You Are My Hands

There is a statue of Christ where the hands were destroyed during the war and they were left off and a description added beneath the statue which read, “You Are My Hands.” How do you demonstrate you are Christ’s hands?

Often the scriptures say that we are instruments in the hands of Christ. There are two types of instruments. Tools to be worked and musical instruments to be played. Tools need to be sharp and charged to be effective. Musical Instruments do not get to chose what they play, where they will be played or how or when they will be played. How do you keep yourself sharped, charged and ready to be used by Christ?

“You Are His Hands” Devotional Guide Available

We have prepared a PDF You Are My Hands Devotional for you to use with your family. Check out the video too.

Providence

What is your lot in life?

Have you ever wondered why things happen the way they do? Why you? I do.

I have a friend suffering with stage 4 cancer and fighting for her life. I keep asking myself why her, why now, why does she have to suffer so much? Is it really her lot in life?

I decided I’d look up the word ‘lot‘ and find out what that meant. Of course, I turned to the 1828 dictionary and read “that which is the determination of providence; the part…that falls to one by divine determination.” What is providence then? Providence is “the care and superintendence which God exercises over his creatures.” I actually find comfort in that. My friends cancer is providence, a lesson God is teaching her and all the rest of us a lesson that will bring us closer to him. Our job is to find that lesson and grow from it even though it is painful.

I’ve noticed that there are not many movies, books or music that refers to providence as there use to be in the early 1900’s. My daughter and I just watched all the Anne of Green Gable movies over the Christmas vacation. They are filled with the belief in God, that his hand of providence is guiding them. Why doesn’t the world acknowledge and trust in God any more?

I am reminded of the two examples from the Book of Mormon about 200 B.C. One, Amulon is given permission to teach the Lamanites how to read and write in the Nephite language (see Mosiah 24:1). Alma taught the new converts how to read and write too, but he added the reverence of God within his teachings. The consequences are drastically different! They both began to flourish, opportunities were opened up, both increased in riches and wisdom.  The Nephites “did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land” and “they built a city” (Mosiah 23:20) and “Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” (Mosiah 24:15) On the other hand, the Lamanites delighted in wickedness and plundering (Mosiah 24:7).

So, back to my other question. Why don’t I teach, write, acknowledge and trust more in providence? Why don’t I only entrust teachers of my children who teach providence? Do I not want the results of my children bearing their burden with ease? Be cheerful? Have patience? To prosper and build cities?

I know you are the choir and that you teach about God’s hand throughout all of history, literature, time, music, etc.  I am re-committing myself to do better at finding, pointing out and seeking for Providence, evidence of God’s hand in all the details of learning so that my ‘lot’ in life will be one filled with the awareness of Christ’s hand in the little things, in all things.

 

You miss a lot when you don’t believe
little things mean a lot.

A Tale of Two Mothers

This is a Tale of Two Mothers – Hannah of the Old Testament and Mary of the New Testament.

Hannah and Mary both lived in times of uncertainty and transition. Hannah lived in Israel during the time of Judges. After 350 years the Israelites were looking at other nations and noticing they had Kings at their head and started demanding a King to be their governor.

Mary, a young woman from Nazareth lived a thousand years after Hannah. After the Jews were carried away captive into Babylon a few returned to Israel to rebuild their nation only to see it taken over by the Selecids. A revolt by the Maccabees resulted in a free Jewish nation for a time. But, now the Romans and their appointed king, Herod, ruled over the Jews.

Hannah was the wife of Elka’nah who also was the husband to Penin’nah. She had bore him many children, but Hannah was barren. In Israel having many children was a blessing. Hannah pleaded with God at the temple, “Give me a son and I will give him back to you for all the days of his life.” Eli, the priest, told her that her prayer would be answered. Sure enough, Hannah name the boy Samuel, meaning, “I have asked him of the Lord. As promised when Samuel is weaned, she gives him to Eli to raise. At that time she offered up a song of thanksgiving.

My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in thy salvation.

There is none holy like the Lord, there is none besides thee; there is no rock like our God.

Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength.

Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.

The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts.

He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.

He will guard the feet of his faithful ones; but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail.

The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed.

