the very first animal sacrifice. Because of that sacrifice, Adam and Eve
were covered. In the same way, through Jesus’s sacrifice, we are also covered."--see Brad Wilcox  Faith as an Anchor

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Come Unto the Savior


"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
 and I will give you rest."
-Matthew 11:28


I love this picture of the Savior and this scripture that goes so perfectly with it.  To know that I can approach the Savior, cast my burdens at His feet, and that He will help me carry them, has been a great comfort to me.

As this picture hangs in our temple, I have had many opportunities to do this.  I have literally felt His arms surround me, His eyes appear as if they looked straight into my soul, understanding my heart  and His arms so welcoming to Come Unto Him.

We all carry so much everyday. 
We can't do it without the Savior. 
He will lessen our loads and make everything
easier.   He brings light, hope, and perspective to our lives
as we approach Him, share our burdens with Him,
and Come Unto Him.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Proclamation Series: Marriage Quotes & Links


..."We declare that marriage [is between one man and one woman]  is ordained of God"
-The Family" A Proclamation to the World






_____________________________________________________________
Other posts on this subject:




Other links:





-a great reference on my home book shelf








Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Judging Not


As my teenage daughters would say: "that awkward moment when you have spent way too much time judging some one else, only to realize you are the one with the problem"
 
Oh! Man! I hate that!!
 
 
Here is the scripture we all know, and the one probably running through your mind right now: 

Matthew 7:1aJudge not, that ye be not bjudged.
2 For with what ajudgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what bmeasure ye mete, it shall be cmeasured to you again.
3 aAnd why beholdest thou the bmote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the cbeam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?


I would guess that most of us, if not all of us, have been on the receiving end of being judged, gossiped about, looked down upon, or mis-treated in some way, as well as doing a little bit of it ourselves.   
Why not judge?  Why not say what is true, or what we deem correct, about someone else? Isn't there an element of fun and entertainment associated with gossip and judging others? After all, it makes us feel GREAT about ourselves, right??! [insert sarcasm] Actually that is only an illusion.

 Four reasons WHY you should never judge someone else:

1) You are violating a direct commandment to not judge or  bear false witness against your neighbor
2) You probably don't have all the facts
3) Things aren't always what they seem
4) With that same judgement-YOU will be judged. 



You still want to anyway?  Here is a personal inside story shown only to illustrate a point.
After I had my 8th daughter, my brain just wasn't right.  The hormones were having a hard time finding their proper place.  I was going through post-partum depression, and could barely get through each day. The simple routines of life felt like a mountain I had to climb.

 Life was completely overwhelming.  I  asked to be released from my church calling..(which I have never done, and haven't done since)  because  my brain wasn't with me...at all...and my spirit seemed to have checkout out as well. I did not feel like my normal self and after 3 months of it, I wondered when my normal self would return. 
However, I went to church each Sunday, where our family sat on the 2nd or 3rd row, our normal place.  Unknown  to us, we had "the- look".  What look?  The perfect family look. The perfectly reverent children look. The how does she do it look. The 'her husband is this, and she is that, and they ,  etc. etc. etc.  Or so it seemed to others.


 I think they all secretly wanted to throw-up on me.
Caught up in my own survival struggles, I was completely unaware of the thoughts and feelings swirling around about me.  It was really great not knowing anything.  Ignorance has its own bliss.
Eventually information started trickling down to me, as this kind of stuff does.  I was completely blind-sided that I had given that impression, as pathetic as I felt inside.  My only thoughts were," if they only knew how much I struggle to just get through each day!"  Things are NOT what they seem.  People may not be what they seem. 

Please don't judge others!  Everyone is fighting a battle which we may not know about.

We all need the Savior, His Atonement, and His saving grace in our lives.  Life is just too hard without it. 


It reminds me of a line from one of our church hymns..."in the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can't see"  So before you judge, or think low of someone else, remember there may be information about them that you are unaware of.  Maybe this is the day, they need a hug, a hello, a how are you today?
 
Must read talk by President Uchtodorf: The Merciful Obtain Mercy 
















Friday, May 11, 2012

Proclamation Series: A Nurturing Mother

" Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children."


