Wednesday, January 30, 2008
John 8:32—“and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” This leads to a reference in D&C 50:25 –“you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you”. So the more truth we know, through our study and meditations, the freer we are. If truth leads to freedom and light, therefore lack of knowledge leads to spiritual bondage or darkness.
Mosiah 5:7-8 tells us that because we are spiritually begotten, through our covenants, we are made free. Through faith on his name, our hearts are changed.
Galations 5:1 references the Law of Moses with spiritual bondage—possibly meaning no saving ordinances?
2 Nephi 1:13 describes spiritual bondage as being in a deep sleep, the “sleep of hell”. Our worst nightmares come true?! It also describes bondage as “the eternal gulf of misery and woe.”
Mosiah 16:5—a person who is sinning and rebelling remains in the fallen state and the devil hath power over him. “Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made.” The atonement is null and void for that person.
Alma 5:7-13—Seeking knowledge brings illumination. Light allows us to “see” and to “chase darkness away”. Spiritual bondage is darkness. Verse 9 describes how “their souls did expand”. Darkness is the absence of light and the expansion of light dispels the darkness. A person who does not study the word of God has a narrow focus, only what the adversary wishes him to see. The word of God expands that focus.
Alma 12:11 gives more meaning—those who “harden their hearts are given the lesser portion of the word” (a narrowing of light), “until they know nothing” (are in darkness) and “then they are taken captive by the devil “(spiritual bondage). Remember the change of heart talked about in Mosiah 5:7-8, what is in our heart is directly related to our state of bondage.
Alma 41:11—spiritual bondage is to be without God “contrary to the nature of God…a state contrary to the nature of happiness” Spiritual bondage is unhappiness (misery and woe).
If we look at the sequence here we see that knowledge is the first step in being free. Knowledge is brought about by a study of the word of God. That knowledge illuminates our path; it changes our hearts and increases our faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement. It draws us into His light.
I have generally thought of spiritual bondage as being a state for really wicked people, but now I realize there are different stages of spiritual bondage and yesterday I realized that I was in one.
Darkness is the absence of light. Darkness ensues when we withdraw ourselves out of the light, for that is how it happens. It’s like being in the light of a lamp; the lamp doesn’t move, it’s a steady, continual light. I am the one who moves away from it. By my neglecting the Word, I put myself in darkness. I haven’t been studying my scriptures very regularly lately, and when I have studied, I haven’t really applied myself, it’s been more of reading to say I read rather than reading to increase my knowledge.
I don’t think of myself as really wicked, but just really slothful. When I move away from the light I find that my sense of order seems to diminish. I forget my priorities and I become very unproductive. My housework suffers, my children’s education suffers, and dinners don’t get made. I also find myself becoming more impatient. My heart hardens and I am not very sympathetic to my family’s needs, I become selfish. I am not happy because I am “contrary to the nature of God”.
Fortunately God can reach out into the darkness and find me. “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” I can catch hold of his hand and he can guide me back into the light. A couple of days ago he did just that. I had been watching a movie and fell asleep on the couch. I had a really weird, evil feeling dream and woke up to darkness (everyone had gone to bed and the TV had been turned off). I was stumbling around trying to find my way upstairs when I had a thought I should read my scriptures to try and erase the feeling from the dream. It was about 1:00 am, but I decided that I should listen, so I got my scriptures and proceeded to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon. I read from 1 Nephi 15 and here are a few phrases that popped out at me:
“Have ye inquired of the Lord?”
“If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.”
“Wherefore if they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.”
“Whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish.”
“Give heed unto the word of the Lord.”
Notice how all these phrases have something to do with what I learned about spiritual bondage? Do you think He was trying to tell me something?
“Hey you, little girl out there stumbling around in the dark, get over here and study your scriptures!”
I gave heed and the last couple of days I have studied my scriptures with a little bit more intensity. Now if you will excuse me, I have some housework to attend to.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
But I haven't been able to get around to all my favorite blogs lately, so that's why I'm up, only I've not been able to read them all so I guess I will have to catch up on the rest tomorrow.
Friday I took the kids rollerskating. I found some muscles that I forgot I had. I had a ball though and thoroughly enjoyed skating with my kids. The sweetest thing happened. My six year old has never really skated aside from trying out his siblings rollerblades a couple of times, so it was quite the experience for him. So much so that he decided that he needed some extra help so he found a little corner, three times, and knelt down to say a prayer...my heart melted seeing him kneeling there! He said that the first two prayers didn't work, but the third one did! I agreed as he was able to make it around the whole floor without holding my hand and only falling, oh say, four or five rather than 20 times!