Mary received a visit from the angel, Gabriel who told her she was to be the mother of the Messiah. Soon afterwards she traveled to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who is also pregnant. Elizabeth greets her warmly. Mary responds with a song of thanksgiving.

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.

For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.

Many of the characters and event in the New Testament have types in the Old Testament. Hannah is a type of Mary. The parallels and imagery of the two prayers or songs are blatant. They both reference the poor and down-trodden, the mercy of God, etc. Mary must have studied the scriptures and read Hannah’s song many times. She may have memorized it and applied the words until they became her words, her feelings. What a reunion it must have been in heaven when the two met again. They may have compared stories of how they both handed over their first born sons to God to raise and their thoughts and fears and blessings and testimonies.

Who do you relate to in the scriptures? Who is your mentor and hero?

For me I have liked Eliza R. Snow and love to hear her stories and read her poetry (hymns). I admire her work and feel a connection to her. I look forward to meeting her one day.

The Reflecting Octopus

Did you know that octopuses can change their color to match their environment? How they change is most interesting. The outer layer of their skin is made up of millions of small pigment sacs called chromatophores. Nerves within his eyes sense the brightness of the light and contract or expand these sacs. When expanded they give the octopus a dark brown color. When contracted the underlying reflective leucophores are exposed reflecting whatever color of light is most abundant. If the octopus is swimming in an algae-covered pool it will reflect the green color. The octopus’s ability to change color is really nothing more than a side effect of an ability to detect changes in light which adjust its skin to become more or less reflective.

We have the same opportunity to reflect more or less of the influences around us. What are you reflecting away from you? What are you not reflecting enough?

Reflection is to pause

As I have been preparing for my advanced constellation class I came across this statement in the Lecture’s on Faith, lecture seven.

It surely will not be required of us to prove that [faith] is the principle upon which all eternity has acted and will act; for every reflecting mind must know that it is by reason of this power that all the hosts of heaven perform their works of wonder, majesty, and glory.

“Every reflecting mind” stood out to me. What is a reflecting mind? John Maxwell, who speaks on leadership defined reflection as, “Reflection turns experience into insight.” and “Reflection is the pause that gives a person perspective.”

I want to be insightful and gain perspective. So “how” do I reflect?

This thought took me on a journey in my mind. The first thought was the word “ponder.” How often do I ponder on what I study or learn or the people I’ve met. If God orchestrates our lives and the people we meet are no accident then why not ponder and reflect on those experiences to gain insight and possibly even direction or the “next step?” And, of course, this thought lead me to a commitment – to reflect every day before I went to bed. But that commitment fell short because I kept falling asleep so now I reflect every morning.

I have chosen to use the formula Kevin Hall uses in his book, “Aspire.” I reflect on 4 things:

  1. People who help me
  2. Actions I’ve taken on opportunities
  3. Thoughts that help me create meaning or understanding
  4. Happiness moments – random acts of kindness, God’ tender mercies

All of which help me stay on PATH! 🙂

How do you Reflect and Ponder?

Rejoice Over Your Flaws!

A distressed man came to a trusted friend and said,

Stairs of a tight mountain path

“I felt confident in my journey last year, but this year I’ve noticed my flaws and imperfections in my daily life and fear I’ll not be successful in my journey.”

His friend smiled and said, “Rejoice!”

Startled, he questioned his friend as to why he was happy about his confession.

In 1 Nephi 8 we learn about the “strait and narrow” path. The word “strait” means “narrow” or “restricted” so you could say that is a “narrow and narrow” path or “narrow and narrowing” path. As we receive more from the Holy Ghost the path gets narrower and narrower.

This is great news! As we begin to notice flaws that were unnoticed before is evidence that we are now closer to the Spirit than before. As we draw closer and closer to God the “light” shines much brighter on the path and we notice smaller and smaller things. This is a “sign” that you are doing better!

Once the man understood this he took a deep breath of relief and smiled. He thanked his friend and continued on his journey rejoicing. Knowledge is power! He went on to be very effective in leading others to Christ. (I learned this story from David J. Ridges in “Your Study of the Book of Mormon Made Easier”)

What flaws in your life are you noticing? Rejoice!

Join us today for our Table Talk Discussion #38 where we’ll talk about this story and share other ways to Rejoice.

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