Tag Archives: jesus christ

Yesterday’s Directive is Today’s Sign

I need reminders.  If I just need to remember for a few minutes I’ll cross my fingers until I can get to it.  If it will be longer and, especially if I’ve forgotten it several times, I’ll write it down.

label or directive
       Sometimes we just need a sign

After I cleaned the oven I realized that I don’t need to remove my note!

But it’s Christmas so I have to go deeper…

If I haven’t mentioned it here before, I hate cleaning tasks because I can never get the object to look like it was when it was new.  The Magic Eraser gets as close as anything I’ve ever tried but there are still flaws that cannot be removed with caustic cleaners and a good scrubbing.

Jesus Christ is better than a Magic Eraser!  Of course it takes faith in Him (oven cleaner) and repentance (application) for Him to make us clean again.  By accepting His gift we can develop Christ-like traits like humility (acknowledgement our own limitations), a change of heart (“sin no more”) and forgiveness of others as well as ourselves.  Some flaws may be deep.  But when we repent of our sins He forgives us and will “remember them no more”, D&C 58:42; even if it takes many times to get it right (“seventy times seven”, Matt 18:21-22)  When we do our best, He not only makes up the difference but restores us so that we, to Him, are just like we were when brand new.  That humbles me and I am so grateful to our Eternal Father for giving us the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“The mercy and grace of Jesus Christ are not limited to those who commit sins either of commission or omission, but they encompass the promise of everlasting peace to all who will accept and follow Him and His teachings. His mercy is the mighty healer, even to the wounded innocent.”  Boyd K Packer, “The Reason for Our Hope

Sometimes we may want to put a sign on someone to indicate they need cleaning.  But we don’t know their heart.  God may be reading the sign a little differently.

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having no joy, for they knew no misery

The Weekly Photo Challenge this week was Joy.  I looked at other posts and saw faces of children, nature photos and descriptions of the joy that Christ brings.  I wondered what photo I could post that would exemplify what is joy to me.  I thought of the baby girl looking at her daddy with awe.  Then I thought of the photo our son-in-law sent us when our daughter delivered their stillborn son.  Mama was holding her child tighter than I’ve ever seen her hold anything; staring into his face as she wanted to memorize it forever.  Their joy in their other children was certainly amplified from that experience.  Heaven now holds more joy than we might have imagined it would.

It got me thinking about what joy really is.  Dallin H. Oaks said, “Joy is more than happiness. Joy is the ultimate sensation of well-being.”  I don’t know if that is an uncommon definition but I think a lot of Christians describe it that way because of the peace Christ brings when we focus on Him.  Elder Oaks added, “The opposite of joy is misery.”  Opposition helps me to appreciate the good in my life.  Contrast certainly helps to define whatever it is that is opposite.  I’m just glad that it doesn’t take much misery for me recognize joy.

Green Flash at Yaquina Bay
Green Flash at Yaquina Bay

I’ve said before, I’ve never appreciated the sun so much as I have after living in Oregon where I can go for weeks without seeing it.  Even when it is not cloudy, a mountain (mostly) hides it from my home during the winter months.  While that may not be pleasant, it is a far cry from true misery.  I’m not saying I want to experience true misery so I can experience true joy.   I’m satisfied with the trials I’ve had and I trust that I won’t be given anything I can’t handle.

We happened to be driving down Hwy 101 this evening just before sunset.  So we (and about 30 other people) pulled into Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.  In typical meerkat fashion, we lined the edge of the parking lot watching the colors change, wondering if we’d be rewarded with a green flash.  Some silently watched alone, others were arm-in-arm with a loved one.  Parents tried to help children hold their attention on the slow-moving sun.  We were rewarded even though I didn’t capture the best of the green flash on camera.

sunset at Yaquina Bay
After the sunset

But once the sun set, the real show began.  Colors slowly changed from yellow, orange and blue to pink and purple and it lasted and lasted.

So there it was; a few moments of peace and tranquility.  It lasted as long as I was still and watched and took it all in.  And now I have the memory to reflect on and to contrast.  “men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Ne. 2:25.)    He created us to have joy!   I think this is one area where balance is not required.  It only takes a short burst of pain to help me appreciate feeling good for a long time.

References:  2 Nephi 2:23-25;   Dallin H Oaks article:  October 1991 General Conference

Wow – I hope the next photo challenge isn’t as thought-provoking!

Happy New Year!

Wonderful! Counsellor!

Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 9:6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Christmas Nativity
Christmas Nativity

After all the preparation and anticipation is over, there is peace.  Reality sets in.  The day has finally come for Jesus’ arrival.  He is here.  Now what?  Now we continue on; not as we were before our preparations started, but with a bigger heart and more willing to follow Him.  Remembering how we felt when giving to others and recreating that feeling by continuing to give of our time and friendship and love.  God submitted Himself to this lowly state of mortality to experience pain, sickness, heartache and evil.  Why?  So He would know how to succor His people (you and me).

