February 28, 2011

My Pioneer Heritage (part 2)

James Johnson and his wife Marie Larsen
Family tradition has it that during their trek across the plains, James who was lame, would leave camp early and Mary would break camp and travel with the company, which would pass James about noon.  At the end of the day's journey, Mary would make camp and prepare for the night.  James would come into camp after dark.
One afternoon after the company had passed James, they heard a loud thundering noise and saw a huge dust cloud back over the trail they had traversed earlier.  It was a buffalo stampede, and they were so sure that James had been caught in it that several men with shovels went back to bury him.  They were surprised to see him walking along the trail.  As they approached him, he asked them where they were going.  They said they had come out to find and bury him.  
When they got to camp, everyone was excited to hear how he had escaped the stampede.  When asked about it, he said "yes" he had heard the rumble like a mighty ocean wave.  He thought of all the hardships he had suffered and blessings he had received in coming this far and dropped to his knees in prayer.  As the wave of buffalo reached him, they split and flowed around him as if a huge rock barred their way.  As they passed, the split closed, and they thundered on their way, leaving him saying a prayer of thanksgiving.
 The power of prayer is real.  Without it, I wouldn't even be here today.  Our loving Heavenly Father definitely answers our prayers and wants the best for us.  May we all pray for strength in these difficult times.  

February 23, 2011

My Pioneer Heritage

Crossing the Sandridge, by Jeremy Winborg
This is a picture of my mom's, dad's, mom's, mom's mom and dad, or in other words my great, great, great grandparents.  Robert and Annie Brighton Thornley who were recently married traveled from their home in northern Utah in 1859 to pick up supplies.  While traveling, one of their oxen gave out in an area called the Sandridge.  They continued on for 20 miles with Robert sharing the yoke with the healthy ox.  When thy arrived at Maughan's Fort, the only food available was sugar beets, which they then lived on during the winter.  
I am so grateful for such a rich pioneer heritage.  Without these courageous men and women I would not be here today.  I am thankful for the legacy they have left me and all of the freedoms and blessings I enjoy because of them.  Their willingness to sacrifice greatly impresses me and let's me know that they had an unwavering testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

February 22, 2011

In His Likeness

Genesis 1:26-27
26 ¶And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

We were created by our Father in Heaven in His image.  What a great thought to have!  We are children of a loving Heavenly Father who loves us with a perfect love.  He shows this love in a number of ways and each one is a blessing.  When you pray to Heavenly Father, think of a loving Father, in whose image you are created, who is helping you to govern yourself. 

Spirit children of the Father

Children born again through the Atonement

(Sons and Daughters of God)

We all have divine potential.  Knowing where we came from can help us to see where we're going and what we can become.  God has a plan for everyone and that plan is for us to be happy.  This is done by keeping His commandments and drawing closer to Him.  I am a child of God!

February 16, 2011

Families Can Be Together Forever

We are all part of God's family and our families here on earth help to prepare us for eternal life.  For more information:
Strengthening Families
The Family: A Proclamation to the World

February 11, 2011

Justice vs. Mercy

Everyone makes mistakes.  No one can escape this.  We will all be tempted and succumb to those temptations.  We also learn from the scriptures that no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God 1 Nephi 10:21.  So how can any one of us have hope to live with God again?  The answer is found when a third party is introduced to the equation.  Elder Packer does a great job in illustrating this principle:
 (in Conference Report, Apr. 1977, pp. 79–80; or Ensign, May 1977, pp. 54–55)
The Mediator

The laws of Justice and Mercy can both be satisfied only in and through Jesus Christ.  We cast our burdens and sins on Him and pays them off for us.  We still owe a debt to Him and pay him back by living His principles and doing what He has asked us to do.  This is the only way we can hope to return to live with our Father in Heaven. 

February 8, 2011

Footprints in the Sand

One night I had a dream--
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
"I don't understand why in times when I needed you most,
you should leave me."
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never, never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
"When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

