Saturday, December 3, 2016

Day 3- Prince of Peace

   



If he is the prince, who is the king of peace?

Who reigns over him? I believe it it his Father, our Heavenly Father. In the Gospel of John, Jesus defers to his father countless times. He sent him, he prays to him, he is an intercessory between mankind and his Father. His counter part is the Prince of Darkness. (John 14:30) He offers no peace, but only power to influence us towards accepting his darkness. In this season of lights why would we choose darkness over light and peace?


What peace does he offer? 

I believe the greatest peace he offers is that through his atonement we are not lost and separated from his Father. He provides access to his Father through covenant. We can pray to the Father only because we have his son, the Prince of Peace to advocate for us. Does this bring peace of mind? I believe much more than that. It is a promise of peace between our Father in Heaven and his children. We are no longer separated from Him because we have the Prince of Peace to be our buckler. 

Isaiah 54:13
"And all they children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children."


How has he been a prince of peace in your life?

He has tempered me in my relationships to others, especially my family. He has provided a golden thread for me to wind around my heart to keep me from despair. Despair lives on the edges of my mind and just casting my mind upon Him eases that wild nothingness and provides a foothold for me to continue my climb upward.




            


There are twenty-four names of Christ and twenty-four days until Christmas. Check back here to find the contents page of this series.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Five Minute Friday- A Craving For Innocence

I crave feeling the innocence of  The Lamb of God. The clarity and purity of His being draw me to Him.   

   I am not innocent. I live with the knowledge of betraying myself and others. It may not be betrayal of country or spouse but I am not without sin. 
  The scriptures use animals as symbols. Oxen, sheep, lambs, and goats are mostly positive symbols and were considered clean according to the Law of Moses. The characteristics of these animals give us information. When John the Baptist called Jesus the Lamb of God, what was he telling me about Jesus?

"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
 John 1:29


   Lambs connote innocence, meekness, purity, patience, humility. They also suggest rebirth, sacrifice, and obedience. With this title we have much information of Jesus. John indicates that Jesus was God's lamb. This pure, white, lamb which had no blemish was reserved for sacrifice. It was God's gift to us to reconcile us to him. He was vital to the Plan of Redemption. If I were living in Old Testament times I would be carefully watching for the birth of such a lamb in my flock. He would have great value and seeing his perfectness I would be able to bring him to a sacrificial service. There I would witness his slaughter and know that his death brought restitution for my own sins and for the sins of my community. My Heavenly Father wants me to understand the feelings he has for his Son. In living the Law of Moses I would be acting his part and experiencing what it would be like to offer my best, innocent, beautiful lamb as a sacrifice. 
   We no longer offer sacrifice. The Lamb of God was the final sacrifice. All things in the Law of Moses pointed to Him. John the Baptist pointed to him and claimed that he, himself was just a voice crying in the wilderness, announcing the coming of the true Lamb of God.



             

      There are 24 names of Christ that I would like to come to understand better. For 24 days I will explore one of his names everyday. Click here to refer back to days past.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1- The Redeemer

"Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?"
Isaiah 50:2





How do I wrap my head around the word redeemer? If Jesus Christ purchased me with his blood, how do I relate to that? How does that make Him feel about me? I remember giving birth to my fourth son. It was a very long delivery. I labored and labored to bring him life. After, I held that sweet baby boy in my arms and every muscle in my body quivered with exhaustion. I was connected in every way to this child. Does He feel that way about me after having wrought the work of redemption for me?

"No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child. When Isaiah, speaking messianic ally, wanted to convey Jehovah's love, he invoked the image of a mother's devotion. "Can a woman forget her sucking child?" he asks. How absurd, he implies, though not as absurd as thinking Christ will ever forget us."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

How much do I need this redemption? Do I cry out for it? Do I pray for his redeeming power in my life. The words to the song below seem much more intense than my feelings. I have cried and prayed with intensity but not with this much intention. I am humbled by my Savior's mission to redeem. 



         Oh Divine Redeemer 

Ah, turn me not away, receive me though unworthy.
Ah, turn me not away, receive me though unworthy.
Hear Thou my cry, hear Thou my cry,
Behold, Lord, my distress!
Answer me from Thy throne,
Haste Thee, Lord, to mine aid!
Thy pity show in my deep anguish, Thy pity show in my deep anguish.
Let not the sword of vengeance smite me,
Though righteous Thine anger, O Lord!

Shield me in danger, O regard me!
On Thee, Lord, alone will I call!

O divine Redeemer, O divine Redeemer!
I pray thee grant me pardon, And remember not
Remember not my sins!
Forgive me!

O divine Redeemer! I pray Thee, grant me pardon
And remember not, remember not, O Lord, my sins!

Night gathers round my soul
Fearful, I cry to Thee,
Come to mine aid, O Lord!
Haste Thee, Lord, haste to help me!

Hear my cry, hear my cry
Save me, Lord in Thy mercy;
Hear my cry, hear my cry!
Come and save me, O Lord!

O divine Redeemer! O divine Redeemer!
I pray Thee, grant me pardon, and remember not
Remember not, O Lord, my sins!

Save in the day of retribution
From death shield Thou me, O my God!
O divine Redeemer, have mercy!


Help me Savior! 

            


  There are twenty-four names of Christ and twenty-four days until Christmas. Check back here to find the contents page of this series.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Calling Thy Name

Tomorrow begins the waiting in earnest. 

We wait upon the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Counting off the twenty-four days becomes more poignant as we draw, in mindfulness, toward the many names given to The Son of God. Twenty-four names, not a complete list, but representative of who he is, what his mission is, and how we may address him.



Join me each day for an advent devotional to place our thoughts on the coming of The Lord.

