Tuesday, February 9, 2016

30 Day Challenge: Day 30

Question: Should I continue to teach Zumba.
I had prayed about this before and felt like I had received the answer that God would strengthen me to be able to do it, but over the last several days I had also felt strained after doing simple physical activities and I was concerned about the health of our baby.

Answer: Yes. 2 Nephi 9:18, 21, 26 and Moroni 3:1-4
When I first opened to 2 Nephi 9. I read about people perishing and saw the words I had written previously in the sidebar "Don't do this!" and I thought "Ooh, maybe I shouldn't be teaching anymore." But then as I turned to read the highlighted verses on the opposite page, what I was reading was put into context, and my answer became clearer.
Verse 18: Speaks of the righteous saints who have believed in the Holy One of Israel and have endured the crosses of the world who will inherit blessings and joy. To me, this meant: believe and have faith in God's promise to strengthen me to be able to do my job, and magnify my physical weaknesses. And that I will be blessed and receive joy from it.
Verse 21: "He may save all men if they will hearken to His voice, for...He suffereth the pains of all men" = He will bless me if I hearken to His promise and do His will, and will take my pains (physical afflictions) upon Him (from me).
Verse 26: "The Atonement satisfieth the demands of justice...that they are delivered from that awful monster." = God's Atoning grace will magnify me, and He will deliver me from physical strain and strengthen me to do His will.
After reading these highlighted verses, I felt that the first verses I had read were a warning against not heeding God's counsel and wisdom (to continue to teach).
After reading from 2 Nephi and being a little confused at the conflicting messages I had read at first, I prayed again for Heavenly Father to let me know (either way) what I should do and to give me a positive answer (along the lines of doing His will) if it be right, and a negative answer (like death, destruction) if it was right for me to quit. Then I opened to Moroni 3:1-4.
Verse 1: ordaining teachers = I have been called to be a Zumba instructor.
Verse 2: Speaks of praying to the Father (as I just did for guidance).
Verse 3: "In the name of Jesus Christ...I ordain you to be a teacher, to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end." = God has called me to be a Zumba teacher at this time, to be a light and help to others, and I should endure, in faith, until it is time to stop teaching.
Verse 4: Speaks again of ordaining teachers, according to the "gifts and callings of God" = God has given me a talent for dance and a calling to teach Zumba.
I felt like this was the direct answer I needed and had prayed for about doing His will.

 February 10th update: Heavenly Father was good on His promise to give me the strength and energy to teach my Zumba class today, and to recover quickly from my physical strain, which is truly a miracle considering how strained I have felt after doing lesser activities this last week.

Monday, February 8, 2016

30 Day Challenge: Day 29

Question: Should we go to the temple once a month?
I had prayed previously to know if we should go more often, and was seeking to know if this was the right frequency (praying for a "positive" answer if it be right).

Answer: Yes. 2 Nephi (forgot to write the chapter :/) verse 26-32; 23
Verse 26: Speaks of consecrating that Jacob and Joseph should be priests and teachers over the land of my people = That Travis and I will be "saviors" to our ancestors (our "people") as we regularly do their temple work.
Verse 27: "We lived after the manner of happiness" = this was the positive answer that I had prayed for. I also interpreted it as that attending the temple regularly will bring us greater joy and peace (as we have been taught recently at both stake and general conference).
Verse 30: Speaks of God commanding Nephi to make other scriptures, and write things on them which will be "good in my sight, for the profit of thy people" = This felt like God counseling us to go monthly, that doing so will be good in His sight, and will be for the profit of (will benefit) us and our ancestors.
Verse 31: Speaks of Nephi being obedient and making more plates = we too, like Nephi, should be obedient to God's counsel, and attend the temple monthly.
Verse 32: Again speaks of Nephi doing God's will and writing what is pleasing to God. And says that if Nephi's people are pleased with the things of God, they will be pleased with his engravings = again, doing God's will and being obedient. Also, that if our ancestors have accepted the gospel in the Spirit world, they will be please with us doing their temple work. And if WE are pleased to do God's will, we will be willing to be obedient in this.
After reading and pondering these verses, I looked at the highlighted verses on the page:
Chapter 6 verse 5: Says "The words which I shall read are they which Isaiah spake concerning all the house of Israel" = which I interpreted as meaning that the scriptures I just read in answer to my question are those which the prophet (or God, since He speaks through His prophets) speaks concerning the house of Israel (or us, as members of the house of Israel).
Chapter 5 verse 16: speaks of Nephi building a temple. How fitting that I should read about the temple!
And Verse 23: Says "And the Lord spake it, and it was done" = the Lord has given me my answer, and I should do it.
I have faith that Heavenly Father will make it possible for us to financially afford the monthly trip to the temple and bless us for our efforts.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

