11 December 2014

Singing Praises Again




When my daughter was in the hospital, The Lord taught me some beautiful things about getting through hard times. And, as happens in this life, hard times have a way of coming for more than one visit. This time, as I was talking to my sister, Heidelbeere, we were getting a bit bogged down, and I suddenly remembered. It went like this:

"Remember the Jaredites, sloshing around in the bottom of those ships? With the poo and the bees?"


"What a pleasant picture you're painting." She had no idea where I was going with it. I was smiling more already.

"I know, right? Do you remember what they were doing?"

"No."

"Singing praises. The whole time. We need to find something to praise."

So we did. We counted blessings. And I have been continuing to do it off and on all morning. This pretty much sums it up. I love this music anyway, but it's especially moving today.




Gloria. Gloria in excelsis Deo. 

Glory to God in the highest!

 Christ already fixed it. He already fixed it, before our hurt ever happened. And we can benefit from it as soon as we will let Him give us His gift.

I spent some time thinking about forgiveness today. It's hard to forgive others; it's hard to forgive ourselves. But what a gift! He makes it possible. That's why we sing. That's why we shouted for joy!



Here are some of the things I was reminded of today, wandering Pinterest, and thinking about forgiveness.


It's true. Hurting people hurt others - often without really even meaning to do it. Christ's love is the cure. "Mary, did you know?" Her sweet Baby Boy is the reason that forgiveness is meaningful.What a beautiful, healing gift He has given us!

I wrestled with this on and off all day. I've been feeling hurt - and I know that what I'm feeling can't hold a candle to what some of my very favorite people are feeling, and that hurts too. But I kept pinning, kept thinking about forgiveness.

Eventually, I came to this one, and for whatever reason, I clicked through and read the story. I never do that with these inspirational quotes. But I'm glad I did with this one. It's worth reading. I'll wait.




I've done some pretty thoughtless things. Some, not too unlike the thing that's hurting today. The Lord, in His mercy, has been working with me to let go of the blame and guilt I still feel over it... 20 years later... and He took the opportunity to teach me some more today.




 I needed to hear that. I was praying about it, a little later on, and apologizing. Again. "I'm sorry for being dumb-- " The Spirit stopped me. I wasn't supposed to say that. He gave me another word. "I'm sorry for being young." For not knowing what I didn't know before I learned it. And all the sudden, it was clear that I'd been holding myself to an absolutely impossible standard. And it made it easier to extend grace to myself -- and to others. My mistakes are not excusable. But they are human. I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I have a new appreciation for the hurt I dealt anyway. But the Lord fixed it. He fixed me, and He fixed the hearts I hurt. He can do it again - He'd like to.





By the end of the day, I was feeling much better. And I'd been able help to do and say things that started to bring healing to the situation that made us look for reasons to sing praises in the first place.



It's not just couples. It's relationships. And it doesn't have to be a hurt that grows out of a fight. But what happens after, that's what defines the future. It's the application of Grace that makes you grow stronger together. And there is absolutely no hurt too big for Christ. His Grace is sufficient. Sufficient for all hurts.

And that is something worth singing praises about!

This one is one of my favorites. Had us dancing all over the kitchen, and singing praises at the top of our lungs. 



Gloria in excelsis Deo. 

26 November 2014

Learning Football

I'm so clueless about football. And I've been pretty happy that way all my life. I've been to a few football games. ("What happened? Is that good?") I went to a Super Bowl Party once. Watching the fans at the party was waaaay more entertaining than watching the game itself. And the food was tasty.

But Hero is a Cub Scout now. And he wants beltloops. All of them. Including football. So we're learning some stuff about football.










After that, we found a game, and he watched part of it. Said he really enjoyed it. Gotta say, the sound of football is just an odd one to have in the house.


25 November 2014

Primary Sources

Hero is getting a bit older, and I've started feeling like it's time for him to start to have more exposure to primary sources. There is so much value in working with primary sources, and forming  your opinions based on what the participants, themselves, have to say about it. We're working our way through the events that lead to the American Revolution, and there's so much material that we could look at. This afternoon, Story of the World took us on a whirlwind tour of the various Acts that lead up to the rebellion, and ended with a couple lines from Patrick Henry's famous, "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. I thought that seemed like a likely candidate for a closer look, so we went and found a recording. I suppose that it's still not, strictly speaking, a primary source, since it's an excerpt from a play, but it's pretty good, and I thought that this would be easier to start him off on that a big block of text.