It's been raining here for a week, on and off, but mostly on. I love it, but today I decided that it really makes me tired. I don't know how you people who live in Washington do it. I love the rain, but all I want to do is curl up in front of the fireplace and read a good book...only I have six kids and a husband who need to be fed, clothed and educated and carpooled around (educated and carpooling--meaning the kids, although there are some things that I would like my husband to be educated in...won't go there).
I've been washing my face lately at night. I've never been a face washer at night, and don't know why I'm even telling you that, except that my face feels really nice and I'm wondering why I didn't do it before. The other day I found myself in the skincare aisle at the market looking at all the anti aging creams...I guess I'm starting to worry about the tiny lines around the eyes, not to mention the big dark circles underneath. I bought myself some anti aging eye cream that makes the skin tingle around my eyes, and Ponds Cold Cream (only it's not called that anymore). I've always wondered what it was like and I've always liked the name, so I bought some and also some Ponds facial wash. Now I know what it's like, and I like it.
Today I was standing in the kitchen and I started to smell something and thought it was a nice smell, but couldn't fingure out what it was. I left the room for a bit and then came back in and the smell was a bit stronger, but still a good smell. Then it got a bit stronger and I looked over at the toaster oven and remembered the english muffins I had put in there several minutes ago...black. It drives my husband crazy, the penchant I have for burning toast. I think I have only NOT burned toast like 5 times in my whole life, and I eat toast several times per week! I put it in a just forget about it. Last year I joined Toastmasters so that I could improve my public speaking skills (then I found out you had to write speeches and after only writing one in six months I decided to quit and will only go back after I have four prepared speeches...I think it will be awhile). ANYWAY my husband's only comment when I told him that I had joined Toastmasters was that now maybe I would learn how to properly make toast. Nope, didn't happen.
Well, that's all I can think of for now. I do have another Isaiah post I've been working on and I finally thought of an ending for it today, I have such a hard time with endings. Hopefully I can get it finished and up here in the next couple of days.
Going to bed now...do you think that staying up late and dark circles under the eyes have any connection?
Monday, January 28, 2008
Well I don't know if you can see this picture. I can't because my computer is not showing me pictures today. All I can see is a little white box with a red X in the middle.
It's a picture of President Gordon B. Hinckley. I will miss him. I will miss his humor. I will miss hearing him speak in General Conference. I feel a little emptiness in the world. I know that a new prophet will be sustained and I am ever grateful for that fact, but I will miss President Hinckley. I never got to meet him personally, but I was able to be in the same room with him when he came to our town to dedicate the temple. I cannot properly describe it, but will never forget the feeling I had when he walked into the room and I knew that I was in the presence of a prophet of God. It was glorious. He lived to be 97 years old...wow.
I am glad that he is now with his beautiful wife, Marjorie. I know he was lonely for her and I can just imagine their glorious reunion, I cried more over that than I did that he died, because even though I know why we are here and where we are going and that we will be with our loved ones again, I know what it's like to miss someone who has gone. My mom died a few years ago, and even though I know I will see her again, I miss her. I'm glad for him that the wait is over.
Goodbye President Hinckley.
God be with you till we meet again.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Thank you Joey. (She's on my daily blog list.)
Monday, January 21, 2008
Goodness...I've lost my identity!
Friday, January 18, 2008
Tomorrow I might actually get to sew. I bought the fabric for my kitchen curtains and got them cut out a few days ago (before sickness) and tomorrow I will buy the lining and get that cut out and hopefully by the middle of next week my kitchen windows will be sporting curtains.
This evening I spent reading a book that I couldn't put down, so I finished it and then played "Phase 10" with my girls whom I beat handily, or at least by one phase.
Not really an extraordinary day, except for the fact that I am able to walk up the stairs without getting winded...and I finally have a bit of an appetite. Not sure I'm happy about that as I have lost 7 pounds from being sick. There's a silver lining in every cloud!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I was just going to type in here that I have a 13 year old daughter who was unhappy today and that would probably have been enough explanation for my title.
And maybe I should leave it at that rather than spewing forth venom and ruining all of your evenings.
Then I thought I should title it "Thank You Fellow Bloggers", because I needed something to take my mind off my day, so I surfed around to all my favorite blogs, and laughed and shuddered and sniffed and laughed some more and generally got uplifted.
I didn't leave any comments, because I was afraid of writing anything in my current mood that might offend or be taken in the wrong way, but I did thoroughly enjoy all of your posts and when I get caught up with my life (see below) then I will delight you with my enlightening comments (cough, cough).
I've learned my lesson too many times that when I'm in an especially emotional mood that it's just best to keep quiet.
Remember the stomach flu I had?
Well it went away and was replaced with another flu.
One that zaps all your energy.
I've been laying around since Sunday.
Let me rephrase that: I've been trying to lay around since Sunday, but every day this week (and usually more than just once per day) someone(s) had to be somewhere and since I am the chauffer and I don't have a backup, then I had to drive kids around, and while my charges were in doing their various fun activities, I layed around...in my car...until I could finally come home and either get in the bathtub or on the couch.
