Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Filling our Lamps

Tonight I was asked to speak at my daughter Amy's ward for the Relief Society ( our women's group ) Birthday Dinner
Relief Society is celebrating it's 174th year! That is a lot of service!
Charity Never Faileth is it's them and so tonight I spoke about all the things Relief Society represents.
A few friends have asked that I post my talks, since they couldn't be there for it!

My Talk

I have always loved Children’s Books.
I like the messages that they seem to share in a Clear and Simple way
So simple that even an ADULT can understand it! J
So let me share one of my Favorites with you…

It is called SNEETCHES by Dr. Suess

I love teaching my children that being different is ok and that it is actually a good thing!
I loved reminding them that everyone is a Child of God, and no two of us are alike, but each is beautiful, unique and important to Him.
The hard part I think…about this Clear and Simple message is …when we Grow Up!
We start to compare ourselves to others
We start listening to what the World says WE SHOULD LOOK LIKE, ACT LIKE OR EVEN DO!
And with those expectations from the world, we become more and more UNHAPPY ( because we aren’t exactly the same!)
And when we aren’t Happy with ourselves…then we become more Critical and Judgmental of Others!
(Hmmmm sounds like a book we just read J)
So let’s talk tonight about What God our Heavenly Father wants us to be!
Some of my notes are from a talk that our Prophet Thomas S. Monson shared in a talk called Be An Example and a Light… Oct/ 1025

The first is from the Sermon on the Mount: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” 
The old mariners used systems to guide them as they sailed on the oceans of the world. Anciently there were only what we call the “Upper Lights”, which were the stars, moon and the Sun. They believed that God provided these “ Upper Lights” especially for this purpose; especially the North Star.
These “ Upper Lights” were fine for the mid-ocean direction finding, but as the wooden ships approached the shore, they had no directions to bring them safely into the harbor. Usually they just looked for the lights from the towns and farms near the shore to tell them where they were.
Lighthouses were constructed to beam lights out into the ocean to warn the mariners of obstacles and other dangers on shore which if unknown would bring disaster to the ship, crew and cargo. Many times these lighthouses were at the entrances to safe harbors. The captains, or pilots of the ship would search intently for these beams of light, knowing that if followed they would provide safe entry.
Eventually, these lights were called the “Lower Lights” as opposed to the “Upper Lights” which God controls.

Philip Paul Bliss wrote the words to this Hymn that we sing today…

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

So in the Sermon of the mount we realize we need to be a Light unto the world and then in the 25th Chapter of Matthew, we read the parable of the ten virgins and it reminds us that we need be ready Spiritually and to have oil in our lamps so we can be that Light.

“You may think it selfish that the five wise virgins did not share their oil, but it was impossible. Spiritual preparation must be acquired individually, drop by drop, and cannot be shared.” ~Mary N. Cook
I believe those prepared 5 virgins were truly Happy and isn’t that what everyone really wants in life?
Many people have spent their whole life looking for a way to be happy, others have spent $1000s of dollars trying to obtain it and yet others have sacrificed things of great importance just to find it.
I certainly don't think it is a secret. I think the Lord has told us over and over again how to find it.
I believe it comes down to what type of Spiritual Oil we need in our lamps.
Lets talk about 5 of them…
Oil of Faith  
To be an example of faith means that we trust in the Lord and in His word. It means that we possess and that we nourish the beliefs that will guide our thoughts and our actions. Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in our Heavenly Father will influence all that we do. Amidst the confusion of our age, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives. Remember that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. I reiterate what we have been told repeatedly—that in order to gain and to keep the faith we need, it is essential that we read and study and ponder the scriptures.
“Faith has a short shelve life” We must increase our faith every day!

“Your faith will grow not by Chance but by Choice !”

Oil of Hope
The scriptures say that there must be “an opposition in all things.
The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.
Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in God.
What, Then, Is Hope?
Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.
The things we hope in sustain us during our daily walk. They uphold us through trials, temptations, and sorrow. Everyone has experienced discouragement and difficulty. Indeed, there are times when the darkness may seem unbearable. It is in these times divine principles we hope in can uphold us and carry us until, once again, we walk in the light.
We hope in Jesus the Christ, in the goodness of God, in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, in the knowledge that prayers are heard and answered. Because God has been faithful and kept His promises in the past, we can hope with confidence that God will keep His promises to us in the present and in the future. In times of distress, we can hold tightly to the hope that things will “work together for [our] good. This type of hope in God, His goodness, and His power refreshes us with courage during difficult challenges and gives strength to those who feel threatened by enclosing walls of fear, doubt, and despair
As long as we have hope, 
we have direction, 
the energy to move, 
and the map to move by. 
We have a hundred alternatives, 
a thousand paths and infinity of dreams. 
Hopeful, we are halfway to where we want to go; 
Hopeless, we are lost forever.
Hope is one of the prime differences between successful people and those who can only see failure. Successful people have hope because they can clearly see their goals. People who only see failure have no hope because they see no light, they set no goals, and they see nothing accomplished. Successful people see alternatives and are willing to try different ways. People who only see failure are unable to see another way and give up to easily. With hope you are halfway to where you want to go; by setting your goals, and taking the action to achieve them, you will see your hope turn into your reality!
So HOPE is the antidote for despair. It may not solve the problem but it can buoy us up and give us the strength and courage we need to go on. We need to remember to lift our heads up, look to God and find great help and endurance.  ( Look up my Soul  by Gerald N. Lund )

