Sunday, January 24, 2016

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Today in church I taught the lesson to the Relief Society, or all the women in my congregation ages 18 and up. My topic was this talk from LDS General Conference, "Yielding our Hearts to God" by Neill F. Marriott. This woman is in the leadership presidency over all the LDS teenage girls ages 12-18. In this worldwide address a couple months ago, she spoke fondly of her youth in the deep South and how much this Protestant hymn means to her. The lyrics touched me deeply as well, and I sure wish it was in our hymnbook too!

  1. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
    Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
    Mold me and make me after Thy will,
    While I am waiting, yielded and still.
  2. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
    Search me and try me, Master, today!
    Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
    As in Thy presence humbly I bow.
  3. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
    Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
    Power, all power, surely is Thine!
    Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.
  4. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
    Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
    Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
    Christ only, always, living in me.

It has been a difficult weekend for me, and I love this humble plea to the Lord. I learned while preparing and teaching, that God can make our lives so much better than we can. If we hand him our protected hearts, he can mold us and shape us into something so beautiful, so exquisite. May we remember to be yielded and still to the whisperings of the Spirit. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

He'll Carry You

I've been listening to this song on repeat.

Seriously, this song touches me so deeply. It is a reminder that our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands heartbreak. It reminds me that, though I loved him, I love Jesus even more.  And it's okay to absolutely love my Savior.  He is my best friend and He truly KNOWS what I'm feeling. Before my mission, I did not so naturally turn to Him for comfort and support when I went through challenges. I tried to carry them myself.  

Usually I cherish songs for their melodic components.  Yet this one is pretty simple, nothing too remarkable.  The lyrics are what hit home, and Hilary Weeks sings them with such emotion. 

When I talk about the Music of My Faith, this song is the epitome. My faith is what I believe in through the trials I face. Knowing that He still loves me despite my weakness, especially when I maybe thought of someone more than Him at times.  One of the most remarkable passages is in Alma 7. We think of Christ's Atonement as covering just our sins, but verses 11-12 explain that the Atonement is all-encompassing:

 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Thank you, Pandora, for putting this on my playlist. 

He knows your heart
He knows your pain
He knows the strength it took just to simply breathe today 
He sees the tears that you cry
He knows your soul is aching to know why 
He hears your prayers each humble word
When you said you couldn’t face another day he understood 
He knows the path when you walk blind

Though you felt alone He’s never left your side

He knew there’d be moments when no earthly words
Could take away your sorrow 
And no human eyes could see what you’re going through 
When you’ve taken your last step and done all that you can do 
He will lift your heavy load and carry you

He’ll bring you peace and leave you hope
And in the darkest night he’ll comfort you 
Until you know the sun will rise and each new day
You will have the strength to live again

And when there are moments when no earthly words 
can take away your sorrow 
And no human eyes could see what you’re going through 
When you’ve taken your last step and done all that you can do 
He will lift your heavy load and carry you

He hears you when you’re crying in the night 
He hears you when your soul longs to find
Till the morning will come 
And the light of the dawn reassures

That in the moments when no earthly words 
can take away your sorrow 
And no human eyes could see what you’re going through 
When you’ve taken your last step and done all that you can do 
He will lift your heavy load and carry you

Friday, July 26, 2013

Baptism and Rainbows

Many Latter-day Saints grew up singing the song, "When I am Baptized," more commonly known as "I Like to look for Rainbows." Recently two beautiful girls sang this at Elena's baptism.

I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain
And ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again.

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away,
And I can be forgiven and improve myself each day.

Elena with Ellie and Hannah at her baptism

Mormons' beliefs about baptism come from the Bible: "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5). The Savior was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. The Book of Mormon clarifies this phrase:

       "And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfill all righteousness in being baptized by water?
      "Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments." (2 Nephi 31:6-7)

Baptism is a commandment and an ordinance where we make a COVENANT, or a two-way promise, with Heavenly Father.

What do we commit to when we're baptized?
  • To Remember our Savior, Jesus Christ
  • Take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ
  • Keep His commandments
A church magazine for children explains simply that to take upon yourself the name of Christ means "to put His work first in your life and do what He wants instead of what the world wants." 