30 Day Challenge: Day 28

Question: How can I still honor the fast even when I am unable to fast (being pregnant)?

Answer: Mosiah 26 & 27
Chapter 27 verse 4: "Every man should esteem (love) his neighbor as himself" = by having my heart open and full of love to others (especially my family and those at church) and serving them.
As I looked around the page some more, I saw several other highlighted verses:
Verse 7: "And the Lord did visit them and prosper them" = Be open to His Spirit (humble, teachable, ready to learn) and His blessings.
Chapter 26 verse 39: "Pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things" = to keep a prayer in my heart (pray always) and express gratitude to God for all my many blessings.
Verse 38: "Walking in all diligence, teaching the word of God in all things" = keep the commandments (including keeping the Sabbath day holy), and to pray for opportunities to testify and teach the gospel (including in primary, at home, and on facebook).
Verse 29-31: Repent and forgive others (and thus partake of the sacrament worthily). I can also pray to know what else to repent of and who else to forgive (as we were counseled to at last general conference).
Verse 26: Exercise faith in God and let my heart be open to "testimony treasure"/testimony growing opportunities.
Not surprisingly, many of these answers reflected the answers I received in my Daily Question about how I could make the Sabbath a delight.

I went to church today with an open heart, in an effort to heed the answer I had been given this morning, and it led to a beautiful experience. Being open-hearted allowed me to invite a new sister to sit by our family for Sacrament meeting, and to speak to a less-active sister who was sitting alone before the meeting began. Being able to brighten their day a little brightened mine. And as I sat down (as the meeting began), I had the thought "I wonder if my dad saw me reaching out just now, and if it made Him happy and proud (both as a bishop and a father). And then I thought, I wonder if it made my Heavenly Father happy and proud too? I got emotional as I realized that it did--that my actions DID please Him. And I so dearly want to please Him and do His will.

Friday, February 5, 2016

30 Day Challenge: Day 26

Question: As I was reading Alma 32 in preparation for my lesson yesterday, I was curious about verse 23, which talks about how angels impart God's word to men, women, and children (as I had always understood us as being spoken to through the Spirit). So my question today was, how do angels do that?

Answer: Joel 3:16 and 2:28-29
My interpretation:
Verse 16 says" The Lord shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake."
And Verses 28-29 says "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit." (which is a similar message to that in Alma 32:23)
So, by the command and power of God (v.16), and through His Spirit (the whisperings of the Holy Ghost) (v.28-29), do angels speak to us.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

30 Day Challenge: Day 23

Question: What should I tell Helen's daughter Diane to convince her to let us do Helen's temple work?
My paternal grandfather (Roger Reed) had 3 marriages, the first to my dad's mother (Bernice Leach), and the last to Helen Doss, who he was married to for most of my life. Helen passed away over a year ago, and my heart has been touched the last two stake conferences to be proactive in performing her temple ordinances. The only catch is that we need permission from a close family member to do her work, and I have never (to my memory) spoken with a member of her family. However, my dad suggested the name of one of Helen's daughters (Diane) that they have had minimal contact with and gave me her telephone number, and I determined that I would contact her. But, never having had a conversation like this before, I decided to make how to approach this with Diane my question for the day.
Answer: 1 Ne 10:9-14
v.9-10--speaks of Christ being baptized by water, and that He should take away the sins of the world = Tell Diane that we believe that we are to follow Christ's example and to be baptized by immersion as He was (to wash away our sins and make us perfect as He is).
v.11--"Speak concerning the gospel" = Tell her that we believe that in order to return to God's presence, we must make special promises, or covenants, with God to metaphorically "unlock" the gate to heaven and let us enter.
"And after He had been slain He should rise form the dead, and should make himself manifest, by the Holy Ghost, unto the Gentiles." =  tell her that we believe that God loves each of us so much that after Christ died, He set up missionary work in heaven, to teach the gospel to those (in spirit prison) who didn't have the opportunity to hear and accept the gospel on earth. And that He has had temples built today so that we can vicariously make covenants with God and perform sacred ordinances for those who have died, so our beloved dead can also unlock the gate into heaven.
v.13--tell her that we believe that Heavenly Father dearly loves Helen and want her to be "led into the land of promise" (to be able to live with Him in heaven).
v.14--Tell her that we believe that Helen has heard the gospel in the spirit world (spirit prison) ("come to the knowledge of the true Messiah") and that she wants to be baptized and make those promises with God so she can return to live with Him.
(This answer reminded me of the speaker who had inspired me this last stake conference to do temple work for Helen, who had shared her experience asking her father for permission, and how she had explained to him that she believed their loved ones were in spirit prison and she felt the need to set them free.)

