Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Good One-liner

Fortune cookies are popular for two reasons: First, they are tasty.  Second, they usually pack a big, important message into a small, but profound, one-liner.

One-liners can strike the fear, say with the old "It's not you, it's me." Other one-liners warm the cockles of our hearts:  "You complete me"

Other one-liners that might ring a bell: "I'm lovin' it"; "I got you, Babe"; "Use the Force"; "Tomorrow is another day!" (my favorite diet line!)

With one simple line comes so much more: memories, meaning, and feelings. It seems, the less words you use, the more powerful the message can be. I think I like them so much because one line of information seems all my brain can take sometimes! I'm not sure if it's my cranial capacity, attention span or what, but given anything much longer than one or two pages, and I'm lost (hence the short posts I write)- but give me a good one-liner, and I get it!

I think the Savior must have known that about me, and that perhaps there are many more like me out there, because he had some of the best one-liners ever uttered or written. Here are some of my favorites:

Ye are my friends (John 15:14)
Be not afraid, only believe (Mark 5:36)
I am the bread of life (John 6 48)
Have faith in God (Mark 11:22)
He that is not with me is against me (Matthew 12:30)
If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15)
Follow me (Mark 2:14)
Thy faith hath made the whole (Mark 10:52)
Weep not (Luke 13:13) (a very special one-liner for me)
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them (John 13:17)
Peace, be still (Mark 4:39)
I have overcome the world (John 16:33)

There are many more, which I might share in another post sometime. There are also a great many more found in the scriptures, spoken by those who were with him.

For with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37)
He is not here, for he is risen (Matthew 28:6)
If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole (Mark 5:28)
One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see (John 9:25)
Lord, I believe (John 9:38)

And, we can't forget, of course, Paul- the great missionary:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16)
Charity never faileth (1 Corinthians 13:8)
For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)
One Lord, one faith, one baptism (Ephesians 4:5)
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7) (OK- it's more like three lines- but I so love this one!)

There are even some gems in the Old Testament I've found:

Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your God he shall fight for you (Deut. 3:22)
Who is on the Lord's side? (Exodus 32:26)
Let there be light (Genesis 1:14)
I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (Joshua 1:5)
Intreat me not to leave thee...for wither thou goest, I will go (Ruth 1:16)
Here am I (Samuel 1:4)

I've hear the question asked, "How can I relate to people that lived thousands of years ago in a completely different culture?" "Are the scriptures truly for us today?"

The answer is unequivocally, "Yes!" A one-liner taught us that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). So is his gospel. It is the same truth, the same gospel, the same plan of Salvation, the same Savior who was "foreordained before the foundation of the world..." (1 Peter 1:20).

The knowledge that the scriptures are for me brings me great peace. I can read these wonderful one-liners, and know they are for me. I put them together, and I can hear the Savior say to me, "Michelle, ye are my friend. Have faith in God. Weep not,thy faith hath made thee whole. I am the bread of life. Be not afraid, only believe. If ye love me, keep my commandments, happy are ye if ye do them. Follow me. I have overcome the world."

In turn, others' words become my words, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. With God nothing shall be impossible. Lord, I believe." And hopefully, at the end of it all, I will be able to speak the words of Paul, with all sincerity and truthfulness, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

In the one-line words of the Savior, "Search the scriptures...they are they which testify of me." (John 5:39)

I don't know how it's done, but words, one-liners to complete books, have changed my life. I share the sentiment of a man miraculously healed by the Savior, who said, "one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." (John 9:25).

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Weaver

Have you ever seen how fabric is woven together?  Lines of yarn or thread are interwoven with additional yarn or thread to create a solid piece of material of beautiful design.  It is a fascinating process where pieces of something are intertwined,  weaved together, to make something whole.

Once in a while I hear someone say something that resonates deep within me.  It happened for me and church one day.  The topic of the meeting was "The Gift of the Spirit."

A good friend of mine spoke on the topic of the Holy Ghost. She said, "The Holy Ghost has woven every spiritual experience I have had into every fiber of my being."

She went on to paint the picture that every time the Spirit testifies of truth, offers comfort, gently guides and teaches, every time the it speaks to your soul (for it is a spiritual communication) the Spirit imprints those experiences on your heart and soul.

What a beautiful sentiment, and I find myself in total agreement with my dear friend.

C.S. Lewis once said, "Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods."

Faith is not static.  Each day it is either stronger or weaker than the day before.  It take constant effort, nourishment and care to strengthen one's faith.  In times of disaster, fear, trial and sorrow,when our faith is tried, we can hold on to what we once believe in our minds.  We can also tap into the imprints of past spiritual experiences that have been woven into our heart.  It is a safety net for the soul- a part of who we are.

When I feel the Spirit, it weaves traces of itself with me- in affect changing me for the better.   Perhaps this is one of the ways we become like our Savior.  The threads that make me are intertwined by the threads of deity. Only therein can I become more like my Savior.  Only with the woven threads can I be made whole.

What joy that brings me!