What does Heavenly Father promise us in return?
  • A remission of our sins
  • Being born again
  • The constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, which we receive by the laying on of hands shortly after baptism. 
What a deal! We are definitely receiving so many more blessings for baptism than we are committing to. I'm grateful for my Savior and that I can be clean every time I repent and take the Sacrament. I, too, "want to be the best I can and live with God again." 

See also: 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blessed and Happy

"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

This is the scripture I chose for my mission; that is, it has been my "theme" scripture for the last 17 months. Why did I choose it? I believe it sums up God's plan for us. In the second lesson that missionaries teach we explain our purpose in this life, which is to "have joy and prepare to return to God's presence." Heavenly Father wants us to be happy! He gave us commandments so we can have true joy and return to Him! It sounds ridiculously simple, and it is! Life is not easy, but the commandments help us choose liberty and eternal life .  

In the back of our Hymnbooks at church is a list of scripture references where we can look up our favorite verses and find hymns that correlate with them. I had never thought to look up my favorite verse until yesterday, and I found one hymn that references Mosiah 2:41! 

"We'll sing of his goodness and mercy.
We'll praise him by day and by night,
Rejoice in his glorious gospel,
And bask in its life-giving light.
Thus on to eternal perfection
The honest and faithful will go,
While they who reject this glad message
Shall never such happiness know."

How fitting that a verse about happiness in following Jesus Christ is found in a hymn about prophets! I am grateful to know that God loves ALL His children and would not cease to speak to them through his prophets (Amos 3:7). God continues to be a God of miracles and He has a mouthpiece on the earth to lead and guide us in these Last Days before the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

What is God's prophet telling us right now? Read here!

Learn more here!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

God Be With You Till We Meet Again

It's hard to believe that it has already been one year since my childhood friend, Ammon, passed away. Last year I wrote my thoughts about it--and that has been the most-read of all my posts since I started this blog.
Read it here:

Losing a Friend, Gaining an Angel

In the post, I reflected on my thoughts of God's plan of salvation. I shared my knowledge of the Spirit world, how after we die, before we return to God's presence, we are in an in-between state where we continue to teach and learn the Gospel. The New Testament teaches this clearly:

  1. When Christ was on the cross, He told the man next to him, "Today thou shalt be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43). 
  2. Later, when Christ appeared to Mary, He told her, "Touch me not; for I have not yet ascended to my Father." (John 20:17). 
  3. Christ did not immediately return to God in Heaven when He died, but had gone to the Spirit world to preach the Gospel  (1 Peter 3:19; see also 1 Peter 4:6)

Not too long ago, I attended the funeral of a young girl who tragically passed away here in Thompson's Station, TN. The funeral was at a Christian church, but there was still an overwhelming despair that permeated the sanctuary so thickly, you could feel it even if you walked in blindfolded.  Many Christians have a faith and hope in an afterlife but not the clarity, answers, and full picture that modern revelation provides.

I repeat my testimony that The Plan of Salvation is not just something to believe in because it brings peace, but it's a knowledge and an assurance that there really is more than this mortal life.  A Prophet asked God about the doctrine of the Spirit World taught in the Bible, and he received a revelation that confirmed these truths taught in the New Testament. This has helped me as I've thought about Ammon in the last year, where he is and what he is doing. "Worshipping at Jesus' feet" just doesn't answer enough of my questions.

If you find yourself continually aching and empty because of the loss of a loved one, ask yourself, "Do I truly, fully know God's Plan of Salvation, and where we go when we die?" Because there are more answers out there. You can have MORE peace and MORE clarity in your life. The Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth in its fulness.

This hymn is for all who say good bye to each other, either for a temporary time or until the next life.

God Be With You Till We Meet Again
God be with you till we meet again;
By His counsels guide, uphold you;
With His sheep securely fold you.
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again
When life's perils thick confound you,
Put his arms unfailing round you.
God be with you till we meet again

God be with you till we meet again
Keep love's banner floating o'er you;
Smite death's threat'ning wave before you.
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet at Jesus' feet.
  • Talk to a missionary here
  • Learn more about the Plan of Salvation here

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Music from Conference

LDS General Conference was AWESOME.

I especially loved how music was tightly interwoven into the weekend. So many incredible hymns and hymn arrangements were sung, and music was referenced in EVERY session. 