I then received some more guidance as I was reading about a woman's open-heart experience from "A Heart Like His this afternoon: "I began to pray before contacting her. I prayed about my heart, and I tried to be aware of it. I wanted the Lord to help me open my heart, to fill me with His love so that it would overflow to her. I prayed to see her as the Lord sees her." I realized as I read this that I should do this with Diane (and also with my kids, so I can see and love them as God does).

And as I re-read my goal list this morning, I felt more of that love as I was reminded that "my joy is found in my family and my covenants, and in helping others make and keep their covenants." My joy is found in helping my deceased ancestors, like Helen, come unto Christ.
I hope that my heart can be full of love for Helen and Diane as I speak with her, that Diane can feel of that love, and that her heart can be softened to grant me permission to do Helen's work, so Helen can be sealed to my Grandpa Roger and to the rest of our family eternally.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Out of the mouth of babes

Cambree has said the cutest things today, and I wanted to make sure to record them.
Bethany often loves to give Cambree and Kaylee a hug at breakfast. This morning, after getting a hug, Cambree leaned into Bethany and give her a hug back then said "I love you Bethany," then turned her head and gave her a kiss. She did this several times! It was SO sweet!
Then after lunch, Kaylee called to her several times (since Kaylee was still eating and Cambree had already gotten down). After a minute, Cambree walked into the room and said "Waz up? Waz up? and then jabbered back and forth with Kaylee for a minute." It was so funny!
Then later in the morning, after she finished putting on some new Frozen sandals, she said to herself "Looking good!" It was too cute!
And then as I was walking out of her and Kaylee's room after tucking them in for a nap, she called to me "Bye bye, see ya, have a good day!"
I sure love my funny, sweet girl!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

30 Day Challenge: Day 21

Question: How can I better make the Sabbath a delight?
Answer: 3 Nephi 4:9-10

Interpretation:
*"Because of their joy" = by looking forward to the Sabbath with joyful anticipation (which I am able to do when I am worthy and prepared for the Sacrament and my lesson, see below).
*"Fear their God" = by letting my actions on Sunday be a "sign unto God" of my love for and obedience to Him.
*"They were prepared" = by being physically and spiritually prepared each week (including having my singing time lesson prepared early in the week and reviewed on Saturday night, so I don't need to review it Sunday morning and can instead spend the time before church in scripture study or spending time with my family. Also, repenting nightly so I am spiritually ready and worthy to partake of the sacrament. And having already read the lesson for Relief Society and being ready to participate (as I have made it a goal this year to do).)
*"Fear their God and supplicate Him for protection...in the strength of the Lord they did receive Him" = not fearing my performance in my calling, but trusting in God to help and strengthen me and to make me successful (as I am prepared, knowing I am striving to do His will, so He will bless me).

Verses 31 and 33 were also previous highlighted and also spoke of :
*joyfully recognizing God's goodness and expressing gratitude to Him = by thanking Him for His help with my lessons each week, as well as for my other many blessings, and
*repentance = by being prepared physically and spiritually, and
*humility = by being teachable, and having an open heart, to learn and feel the Spirit at church.