If I'm feeling ambitious, maybe we'll do it again, more slowly, with the block of text tomorrow, and see how much we can get through.

The Season's First...

...snowman.


He's a little guy, only a couple inches. Hero took a break from shoveling while he was helping the Daddy with the sidewalks this morning, and built this cute little guy. 


He's on our front porch, right where he can make me smile when I look out the living room window. 

I love it. 





17 November 2014

Mormon Bible Study: Psalm 1


Mormon Bible Study: The First Psalm

Psalms 1 is so short, I thought at first that it would be a quick one to study. Silly me. There's some good stuff in there!

The first thing that jumped out at me was the tree imagery in verse 3:


And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.


I love this imagery of the follower of Christ as a fruitful tree. It's a beautiful image, but it's interesting too, because as you follow this idea of a tree through the scriptures it can be difficult to pick apart the parts that are talking about the followers of Christ as a tree, and the spots where this tree imagery is dealing with the Tree of Life, and that offers some very interesting Food For Thought. I added this scripture chain, of the verses that I found these ideas in this time around:

Psalms 1:2-3
Alma 32:41-43
Jeremiah 17:7-8
Isaiah 5:7
Romans 15:4
Jacob 5:12

Brother Brigham referenced Psalms 5:1 when he said this (JoD 2:258):

Psalm 1: The ungodly and the sinners.

I thought this was intriguing, so I started looking through the Topical Guide, at things relating to ungodliness, and found the following:

Psalms 1:5
1 Peter 4:18
Mosiah 5:2
Alma 5:26
Ether 12:27
1 Timothy 1:9-10, 14

The 1st Psalm gives us the key to the difference between the righteous and the ungodly: their attitude toward the scriptures. It is the response to the words of the prophets that separates them. The righteous delight in the law of the Lord. It brings them satisfaction. Pleasure. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness..."


Psalms 1: denying ourselves ungodly behavior

And finally, while perusing this post from Bite-size Bible Study, I found this insightful comment:


"A word about the promise "whatever they do prospers." Remember that everything Joseph did prospered because God was with him, but that didn't mean he was always rich or comfortable. God doesn't promise His children an easy road, but He does promise to prosper His purposes in our lives.


Lots to think about in only 6 verses!


12 November 2014

When I Am Big

Dragon(4): When I am big, there aren't going to be any time outs.

Mom: Ok. When you are big, and the Daddy, I'll remind you of that.

My guess is, he'll figure out the advantages time outs offer quickly enough, when he is big!

08 November 2014

Psalms: The Importance of Music

Mormon Bible Study: come study with us

So, why Psalms? Well, for one thing, it's not so much that it's too intimidating. It's just one book. And it's music. I love music. There's some really lovely hymns that are psalms set to music.




Most of  us are familiar with The Lord is My Shepherd, a setting of the 23rd Psalm, but when I looked at the back of the hymnal, there are more than 75 hymns that reference the Psalms. I had no idea the Psalms were so influential in our music! Just looking through those songs and their Psalms could be a fruitful study all on its own. Music is, after all, very good for us, even something that we are instructed to participate in: 


...but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
-Ephesians 5:18-19



However, "psalm" isn't a word that you typically see, outside of the scriptures. I found myself wondering, "What is a psalm, as distinct from a hymn or song?" At the suggestion of a friend of mine, I turned to the 1828 Webster's Dictionary. She told me that she likes to use that one because, it being so old, that language is closer to the language used in the King James, and it gives her an extra window into the older style of writing in the Bible. Webster said this:


PSALM, n. s`am. [L. psalmus; Gr. to touch or beat, to sing.]

A sacred song or hymn; a song composed on a divine subject and in praise of God. The most remarkable psalms are those composed by David and other Jewish saints, a collection of one hundred and fifty of which constitutes a canonical book of the Old Testament, called Psalms, or the book of Psalms. The word is also applied to sacred songs composed by modern poets, being versifications of the scriptural psalms, or of these with other parts of Scripture, composed for the use of churches; as the Psalms of Tate and Brady, of Watts, &c.