I think I am finally on the mend and tomorrow I don't have any places to be or things to do except my appointment with the washer and dryer.
I have piles of clothes, both clean and dirty, laying in various locations throughout my house.
Why doesn't life stop when I do?
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I'm going about it differently this year. This time I'm making a list of things I would like to do this year and then each month I will look at my list and pick a couple of things to do and make plans on how to accomplish them. I know that I probably won't accomplish everything on my list, especially if by some miracle we get to start building our home, but if, at the end of the year, I can say I did a few then I will be happy.
With that, here's my list (in no particular order):
- Exercise 4 days per week
- Finish Isaiah and write essays on insights
- Make blankets to give away to charity
- Obtain 72 hour kits
- Obtain basic food storage
- Read all the math literature I've been collecting over the last 2 years
- Read the Book of Mormon, underlining all references to the Savior
- Ride my bike 1000 miles
- Sew 4 quilts
- Sew 4 seasonal wallhangings
- Sew advent calendars
- Take a writing class
- Read Verse by Verse, The Four Gospels
There, I did it. It's up for all the world to see...Go Mindy!
Hope your day is going better than mine!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
And he fenced it and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein and he looked that it should bring forth grapes and it brought forth wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I look that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down." (Isaiah 5:1-5)
My husband and I have spent countless hours driving around the countryside looking for the perfect place in which to build a house. Not any place would do, we had our criteria. We wanted a place with enough room for the kids to play, a place for a garden and fruit trees, and lots of privacy. After many days, weeks and months, even years of searching, we finally found the perfect spot.
In the parable of the vineyard the first verse says, “My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill”, meaning the master of the vineyard chose carefully where he was going to plant his vineyard. It had to be the perfect spot, a place where the ground was fertile and would bring forth the best fruit of the vine. I imagine he spent a lot of time searching before finding the perfect spot for his vineyard.
After picking out the perfect location for the vineyard, the master shows his great diligence in what it takes to prepare for his precious fruit. First he puts up a fence to keep out predators, protecting the vineyard from outside influence. Then he combs the ground for stones, anything that might hinder the growth of the tender young vines. He picks the choicest vines, the very best he can afford to plant in his vineyard. He builds a tower so that he can watch over the fence for anything that might bring harm to his precious vineyard. He bought a wine press so he would be prepared, because he expected the vines to bring forth good fruit. He was a caring, dedicated master expecting nothing but the best by all his preparations in his vineyard. Imagine his immense disappointment when his vines bring forth bad grapes, after all his care and diligent sacrifice.
Matthew 21:33-44 gives a more complete picture of the parable. After the master carefully prepared the vineyard he let it out to husbandmen, people he trusted to the stewardship of his vines while he was away. After awhile he sent servants to the husbandmen to receive the fruits, but they beat and stoned them. Finally he sent his son saying “they will reverence my son”. “But when the husbandman saw the son they said among themselves, this is the heir; come let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.”
Because of the wickedness of the vineyard wherein they would kill the masters son, in his anger the master takes down the hedge and breaks down the wall, which wasn’t in good shape anyway according to Proverbs 24:30-31: it“was grown all over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof and the stone wall thereof was broken down”, probably because of neglect of the husbandman.
I love parables. I love finding the unseen little gems that a careful study will produce. The Bible Dictionary defines a parable as being “Greek in origin, and means a setting side by side, a comparison…In parables divine truth is presented by comparison with material things. The parable conveys to the hearer religious truth exactly in proportion to his faith and intelligence; to the dull and uninspired it is a mere story, “seeing they see not,” while to the instructed and spiritual it reveals the mysteries or secrets of the kingdom of heaven. Thus it is that the parable exhibits the condition of all true knowledge. Only he who seeks finds."
Isaiah uses the parable of the vineyard to symbolically tell the tale of Israel’s destruction and scattering and as I pondered upon it I considered how to apply it to me personally. My thoughts were led to the idea of comparing the vineyard as being my home, and my husband and I, the husbandmen. How is the soil in our vineyard? Is it fertile? Are we constantly nourishing it to keep it thriving and strong? Are we teaching gospel precepts that will help our family grow in truth and righteousness? Are we having personal and family scripture study? How is the ground? Do we allow stones that are thrown in to clutter up and hinder our growth? And what are the stones? How many activities are taking up valuable family time? What weaknesses are we stumbling over? What are we doing with those stones? Are we using them to build the wall, or carrying them around in our backpacks? How about the tower? Are ever watchful for enemies? What or who are those enemies? Are we aware of who our children’s friends are and who our friends are? What TV programs and movies are we watching? What magazines are we reading? What content is coming in to our homes from the Internet? How is our wall? Are we constantly keeping back the thorns and nettles? Are we preparing for the return of the master? What fruits will we be able to present to him?