"Many experiments have been made and studies carried out which prove beyond doubt that a child who enjoys mother's love and care progresses in every way much more rapidly than one who is left in institutions or with others where mother's love is not available or expressed. Fathers, too, must assume their proper role and responsibility.  Children need both parents."
-President N. Elden Tanner
Motherhood is so Christlike in nature that the book of Moses
compares it to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. (see Moses 6:59)

______________________________________________________________

 Julie B. Beck gave a  talk A Mother Heart in April 2004.  Let's  and look for principles in righteous mothering.  I encourage you to go to that talk and study along with me.

What is a mother heart and how is do we get one?
  • See  Proverbs 31~
  • A woman with a Mother heart has a testimony of the restored gospel
  • A Mother heart makes and keeps sacred covenants from the temple
  • She gains as much education  as her circumstances allow with the desire to teach as much as she knows to the generations that follow
  • A Mother heart is a goodly parent who is lives and is line with the teaching and standards of the prophets
  • A Mother heart teaches her children to pray and to walk uprightly before the Lord
  • Rather than listening to the voices of partial truths of the world, she knows that gospel standards are based on eternal, unchangable truths
  • A Mother heart knows that to be "primarily responsible for the nurture of her children" is a vital, dignified, and sacred responsibility.  To nurture and feed them physically is as much an honor as to nurture and feed them spiritually.
  • She is not weary in well-doing and delights to serve her family, because she knows that "out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
"A woman who treasures motherhood on earth will treasure motherhood in the world to come, and where her treasure is, there will her heart be also"
"Covenant-keeping women with mother hearts know that whether motherhood comes early or late; whether they are blessed with a “quiver full” of children here in mortality or not; whether they are single, married, or left to carry the responsibility of parenthood alone—in holy temples they are “endowed with power from on high” (DandC 38:32), and with that endowment they received the promised blessings and are “persuaded of them, and embraced them” (Heb. 11:13)."
    google images

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Symbolism of the Sacrament

The Atonement of Jesus Christ
“Some gifts coming from the Atonement are universal, infinite, and unconditional,” taught Elder Holland. “These include His ransom for Adam’s original transgression [and] the Resurrection from the dead of every man, woman, and child who lives, has ever lived, or ever will live on earth.
“Other aspects of Christ’s atoning gift are conditional. They depend on one’s diligence in keeping God’s commandments.”
Read “The Atonement of Jesus Christ” to understand how we can receive all the gifts that come from “the greatest expression of divine love this world has ever been given.” lds.org

__________________________________________________________________
I made a sacrament card for the young women to put in their scriptures and pull out during the sacrament or whenever, to remind them of how sacred and  important this ordinance really is. Feel free to use this for your calling.

Sunday best- The sacrament is the most important part of our Sacrament Meeting.  It is why we meet, to remember our covenants we made at baptism and to make new ones.  What we wear matters.  Those who are administering and passing the Sacrament wear white shirts representing  purity as they administer the Holy Emblems of the Sacrament.  It is symbolic and similar to the white we wear when we are baptized and the white we wear in the temple.  As young women and women it is our privilege to wear our very best while partaking and participating in the Lord's Holy Sacrament.

The table-The bread and water trays are arranged on the table.  A cloth is carefully placed over the trays.  Christ's body was also covered with a cloth in the tomb.  As we look at the table, we are reminded of the actual burial of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Water is poured-Water which symbolizes the blood Christ spilled for us, is poured into cups.  The Savior's greatest suffering occurred while in Gethsemane where it is recorded that He bled from every pore.

Bread is torn-As the Sacrament begins, we sing a hymn about Christ and the bread is literally torn.  Read the words to Hymn #181 ..."bruised, broken, and torn for us on Calvary's Hill"  We are watching the symbolism of His body being torn for us.

Sacrament prayers-Jesus Christ instituted His holy sacrament while He was on earth.  It is of such importance, it must be offered exactly, word for word, as written, offered as many times as it takes to get it right.  Isn't that like us?  We each struggle with our own weaknesses. The Lord, who has immense patience with us, allows us to keep trying, repenting, and trying again-as many times as it takes to get it right.  That is what the Atonement is all about.

Our covenant hand-Our right hand is our covenant hand, and therefore the hand we reach to take the bread and water.  We are literally partaking of the Atonement.  We are letting it enter us both physically and spiritually.

Covenants made-"That they may witness unto thee-to always remember him"  As we partake of the Sacrament, we are reminded of what the Savior did for us personally.  We promise to live as he would live, to say what He would say, to be as He would be.  We are saying that we are willing to testify of Christ.  We are saying, "if you want to know what a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint believes, watch me!"  When I'm with my friends, watch me!  It is not enough to say His name.  It is not enough to learn about Him.  We must come to KNOW Him.  This is standing as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places.