A song about the divine, particularly in praise of God. In fact, the Psalms are called Tehillim or "Praises" in Hebrew*. That, as distinct from a hymn, which seems to refer more to the music itself:


HYMN, n. hym. [L. hymnus; Eng. hum.]

A song or ode in honor of God, and among pagans, in honor of some deity. A hymn among christians is a short poem,composed for religious service, or a song of joy and praise to God. The word primarily expresses the tune,but it is used for the ode or poem.

And when the had sung a hymn, they went out to the mount of Olives. Matt.26.



In any case, the Lord's approval of music is clear, and the scriptures admonish us to use music in a variety of ways, including as a teaching tool:


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
-Colossians 3:16



And as a way of expressing our happiness:


Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
-James 5:13



Modern prophets and apostles have commented on the importance of music as well. From the First Presidency Preface to the LDS Hymnal:


Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns. Hymns move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning, and inspire us to endure to the end. We hope to see an increase of hymn singing in our congregations. We encourage all members, whether musically inclined or not, to join with us in singing the hymns. ... Music has boundless powers for moving families toward greater spirituality and devotion tot he gospel. Latter-day Saints should fill their homes with the sound of worthy music. ... Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones. ...Brothers and Sisters, let us use hymns to invite the Spirit of the Lord into our congregations, our homes, and our personal lives. Let us memorize and ponder them, recite and sing them, and partake of their spiritual nourishment. Know that the song of the righteous is a prayer unto our Father in Heaven, "and it shall be answered with a blessing upon [your] heads."


Through the miracle of sacred music, the Spirit of the Lord descended upon us...
October 1994 Conference




Make wholesome music of all kinds a part of your life. Then learn what sacred music has to do with revelation.
October 1994 Conference



 

06 November 2014

Mormon Bible Study: Psalms

I've been feeling the need to be more intentional about my Bible study. I'm pretty good with the Book of Mormon, and while I'm not horrible with the Bible, I don't feel like my knowledge of the Good Book is where it should be, either. So I've been thinking about what to do, and it seemed like the Spirit was saying, "Start a Bible study group." So that's what I did. And people have been joining. We're all going to have to learn together, because I really don't know what I'm doing. I also don't know of any LDS-specific Bible study guides. You can find tons of them online, produced by our Protestant brothers and sisters, but I haven't found any that are geared toward the Mormon understanding of scripture. So, for now at least, we're trying out a promising looking study guide that deals with the Book of Psalms. I don't know how well it's going to work, given the doctrinal differences, but I've always wanted to know more about the Psalms. So many of them are so lovely.

Mormon Bible Study: The Book of Psalms


So anyway. Kids are in bed, the house is all quiet. It's a lovely time to grab my scriptures for a bit before I sneak in some Minecraft and then head to bed. Not really expecting much, just planning to read some of the KJV versions of the verses there at the top, since I've found that it's pretty common for other translations to have some pretty significant meaning differences, and they're using the NIV. I started with the first one.


For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
-Romans 15:4




Oi. It's Paul. Paul is always one that I struggle with. His style seems to just bounce right off me, rather than sink in. Off to visit scriptures.byu.edu. That site always helps me.


Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. -Dieter F. Uchtdorf


Ok. Hope. That's not what I was expecting to read about. Let's see who else has used this verse.


Hope feasts on the words of Christ, “through patience and comfort of the scriptures,” “written for our learning” (Rom. 15:4), and bolstered by “having all these witnesses” (Jacob 4:6; see also 2 Ne. 31:20).
-Neal A. Maxwell, April 2001 Conference



Hope. This verse is about hope. The scriptures bring hope.

Yes.
Yes, I guess they do. That's very comforting.

In fact, the whole talk from President Uchtdorf is fantastic. It's the one where he tells the story of his refugee mother loosing the train with her four children on it while she was out looking for food on a dark night during World War II.  I can't even imagine. But he turns that story into a story of hope. It's beautiful.




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