-Mary Stevenson

February 5, 2011

If God Should Speak

A Skit on the Lord's Prayer

Prayer: Our Father which art in heaven,
God: Yes?
Prayer: Don't interrupt me. I'm praying
God: But you called me
Prayer: Called you? I didn't call you. I'm praying. Our Father which art in heaven,
God: There you did it again
Prayer: Did what?"
God: Called me. You said, "Our Father which art in heaven." Here I am. What's on your mind?
Prayer: But I didn't mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord's Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like getting a duty done."
God: All right. Go on.
Prayer: Hallowed be Thy name.
God: Hold it. What do you mean by that?
Prayer: "By what?"
God: By "Hallowed be Thy name?"
Prayer: It means. It means.... Good grief, I don't know what it means. How should I know? It's just a part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?"
God: It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Prayer: Hey that makes sense. I never thought about what hallowed' meant before. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
God: Do you really mean that?
Prayer: Sure, why not?
God: What are you doing about it?
Prayer: Doing? Nothing, I guess. I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there."
God: Have I got control of you?
Prayer: Well, I go to church.
God: That isn't what I asked you. What about your temper? You've really got a problem there, you know. And then there's the way you spend your money - all on yourself. And what about the kinds of books you read and what you watch on TV?
Prayer: Stop picking on me! I'm just as good as the rest of those people at church."
God: Excuse me. I thought you were praying for my will to be done. If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it. Like you, for example.
Prayer: Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups. Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others."
God: So could I.
Prayer: I haven't thought about it very much until now, but I'd really like to cut out some of those things. I would like to, you know, be really free."
God: Good. Now we're getting somewhere. We'll work together, you and I. Some victories can be truly won. I'm proud of you.
Prayer: Look, Lord, I need to finish this up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does ... Give us this day our daily bread."
God: You could cut out the bread. It would help you lose weight.
Prayer: "Hey, wait a minute! What is this, 'Criticize ME day?' Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups. Praying is a dangerous thing. You could wind up changed, you know.
God: That's what I'm trying to get across to you. Keep praying. I'm interested in the next part of your prayer.(Pause) Well, go on.
Prayer: I'm scared to."
God: Scared? Of what?
Prayer: I know what you'll say.
God: Try me and see.
Prayer: Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
God: What about Ann?
Prayer: "See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Why Lord she's told lies about me, spread stories about my family. She never paid back the money she owes me. I've sworn to get even with her!"
God: But your prayer? What about your prayer?
Prayer: "I didn't mean it."
God: Well, at least you're honest. But it's not much fun carrying that load of bitterness inside of you, is it?
Prayer: No. But, I'll feel better as soon as I get even. Boy, have I got some plans for that neighbor. She'll wish she had never moved into this neighborhood."
God: You won't feel any better. You'll feel worse. Revenge isn't sweet. Think of how unhappy you already are. But, I can change all that.
Prayer: You can? How?
God: Forgive Ann. Then I'll forgive you. Then the hate and sin will be Ann's problem and not yours. You will have settled your heart.
Prayer: Oh, you're right. You always are. And, more than I want to get revenge against Ann, I want to be right with you. But ... (Pause) ... (Sigh) ... All right. I forgive her. Help her to find the right road in life, Lord. She's bound to be awfully miserable now that I think about it. Anybody who goes around doing the things she does to others has to be out of it. Someway, somehow, show her the right way.
God: There now! Wonderful! How do you feel?
Prayer: "Hmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all. I feel pretty great. You know, I don't think I'll have to go to bed uptight tonight for the first time since I can remember. Maybe I won't be so tired from now on because I'm not getting enough rest."
God: You're not through with your prayers. Go on.
Prayer: "Oh, all right. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
God: Good! Good! I'll do that. Just don't put yourself in a place where you can be tempted.
Prayer: "What do you mean by that?"
God: Don't turn the TV on when you know the laundry needs to be done and the house needs to be picked up. Also about the time you spend with your friends, if you can't influence the conversation to positive things, perhaps you should rethink the value of those friendships. Another thing, your neighbors and friends shouldn't be your standard for "keeping up." And please don't use me as an escape hatch.
Prayer: "I don't understand that last part."
God: Sure you do. You've done it a lot of times. You get caught in a bad situation. You get in trouble and then you come running to me: "Lord, help me out of this mess, and I promise you I'll never do it again." You remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?
Prayer: Yes, and I'm ashamed, Lord, I really am.
God: Which bargain are you remembering?
Prayer: Well, there was the night that my husband was gone and the children and I were home alone. The wind was blowing so hard I thought the roof would go any minute and tornado warnings were out. I remember saying, 'Oh God, if you spare us, I'll never skip my devotions again."
God: I protected you, but you didn't keep your promise, did you?
Prayer: "I'm sorry, Lord I really am. Up until now I thought that if I just prayed the Lord's Prayer every day, then I could do what I liked. I didn't expect anything to happen like this."
God: Go ahead and finish your prayer.
Prayer: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen
God: Do you know what would bring me glory? What would really make me happy?
Prayer: "No, but I'd like to know. I want to please you. I can see what a mess I've made of my life. And I can see how great it would be to really be one of your followers."
God: You just answered the question.
Prayer: I did?"
God: Yes. The thing that would bring me glory is to have people like you truly love me. And I see that happening between us. Now that some of these old sins are exposed and out of the way, there is no telling what we can do together.
Prayer: Lord, let's see what we can make of me, OK?"
God: Yes, let's see.

Let us all pray from the heart and not just simply go through the motions.  We must genuinely open or hearts and minds to our Father in Heaven in prayer to build our relationship with him.

February 1, 2011

God Gave Them Knowledge

There are a lot of lessons we can learn from this video.  I won't go into them all, but one of the things I admired about David was his ability to withstand all of the temptations.  He stood firm in his faith even though there wasn't a lot of support.  Let us not be "ashamed of the Gospel of Christ," (Romans 1:16) but firm in our desire to follow Christ and his teachings.
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