When my husband and I found the perfect spot for our home, there were many obstacles to overcome. We had to split the property in three parcels and sell two of them before we could begin construction on the third. We have sold one and are still waiting on the other to sell. The economy has taken a downturn, and it’s anyone’s guess as to when it will sell. When we bought the property we began going to church in the ward whose boundaries our property was in rather than where we were renting our house. But after being there a couple of months I began feeling like we needed to go to the other ward. My husband hates change and didn’t want to, and I loved the ward as well. It was a difficult decision. One day after listening to a particularly uplifting lesson in Relief Society I thought in my mind how much I loved this ward and wanted to stay here. Immediately another thought followed, “You’re needed elsewhere.” I knew then that we needed to change wards and so after some prayer and deliberation we did. Our children have thrived in the new ward. And I know that things have not progressed on our house because our children needed to be here for whatever reason. My dream of living in the perfect house on acreage has had to take a back seat for awhile.
Right after I finished my ponderings of Isaiah 5, I picked up a sheet of paper that I had tucked into my scriptures. It had this quote from President Howard W. Hunter, “If we can pattern our life after the Master, and take his teachings and example as the supreme pattern for our own, we will not find it difficult to be consistent and loyal in every walk of life, for we will be committed to a single sacred standard of conduct and belief.”
I want to choose where my vineyard is, but I realize that I am not the master of the vineyard, I am the steward, and it is the Lord who chooses the place. It has taken me awhile to learn that it doesn’t matter where we are or what kind of home we are in, whatever area the Lord has chosen for us is the place that will be of the most value in our progress and it is the place that I am to nourish. The pattern he has given us in this simple parable has relevance in every aspect of our lives. How we choose to conduct ourselves in the vineyards we have stewardship over are intrinsically related to the happiness and wellbeing of our families. The consequences of our conduct have eternal significance, and that eternal significance will be very clear when the Master comes to gather the fruit of his vineyard. I think the final question is: When the Master comes, how will I greet him and how worthy will be the fruit in my vineyard?
Friday, January 04, 2008
I remember when I started my study. I was at a spiritual low and was casting about in my mind what I should study. Should I read the Book of Mormon again? Should I try to catch up on the Sunday school study (being in Primary I never was very good at keeping up when I’m not there to discuss)? Maybe I’d go with the Old Testament, since that would be the Seminary course of study. As I sat there trying to decide, the thought came, “study Isaiah”. Hmmm, I’d tried that before, in fact I had even gotten as far as chapter 2…
I started my study, or rather; I resumed my study with chapter three. I stumbled through, getting my feet wet with the language, asking lots of questions, getting few answers, but a couple of gems came through. Then I came to chapter five. I read through it the first time…fuzz…I started in again, this time taking it slowly, picking it apart. And that’s when I had my Eureka moment; my whole attitude and understanding of how to study Isaiah changed. I was so excited about what I had learned that I wanted to share it with the whole world!
Isaiah saved me. I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I have been going through a mid-life crisis. Right around that time I was in the thick of it, (although I didn’t recognize that that was what I was going through) and Isaiah pulled me out of it. I have been given many answers through my study. I still don’t know anything about Isaiah really, but I know a heck of a lot more about me!
I got a book for Christmas that I’m very excited about. It’s called Verse by Verse, The Four Gospels. It’s a small, little book (only a measly 856 pages). It’s a commentary on the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and gives an understanding of the history, geography, archeology and language of the New Testament era. In the beginning of the book the authors give suggestions for getting the most from your scripture study. They say, “It has been suggested that when we want to talk with God, we pray; when we want him to talk to us, we study the scriptures. Write down your impressions while studying his words. Occasionally when you are deeply involved in reading and pondering the scriptures, the Lord will reveal something to your mind, maybe even unrelated to what you are reading on the page, but something that will improve your life, enhance some relationship, or resolve some problem or conflict.”
A couple of years ago I had started writing down my thoughts while studying the scriptures and I can’t tell you how many times during my study sessions I have been given something unrelated to what I am reading. Of course, my mind tends to wander to a lot of unrelated things as I have studied Isaiah, because, well, Isaiah tends to wander himself. But it has been a beautiful way of learning how the Lord speaks to me.
Well, this post actually started out being an introduction to Isaiah 5 so that I could share it with you, but seeing as how this post has gone on too long, you will just have to come back tomorrow...or rather, when you see on your blog feed that I have posted something!
Also, since I did mention goals in the beginning of this post I might as well tell you that I plan on putting my goals out here for all the world to see, but I’m still working on them, trying to hone them down to something that I will actually do! One is to finish Isaiah, and another will be to get to bed at a decent time every night…oops, too late to start today!
Well, Good Night and Happy New Year!