See: Young Women's Manuel 2 lesson 36

Monday, May 7, 2012

Power of Personal Progress: YW Lesson

 

A joint Young Women's lesson on:
There is  Power in Personal Righteousness/
There is Power in Personal Progress

{Feel free to use any of this lesson for your calling.}

Before the lesson: Make three "thought" cards for the chalk-board for the young women to think about.

What does it mean to be a young woman in the church today?

What do you stand for?

Who Do You Want to Become?

 
 
Ask each young woman to write on three pieces of paper 3 things:
  1. A favorite scripture
  2. A dream for their life
  3. What they want to be known for



 

Question: What does it mean to be a young woman in the Church today? -what motivates you?  What keeps you on track?  How does it feel?  ( make sure you give them time to answer)



Refer to the thought provoking questions for them to ponder


Introduce you lesson title-making sure throughout the lesson making the connection between personal righteousness and personal progress.


How did Personal Progress begin?

 
I found this history information {here}



Here are some highlights:
  • In the 1920s all young women who belonged to the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association were called Beehive girls, regardless of their age. They were arranged in groups called “swarms,” and their leaders were called Bee Keepers.

  • Upon entering the Beehive program, each girl was required to memorize the Spirit of the Hive, the Beehive motto:
    “On my honor each day I will have faith, seek knowledge, safeguard health, honor womanhood, understand beauty, know work, love truth, taste the sweetness of service, feel joy.”
The Beehive program included three ranks: Builders in the Hive, Gatherers of Honey, and Keepers of the Bees. To achieve each rank, girls were required to fulfill 14-16 foundation requirements and 36 additional requirements of their own choosing.
 
Beehive Girl Requirements:

  • Care successfully for a hive of bees for one season and know their habits.
  • Sleep out-of-doors or with wide-open windows.
  • During three consecutive months, abstain from candy, ice cream, commercially manufactured beverages, and chewing gum.
  • Clear sagebrush, etc. off of a half acre of land.
  • Care for at least two kerosene lamps daily.
  • Without help or advice, care for and harness a team of horses at least five times; drive 50 miles in one season.
  • Identify 12 kinds of lace and tell the reasonable price and appropriate use of each.
  • During two weeks, keep the house free from flies or destroy at least 25 flies daily. 

  • The young women thought this list was hilarious--oh, how times have changed!
    _______________________________________________________________
      Personal Progress NOW

       Go over the Personal Progress Basics...

      I used this article What's New in Personal Progress

      "Now is the time to prepare for the wonderful future that awaits you. Personal Progress will help you prepare and will help you understand your identity as a daughter of God.
      Personal Progress is not a program that is separate and apart from your life. It is a tool that you can use to draw closer to the Savior, serve others, be anxiously engaged in good works, learn leadership skills, develop relationships with others, and prepare for temple covenants. Personal Progress helps each young woman who participates develop daily righteous routines. When you do small things consistently, they become part of who you are and they change you. It really is “by small and simple things” that “great things [are] brought to pass” (Alma 37:6)."

      We talked about the temple and how that is our focus in the Young Women Program. We discussed how the Personal Progress program prepares (say those 4 p's 10 times) us for the temple.

      I assigned our Laurels to explain each of those Personal Progress basic information points from the article.

      _________________________________________________________________

      See this article 5 Reasons to Love Personal Progress

      "Why Personal Progress just might be one of the most important things you choose to do as a teenager."

      Here is a good introduction to this section of the lesson...
      "You’re sitting in your bishop’s office for your birthday interview, and you’ve already talked about how things are at home and in school. Now your bishop asks how your Personal Progress is going. Are you (a) excited to tell him about the experiences and projects you’ve worked on this year, (b) embarrassed because you haven’t worked on it that much lately, or (c) blushing because you don’t even know where your Personal Progress book is?
      If you answered b or c, you might be like some young women. You want to work on your Personal Progress. You keep meaning to work on it. But somehow you just haven’t figured out how to transform your “I know I should be doing this” guilt into “I’m really glad I’m doing this” commitment.
      If this describes you, maybe you haven’t yet discovered how meaningful Personal Progress can be in your life—now and in the future—or how it can fit in with all the other things you already have going in your life. Here are a few of the best reasons to really love Personal Progress."