"Man can live forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope"
Oil of Understanding  

I believe when we truly understand a person or a situation, then our opinions can change.
Let me tell you a story that proves this point!
Candy shop
One day a teenage boy went into a Candy store. He approached the Proprietor and asked for 3 boxes of chocolates 1 one-pound of chocolates, 1 two-pound box of chocolates, and 1 three-pound box of chocolates.
The owner complied and began to fill the young man’s order and asked, “may I ask you why need 3 boxes of chocolates”?
The young man said:
“I am going to a dance with a girl that I don’t know very well but I like her a lot. If we go to the dance and she is shy and quite, and perhaps we dance a few dances I will give her that 1-pound box of chocolates. If we go to the dance and she is fun and we dance a lot and she holds my hand, I will give here that 2-pound box of chocolates. If we go to the dance and we dance close all night long, hold hands and as the end of the night she gives me a kiss, I will give her the 3-pound box of chocolates.
The owner smiled, wished him good luck and rang the young man up for his order.
The night of the dance arrived and the young man went to the house to retrieve his date for the evening. Her parents invited him inside and they waited for her to come downstairs. When she was finally ready she came down and said she was ready to leave.
The young man said:
Do you mind if we read some scriptures together with your parents before we go”?
She thought this was a strange request but allowed it.
After completing some verses she again resounded she was ready to leave.
The young man said:
“Before we go can we kneel down together and have a family prayer”?
She again thought this to be strange but figured it would help her to get to the dance so she allowed it.
After the prayer she asked the young man again if they could leave, and he finally agreed.
They said goodbye to the parents and left.
As they were walking to his car the young woman said”
I have to be honest with you… I had no idea you were so spiritual”
The young man replied:
“To be honest… I had no idea your father owned a Candy Store”.
The moral of the story: "A change in understanding can lead to a change in behavior"
REMEMBER: “You are never to young to learn and never too old to change!” ~ Russell M Nelson
Oil of Kindness 
The Savior himself said…As I have loved you, love one anot
We cannot truly love God if we don’t love and serve those around us.
President Monson reminds us when he said…”My sisters, our opportunities to shine surround us each day, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. As we follow the example of the Savior, ours will be the opportunity to be a light in the lives of others, whether they be our own family members and friends, our co-workers, mere acquaintances, or total strangers.
To each of you, I say that you are a son or daughter of our Heavenly Father. You have come from His presence to live on this earth for a season, to reflect the Savior’s love and teachings, and to bravely let your light shine for all to see. When that season on earth has ended, if you have done your part, yours will be the glorious blessing of returning to live with Him forever.
Usually our love will be shown in our day-to-day interactions one with another. All important will be our ability to recognize someone’s need and then to respond. I have always cherished the sentiment expressed in the short poem:”
I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.

Oil of service 

 I believe we need a lot of this type of Spiritual Oil

(“there is no age barrier, when it comes to Christlike Service”)

( Mosiah 2:17 ) When you are in the service of your fellow being you are in the service of your God

Life is perfect for none of us, and at times the challenges and difficulties we face may become overwhelming, causing our light to dim. However, with help from our Heavenly Father, coupled with support from others, we can regain that light which will illuminate our own path once again and provide the light others may need.
It is often difficult to be different and to stand alone in a crowd. It is natural to fear what others might think or say. Comforting are the words of the psalm: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”7 As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.
As we celebrate the 174th year of the Relief Society Program, may we be found being that Light to those around us. 
May we ask ourselves if we worry too much about being like everyone else, or do we appreciate our differences? 
In closing I would like to leave you this cute poem I found, that emphasizes this very point.

The Crayon Box That Talked
by Shane DeRolf

While walking in a toy store, the day before today,
I overheard a crayon box, with many things to say…

‘I don’t like Red!’ said Yellow and Green said, ‘Nor do I!
And no one here likes Orange, but no one knows just why.’
‘We are a box of crayons that doesn’t get along.’
Blue to all the others, ‘Something here is wrong!’

Well, I bought that box of crayons and took it home with me,
And laid out all the colors so the crayons could all see.

They watched me as I colored with Red and Blue and Green,
And Black and White and Orange and every color in between…
They watched as Green became the grass and Blue became the sky,
The Yellow sun was shining bright on White clouds drifting by,

Colors changing as they touched becoming something new.
They watched me as I colored. They watched till I was through.
And when I’d finally finished I began to walk away.
And as I did, the crayon box had something more to say…

‘I do like Red!’ said Yellow and Green said, ‘So do I!
And, Blue, you were terrific so high up in the sky!’
‘We are a box of crayons each one of us unique.
But when we get together the picture is complete'.

I am truly grateful to know that I am a daughter of God. Grateful for the opportunity to be a Light unto others,  when I can. And to be reminded to fill my lamp with oil...every single day!
Good Night dear friends!
Here are some photos to show you how great they did in decorating for the dinner tonight!

It was a wonderful night for the Dinner and so many people did a lot of work ( as you can tell by the photos )
 I wasn't feeling 100% so I didn't feel like I did my best job in speaking but  hopefully it made a difference to someone.

They even had a Rainbow Cake!

1 comment:

us said...

I love the use of the Fat Quarters as table accents! Gotta love the creativity of a sewist ♥♥♥