I also feel this is a comforting- and very fitting- lesson, because there are many times in my life when I feel like I am hanging on by a thread!  Now I now where to get more when I need it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I love the sunlight. I love the warmth on my shoulders and the boost to my mood it gives me. Most people are in better spirits on sunny days. There seems to be more fun to be had, more people to see and a better time doing it all. I have never met anyone that loves the sun more than my father. I have memories of him sitting close to the window so he could catch just a piece of a morning ray as a he read in the morning. He seems to know something that most of us don’t; that maybe there is something more that light and warmth that we receive from the sun. For him, the sunlight nourishes his soul.

I was sitting in church the other day and the matter of the influence of the Holy Ghost came up. Someone said, “I am grateful when the Holy Ghost is near.” Another person added, “I stay out of places the Holy Ghost won’t go.” I listened to those and other comments that were made, the general consensus being that the Holy Ghost comes and goes depending upon our choices and righteousness.

True, we have been blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost to lead us, guide us, and comfort us through our lives when we live righteously. And although no one knows exactly how the Holy Ghost works, I had a thought come into my mind that I shared. It was a different perspective than that of the Spirit being the one who moves closer and further. What if it isn’t him, but us? This is what I shared.

Imagine a house with floor to ceiling windows. On the windows are beautiful shades. Outside it is always day, and the sun is always shining without a cloud in the sky.

Sometimes my shades are open, so I can let the fullest amount of sunlight in. But sometimes, they are all drawn, and my house is dark and cold. The sunlight is always there, always shining. It is with my agency that I decide how much I allow in.

It is the same with the Holy Ghost. He is always there, always wanted to lead, guide and protect. But, it is our agency, the decisions that we make, that allow us to let him into our lives, or not. When we pursue that which is good, our shades open. When we pray with sincerity, hug our family, serve without reward, our shades open a little further.

On the contrary, when we at out of anger and selfishness, we draw the shades down. When we use the agency that God gave us to hurt others and ourselves, and go against the commandments that have been given us, we close the shades completely.

The difficulty lies in the fact that, even when the shades are completely down, we can turn a lamp on and still see in our home. We have a false sense of security that all is well. But this light is artificial. Just as we can lower the shades in our “homes”, we can live in a way that we don’t allow the Spirit in our lives. We are led by an artificial source that casts a false light in our lives. The danger then lies in the fact that, just as our physical eyes can adjust to the dark; our spiritual eyes can adjust to spiritual darkness.

Now, every morning when I open the shades on my windows, I asked myself a spiritual question, “Are my spiritual shades open?”

My dad is right, there is something more, something special and unseen in the rays of the sun.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Long Load

I watched the Iron Man Triathlon once on television. The participants swim 2.4 miles (3.86kn), bike for 112 miles (180km), and then run for 26 miles (42km). I was amazed at their stamina and strength. I wondered if I could ever meet a physical and emotional challenge of that magnitude and succeed.

A few years ago my husband and I drove 2,200 miles (3540km) in 5 days with four children ranging from 2 to 12. Among the joys of being with family were certain experiences that tested my patience and my sanity- but I survived! The experience leaves me confident that not only could I handle an Iron Man Triathlon, but I would dominate.

On day four, somewhere in between Wyoming and Idaho, we were stuck behind a semi-truck. It didn't look any different from all the other 18-wheelers we had seen on the road except for a small sticker on the back which read, "Long Load." As we pulled up along side the truck, we realized that it was not the typical 18-wheeler truck, which was a cab that pulled a large trailer, but it was a cab pulling two extra-long trailers. "Long Load" was no exaggeration! From the perspective we had behind the truck, we would have never known it was going to be longer than normal if it weren't for the sticker telling us so.

I thought of life and the "Loads" that often lay before us. Most times we have no idea how long the loads, or trials, will be. Wouldn't it be nice if our trials came with a sticker warning us, "Long Load"? If we could have gotten some hint or warning that the fun weekend getaway would turn out to be 5 days of "I want you!” and "I want my juice" and "He hit me!" *Sigh*

Unfortunately, most trials we go through don't come with a "Long Load" sticker to warn us. For the most part, we don't have the luxury of knowing how long adversity will last in our lives. But, what we do know is why we have loads to bear, trials and adversity.

The trucks that we passed on the freeway were all going towards their own destinations. Their loads, long or small, were items of worth, great and small. The only way to get their precious cargo from where it was to its destination is to bear the load. Paul taught that "we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." The only way to get to our destination, to live with God, is by carrying our loads, our trials and tribulations.

It is only through these trials, regardless of size and length that we have the opportunity to become like Him. Patience isn't patience until it is tried, faith isn't faith until is it exercised; humility isn't humility until we learn to rely on God. These loads, short and long, give us opportunities to become our best selves, to become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

So, although it would be nice to have the fore-warning of the length of my trials in the future like the "Long Load" sticker on the back of the truck, I am at peace just knowing that the trials, regardless of length, are for a purpose, my purpose - God's purpose. The loads I am called to bear in this life are for me. And with His help, I can bear them, carry them, live through them, and eventually overcome.

But………I still might put in a heavenly request for the "Long Load" stickers for future trials. It couldn’t hurt to ask, right?