And peace, good will toward men!

And on earth peace

Luke 2:14    Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Sometimes it’s easy to find peace.  Sometimes we have to look for it in order to find it.  Sometimes we even have to wait for it, having faith that it will come.  I know that I feel peace when I read about Christ and think about Him and what He has done for me and His love for me.  I also feel peace when I am doing something for others.

With Wondering Awe

Luke 2:8-14

An angel appeared to the shepherds as they were watching over their flocks by night.  Here again, these men were tending to their responsibilities when they received this incredible vision announcing the birth of the Savior of the world.  Verse 8 says “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God”.  I think of a choir singing when I read that.  The Waldport Branch is fairly small, but when we sing, we sing loud.  The Christmas carols sung this week were so heart-warming.  The choir director narrated the Christmas story and orchestrated the musical numbers sung by the different choirs: Primary, Relief Society, Priesthood, a family, a piano and then voice solo and the Branch Choir.  We sang as a congregation a couple times during the program.  Our choir director has a way of getting us to sing out and it is beautiful.

A young couple with their first infant daughter were sitting next to us.  The look she had when she looked at her daddy’s face was like she was in complete awe of him.  She had a slight smile as her eyes were wide open and bright and her mouth was open.  Infants are full of pure love, no judgement, just love for whoever they are focused on.  What a beautiful Christmas message she gave me.

This is one of my favorite Christmas hymns:

http://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/with-wondering-awe?lang=eng

With Wondering Awe

With wondering awe the wise men saw
The star in heaven springing,
And with delight, in peaceful night,
They heard the angel singing:
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to His name!

By light of star they traveled far
To seek the lowly manger,
A humble bed wherein was laid
The wondrous little Stranger.
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to His name!

And still is found, the world around,
The old and hallowed story,
And still is sung in every tongue
The angels’ song of glory:
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to His name!

The heavenly star its rays afar
On every land is throwing,
And shall not cease till holy peace
In all the earth is growing.
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to His name!

My Mother
My Mother

Yeah, that’s the look of “wondering awe”.  (I always try to find a picture for my blog.)

Jesus: the Firstborn and Only Begotten

In Luke 2:7 it says “And she brought forth her afirstborn son”.

I’ve been thinking about the meaning and importance of Christ being the Firstborn and the Only Begotten lately because that’s what our Visiting Teaching lesson is for the month.  Because He is the firstborn son, he inherits all that the Father has (reinforced by traditions of the day).  As He is the Only Begotten, we are able to receive the same.  This is my simple understanding of the scriptures:  During His life on earth, His followers described Him as their “King”, meaning he inherited a royal status.  His enemies thought that was because of His lineage through Joseph who descended from King David.  While that was correct, on the surface, there was more to it.  Jesus inherited the kingdom of God because He was God’s only begotten in the flesh.  We are all spirit children of God.  But Jesus is the only one that He fathered in the flesh.  Jesus would need both mortal and immortal qualities in order to perform the Atonement and the resurrection in our behalf.

The lesson says it better than I can so I’ll just share it here and I added a cute Christmas video:

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is called the Only Begotten Son because He is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. He inherited divine powers from God, His Father. From His mother, Mary, He inherited mortality and was subject to hunger, thirst, fatigue, pain, and death.1

Because Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father, He was able to lay down His life and take it up again. The scriptures teach that “through the atonement of Christ,” we “obtain a resurrection” (Jacob 4:11). We also learn that all “might be raised in immortality unto eternal life” if we “would believe” (D&C 29:43).

As we come to understand more fully what it means for Jesus to be the Only Begotten Son of the Father, our faith in Christ will increase. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Faith in Jesus Christ is the conviction and assurance of (1) His status as the Only Begotten Son of God, (2) His infinite Atonement, and (3) His literal Resurrection.”2 Modern prophets have testified: “[Jesus Christ] was … the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.”3

From Our History

In the New Testament we read of women, named and unnamed, who exercised faith in Jesus Christ, learned and lived His teachings, and testified of His ministry, miracles, and majesty. These women became exemplary disciples and important witnesses in the work of salvation.

For example, Martha bore strong testimony of the Savior’s divinity when she said to Him, “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world” (John 11:27).

Some of the earliest witnesses of the Savior’s divinity were His mother, Mary, and her cousin Elisabeth. Soon after the angel Gabriel visited Mary, she visited Elisabeth. As soon as Elisabeth heard Mary’s greeting, she “was filled with the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:41) and bore testimony that Mary would become mother to the Son of God.

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