Joy

Connecticut

I was travelling to celebrate Christmas with my family on the weekend, the day of the terrible tragedy in Connecticut. Such a sad, heart wrenching day for so many. A damper on our celebrations and feelings of inexpressible sorrow, however no comparison to the raw loss and agony all those affected families are feeling and experiencing as Christmas approaches.

I felt that nothing I might say could express adequately all the feelings of my heart. I nearly chose to remain quiet, especially because so very many have attempted to express with tributes, memorials and song our collective heartache and condolences.

However, today I read an exceptionally well expressed article written by Kathryn Skaggs filled with truths and balm for the soul.

“The only true source of comfort and peace to the sorrows, the losses and the soul wrenching pains of mortality is through Jesus Christ. And as difficult as it may seem for us to understand, it is during these times that human nature is prone to seek for a source greater than self to be comforted when there are no reasonable answers, or solace to be found. When we are tormented with grief unspeakable, asking questions where seemingly no answers are to be found.

I think of this as each of us having a sort of homing beacon, planted deep inside. I believe our spirits innately know there is more, and therefore there is a constant yearning, imperceptible, until the answer appears before us. And when it does, it is pure revelation. Light….”

Click here to read the rest of “The Only True Source of Comfort and Peace”.

May your heart be filled to overflowing with truth, faith, and hope as you read Kathryn’s post, and may that truth bring you the deepest of peace, comfort and joy.

Someone had gotten into, and spilled a box of odds and ends. I was six-perhaps seven years old and in that mess I noticed a small box of Chinese matches. Very tiny and cute, they were different from regular matches. Concerned that my younger brother would find and play with them I hid them under my mattress.

I completely forgot to mention this to my parents. Weeks later, my father discovered them. Immediately, we children were summoned. Dad demanded a confession from the guilty, along with the promise of a whipping.

Exactly what is an open and honest heart? We know that the condition of our heart is important because there are many references in the scriptures.

“Seek the Lord your God …with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:5).  “The Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Righteous people are identified:

“…heard these things, our hearts did melt” (Joshua 2:11)

“…he who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4)

And rebellious people are recognized:

“…hardened their heart” (John 12:40)

“…their heart is far from Me (Matthew 15:8)

This past weekend, I met a beautiful woman.  I was enthralled as we shared our beliefs and explored our feelings regarding the gospel. Not ever had I spoken with someone who enquired as openly of our Latter-Day Saint beliefs with pure intentions, open to truth and without prejudice.  Incomparable joy filled our hearts as we connected for a few hours.

What is an open heart? In “Whisperings of the Spirit”, Nancy Murphy describes it very clearly.

“A person who has an open heart is full of faith and free from pride and unrighteous judgment. An open heart demonstrates complete trust in and devotion to the Lord as well as a willingness to accept any answer, which is itself an indication that the person who asks has the faith necessary to obey the promptings given. Having an open heart is a condition that invites the Holy Ghost to speak unabated and operate unrestrained.

Why must we have an open heart? To hear the will of the Lord, we must open ourselves up to any possibility, be ready to accept any answer, for then our spirits, through humility, are willing to conform to the Lord’s desires for our lives. If our heart is closed in any way or to any degree, the Lord cannot freely bless us with answers we seek.”

Whenever, I think of an honest heart, I am reminded of my sad experience so many years ago. I chose to tell the truth fully knowing the consequences. My father did not believe me and the promised beating left its bruises. Years later, he acknowledged that I must have been honest, but his fears of children playing with matches had persuaded him otherwise.

How do you know if you have an open heart? Again, taken from “Whisperings of the Spirit”, answering a few questions will help you see clearly whether you do possess an open heart.

  1. Am I prepared to accept the Lord’s will?
  2. Am I willing to act on the answer the Lord may give-despite disappointments I feel or any disagreement I might have with the promptings that come?
  3. Have I turned my life over to Him with complete submissiveness and surrender?
  4. Are my personal desires the true issue or is the will of the Lord my greatest desire?

 

 

 

Have you ever been in a situation when you knew–really knew–exactly which direction the Lord desired for you to take? What were your choices? What did you choose? Any regrets?

Do you trust God? How do you know?

Many of the ideas in this post originate from a wonderful article that helped me ponder ‘trust in the Lord’.  “How much do I trust God? What does 100% trust look like? What does it take to trust God?  What stops people from trusting God? Why trust Him at all?” I’ve listed my accumulated thoughts. Is there more you can share?

Why trust in God?

* Your needs are great and varied

* You are His unique child

* He knows you individually

* He loves you

* He wants you to be happy

* He has your best interest in mind

* A lack of trust in Him brings sadness into your life

* He will send you messages of encouragement, correction and direction-fitted to you and to your needs

* He will counsel you personally with His wisdom-He can tell you exactly what you need to do-for your needs

Heartaches.  Grief. Anger. Hopelessness. Contention. Depression. Lack of direction in life. Divorce. Loneliness. Burdens of life. Unfulfillment. Frustration. The list of pain and anguish is endless. Countless long for relief but don’t know where to turn. The joy and happiness longed for can be very elusive.

Every individual on this earth has reason to turn to God. Each longs for a life overflowing with joy and happiness.

“I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.” Alma 29:2

What stops you from trusting God?

* Pride

* Fear

* No idea of how much He loves you

* Don’t know or believe that He truly is mindful of you

* You trust in men’s wisdom

* Lack of belief in His power to make or bring change

* Lack of belief in His power to fill your heart with joy, peace, happiness

* Lack of belief in His power to heal the pain, distress and grief of your heart

* Denial

* Lack of integrity

* Lack of a good heart

* Lack of honesty

* Unwillingness to obey His counsel

* A refusal to repent-that is, to turn and go in the direction he indicates.

Do you agree or disagree? Any more you can add to this list?

 “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy” Jonah 2:8

What is the result of not trusting God?

Recall Jonah’s experience?  The Lord sent him to Nineveh to call the people to repentance.  Jonah boarded a ship going Tarshish-the opposite direction. His plan was to hide from the presence of the Lord. A mighty tempest entered his life while he was sleeping.

Waters compassed him…weeds wrapped around his head. (Denial, engulfed in misery, depression, lack of belief in God’s power, definitely didn’t trust the Lord). He did recognize that he was on this worldly level forever-no progression happening here.

What happens when we leave the presence of the Lord?

* Pain

* No joy

* No peace

* No happiness

* No blessings

* No progression

We reject His plan for our life. This lack of trust in God brings sorrow and misery to Heavenly Father’s children.

Then Jonah says he remembered the Lord- and he prayed.

What does it take to trust God?

* Courage

* Humility

* Honesty

* Remaining in God’s presence

* Desire to develop trust

* Two way communication ( Jonah prayed then he says of God, “ He heard me”, “Thou heardest my voice”)

* Commitment

* Knowing God

* Recognize our salvation is in Jesus Christ

* Willingness to obey His commandments no matter how hard they appear

* Repentance-turn in opposite direction

* Thanksgiving

* Keeping our covenants, promises, vows

And then the Lord ‘spake’ unto the fish. God acted –and saved Jonah. A second time He sent Jonah to Nineveh. Jonah did go and his mission was successful.

“I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” 1 Nephi 3:7

When we trust in God, what do we receive?

* Peace

* Security

* Healing

* Strength

* Greater light

* More faith

* More talent

* Harmony

* Confidence

* Prosperity

* Greater joy

* Greater happiness

“…in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15 (KJV)

Trusting God will bless:

*  Our life

*  Lives of our families

Our communities

Nations

“And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.”  Henry B Eyring

Do you trust in God? How do you know?

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