This is a contents page, linked to each day so that you can come back here and find a post you missed. 

December 4-
December 5- 



Monday, November 28, 2016

Mindful Monday- Grateful For Children

If we have a heart to learn and a willingness to follow the example of children, their divine attributes can hold a key to unlocking our own spiritual growth.
Jean A. Stevens

Walking into my classroom at church yesterday I found six excited and ready children. I was not expected to teach that day, as I had a music assignment later, but how could I not gather them around me on the floor and meet their expectant eyes? I was filled with gratitude for their readiness. 







"These children are providing examples of some of the childlike qualities we need to develop or rediscover in ourselves in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. They are bright spirits who are untarnished by the world—teachable and full of faith. It is no wonder the Savior has a special love and appreciation for little children."

My class of six and seven year olds are full of faith. They believe I will guide them into important paths which will engage and enliven them. I wonder how often I disappoint? If my lesson is a disappointment I am quickly forgiven. If I forget something, they don't look at each other with raised eyebrows assessing my capabilities. They do lose interest but I find it happens when I am not fully engaged. They respond to being "all in".



   I find them to be more teachable than I imagined. If I provide careful instruction, equal to their abilities, with many repetitions so that they can gain proficiency, they come along. They come along with enthusiasm. I am grateful to be among children everyday. I hope to remain teachable and faithful.


Elder M. Russell Ballard has taught us the importance of the Savior’s admonition to “behold your little ones” when he said: “Notice that He didn’t say ‘glance at them’ or ‘casually observe them’ or ‘occasionally take a look in their general direction.’ He said to behold them. To me that means that we should embrace them with our eyes and with our hearts; we should see and appreciate them for who they really are: spirit children of our Heavenly Father, with divine attributes”
(“Behold Your Little Ones,” Tambuli, Oct. 1994, 40; emphasis added; “Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children,” Ensign, Apr. 1994, 59).




 



November is a month for paying attention to my level of gratitude. It is part of my year long exploration of mindfulness. You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Surrender



Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us... While what we call 'our own life' remains agreeable, we will not surrender it to Him. What, then, can God do in our interests but make 'our own life' less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness? 
C. S. Lewis

Thanksgiving was a day of surrendering. My three grandchildren who wanted to come over and "help" me before dinner came at 9:00am. I surrendered to the idea that I was going to keep them involved for six hours. The pie I wanted to make, gluten free, had a life of it's own and became pumpkin without a true recipe and without a promised outcome. It was eatable and disappeared. I will never be able to make it the same way again because it just evolved.



  The turkey which I bought fresh a week ago and then decided to freeze still had ice chunks inside. My grandson liked rubbing it with coconut oil and spices. He put a ham slice inside because he wanted to see what would happen. I surrendered my expectations and it was really good.
    In the last half hour before eating, my knees needed to rest and I let my husband take over. He finished the mashed potatoes, made the gravy, prepared the food to go into dishes and led us in our giving thanks statements. Usually I do it all with noticeable frustration. I surrendered and others came to my aid. 
  Later I suggested a game called Famous People which is a great crowd game. I noticed how my family participated wholeheartedly. I took time to see each member's ability and humor. In the past, some participants have left the game mad. We had some issues yesterday but the majority of the family stayed engaged and working as a team. 
   Over controlling our lives is really a false happiness. False because we set ourselves expectations which often remain unrealized. Then, as we mourn what could have been we miss the little miracles provided by others in our behalf. I had time to feel truly thankful.






 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share their work. Would you like to join us?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mindful Monday- Grateful To Say Yes


“i imagine that yes is the only living thing.” 

E.E. Cummings

Yesterday I said yes four times and I am so grateful. I could have "no, it won't work", "no, I don't have time", or "not now". But, I said yes. The first yes went to The Spirit. While teaching my 6-7 year olds in church, I felt prompted to invite my students to search the four gospels in the New Testament. We have been working on finding references together. I allow them to put removable highlighter tape on our weekly scripture. Now the library copies have purple highlights on many pages. When I heard the prompting I put it away as impractical and without purpose. But I said yes and let them look. Each child found a highlighted page and they were all different. Having context for these verses made all the difference. We had a good conversation because they remembered the stories from previous lessons. YES.

My granddaughter was hanging on my arm during church sharing time. "Can I go home with you today?" I see her many times during the week and frankly after church I'm tired. But, I said yes. When we arrived home my other son was there with his daughter and the girl cousins had some alone time without their siblings. YES.




   
Later, my husband asked politely if I could cut his hair. It was the sabbath and I was tired. But, I said yes. A fifteen minute job made such a difference to him and it was easy for me. He had waited many weeks. YES.

   While my older daughter is home for a few months we occasionally do Evening Lines. The idea for Evening Lines came from a book by Regina Sirois called "On Little Wings". The aunt in the book invited her niece to visit. Every evening during her visit a teenage boy in the neighborhood came by to talk. She joined them and learned about Evening Lines.


“I wanted him to see the difference between what he read and what he thought so I gave him a daily assignment to find his favorite words and read them to me. It evolved into our nightly readings.


There are no rules. We each pick a line or passage out of something we read that day – be it cereal box or Shakespeare – and recite it to each other. Nothing long. Sometimes three words. Sometimes a paragraph.”

   As my husband came into the living room later, he told us he was ready for Evening Lines. Right now? But, I said yes. Our Evening Lines were so different. One was a quote from "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoyevsky, another from a book about our economy, and the third from a talk by Sheri Dew. Unrelated, disconnected, but fertile fodder for discussion. YES.

While learning to say "no" is important, saying "yes" can lighten and brighten your day. I am grateful for my state of mind and for allowing "yes"





November is a month for paying attention to my level of gratitude. It is part of my year long exploration of mindfulness. You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.