In his talk on Forgiveness, Elder Cardon quoted "Gently Raise the Sacred Strain:" 

Holy, holy is the Lord.
Precious, precious is his word:....
Repent and live;
Tho your sins be crimson red,
Oh, repent, and he’ll forgive.

President Henry B. Eyring referenced the hymn, "Abide with Me; 'Tis Eventide," in his talk. He described a Sacrament meeting over 65 years ago that drew him close to the Savior. As they sang that hymn, he felt the Savior's love and closeness as well as the comfort of the Holy Ghost. 

Elder Russell M. Nelson used the lyrics to "Families Can Be Together Forever," in his talkHe said, "We invite [our inquiring friends] to receive more, especially the glorious truth that through God’s eternal plan, families can be together forever."

In Priesthood Session, Elder Tad R. Callister used a music analogy, "There is an old saying: do not die with your music still in you. In like manner I would say to you adult leaders, do not get released with your leadership skills still in you. And President Uchtdorf quotedLord, I Would Follow Thee:" "Brethren, if we truly follow our Lord Jesus Christ, we must embrace a third title: healer of souls. We who have been ordained to the priesthood of God are called to practice “the healer’s art.”

He later gave a beautiful musical comparison: "In the great Composer’s symphony, you have your own particular part to play—your own notes to sing. Fail to perform them, and with certainty the symphony will go on. But if you rise up and join the chorus and allow the power of God to work through you, you will see 'the windows of heaven' open, and He will 'pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.' Rise up to your true potential as a son of God, and you can be a force for good in your family, your home, your community, your nation, and indeed in the world."
In the Sunday morning session, the same President Uchtdorf told a memorable story about Saints in Africa singing in the dark during a power outage. As a "sweet and overwhelming chorus of voices filled the chapel," the members sang one song after another with an energy and spirit that touched President Uchtdorf's soul. "In the midst of great darkness, these beautiful, wonderful Saints had filled this Church building and our souls with light."

Elder Falabella's third lesson-learned in a home is that A Child Who Sings Is a Happy Child:
"The Savior understood the importance of sacred music. After He observed Passover with His disciples, the scriptures relate, 'And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.' And speaking through the Prophet Joseph, He said, 'For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.' How touching it is to hear the song of a little one who has been taught by his or her parents to sing, 'I am a child of God.'"

Hymns aren't always the only music referenced. I loved Elder Porter's story about his roommate Bruce, whose cheerfulness showed in every aspect of his life. He was even caught one snowy, miserable, and wintry morning walking around the campus at Brigham Young University with arms outstretched, singing, "Oh What a Beautiful Morning!" from the Broadway Musical Oklahoma. 

Elder Porter concluded, "In the intervening years, that bright voice in a dark storm has become for me a symbol of what faith and hope are all about. Even in a darkening world, we as Latter-day Saints may sing with joy, knowing that the powers of heaven are with God’s Church and people."

What song that was sung at Conference was your favorite? Not sure? Check out GC highlights here:

Friday, March 29, 2013

He Sent His Son

"For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  
Here in the "buckle" of the Bible belt as some refer to it, everyone loves The Bible (the actual Bible, although I hear great things about the show on the History Channel too); and from what I have gathered, this is the most commonly-known verse in all of the Old and New Testaments combined.

I love the simple doctrine taught in this short verse. God is our Heavenly Father. We are His children! He loves us and wants us to return to Him and have eternal life. He is separate from His son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son! We will have eternal life if we have faith in and believe in Jesus Christ. We will NOT perish! I know that this is true. 

This week we have been visiting dozens of homes and asking families, What does Easter mean to you?
Some of my favorite responses:
  • "A new beginning. For me it's truly when the new year starts."
  • "Love."
  • "Everything!"
  • "Spring."
  • "The Resurrection, which brings me comfort to know that my Savior is always near."
  • "General Conference...because April General Conference is always the same time!"
This is one of my favorite "Easter" songs. Just like John 3:16, it's simple. It's complete. It expresses my FAITH in my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

He Sent His Son
"How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
He sent his Son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness.
How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
He sent his Son to walk with men on earth, that we may know.
How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath.
What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way.
What does he ask? Live like his Son."

-Mabel Jones Gabbott