      1. Because It Can Change the World

      2. Because It Can Change You

      3. Because You’re So Busy

      4. Because It Leads You to the Temple

      5. Because It Can Help You Reach Your Dreams

      Please see the article  for all the information in this section.

      ________________________________________________________________

      Make the connection between personal righteousness and Personal Progress.  This video makes a great example





    I made these cute purses from Kristen at Inkablinka.com. {click here} for complete instructions
    Here was my attempt at it:


    {This handout is really only effective if you show the video of the Lost Purse in the lesson.}

    In conclusion:

    Refer back to the three pieces of paper from the beginning of the lesson....challenge them to go home and find a Personal Progress experience or project that can help them make their dreams a reality in their lives.  Put  those three pieces of paper into their purses and think about who they want to become and what they want to be known for. Add those ideas to their purses.


    Friday, May 4, 2012

    Better Lessons with the Right Questions


    google images




    Questions to ask while preparing a lesson

    1. What principles do I want the class  to know and apply?
    2. Which verses should I search to help the class discover the principle?
    3. What should the class look for as they search these verses?
    4. What questions can I ask to make sure the class understand the principle?
    5. Is there anything I can do to have the class learn from each other?
    6. What applications do I want the class to make? What can I do to help them?

    Questions to ask after preparing a lesson
    1. Is there variety in the lesson?
    2. Have I asked the Lord to help me teach the lesson with power?
    3. Is there opportunity for class participation?
    4. Have I prayed about my class?

    Preparation Questions:
     
    1. What is the object of this lesson?
    2. What are the principles or doctrines to be covered?
    3. What are the converting life-changing principles?
    4.What would be most beneficial to the class?


    Search Questions:

    Search questions should avoid YES/NO responses and obvious answers. Search questions requires your class to look in the scriptures for answers.


    Analyze Questions:

    Analyze questions require your class to think and ponder the significance of what they are studying.
    -What did you find.....what evidence...
    -What does it mean...
    -Why is is that...How is it that...
    -What is...the difference...are the differences...
    -How do you think...How does
    -What are some ways...


    Application Questions

    Application questions require the class to look at their lives and what they might do to make their lives better.
    -What have you learned...
    -What difference would it make if...
    -When have you felt...
    -What do you feel/think God wants
    -Share a time ...or experience...
    What does God..expect...desire...

    * Credit:This list came from a CES Seminary Workshop I attended with my husband.  I don't know the source beyond that.  It is excellent and can take our teaching from mediocre to excellent by just knowing the right questions to ask. 




    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    3rd Annual YW Sacrament Program

    lds.org
    Sunday we had our 3rd annual Young Women's Sacrament Meeting Program for our ward. 
     Once again, it was power-filled and amazing to be apart of.

    Our theme was this year's mutual theme Doctrine and Covenants 115:5:
    Verily I say unto you all: aArise and shine forth, that thy blight may be a cstandard for the dnations;
    We began preparing for our program last fall by practicing our songs in Sunday opening exercises.  We felt our young women had A MESSAGE to share.  We saw our young women as one of the Lord's favorite tools on His tool belt. 

    Elder Russell M. Nelson said it best:
    " The influence of the young women of the Church, like a sleeping giant, will awaken, arise, and inspire the inhabitants of the earth as a mighty force for righteousness."

    What was their message?

    To arise to the mountain of the Lord, the holy temple, and to qualify for and be worthy of a temple recommend.  Now is the time!

    For our script we used excerpts from the General Young Women's broadcast among many other quotes and stories from other conference addresses. Several young women bore their testimonies. Mixed in with beautiful song.  It was powerful.

    We had all the young women dress in solid colored shirts with no logos or design. They wore any shade of yellow, any shade of orange, any shade of pink, or white if they didn't have anything in the other colors. 

    We asked all of them to wear their Medallions or torch necklaces.

    The young women were glowing!  They were so beautiful  they were literally shining.


    Read or print our program:  {Click Here}

    YW Sacrament Program previous post {click here}

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    10 Things Teens Won't Tell You

    My daughter and her friends


    1. You are the most important person in my life.
    2. I need rules and expectations.
    3. I want you to notice me.
    4. I'm tempted to compromise to fit in.
    5. Those corny things we do are kinda cool.
    6. You are my hero.
    7. Your stress affects my life.
    8. I need you to interfere.
    9. I want you to expect great things of me.
    10. Hearing you talk about what is right and wrong is important.