Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A week walking with Christ Day 7

Day 7

During the past 7 days have I developed a greater love for my Savior and myself by honestly answering the daily questions? Have I felt the love of my Heavenly Father and my Savior? Do I understand just a little better the great sacrifice that my Savior made for me? Can I now take my understanding of that great sacrifice and in turn love others just a little bit more?

Doctrine & Covenants 45:51-52
            And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?
            Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.

Adapted from “He Took my Whipping For Me,” published by the Christian Workers’ Tract League of Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

“In a southern community during the depression, a teacher was hired for the one-room, one-class school. There were students from seven to fourteen years of age in the class. They ranged from the second grade to the eighth grade level. That year the students had driven four teachers out of the class. The school board asked the new teacher to sign a contract to assure he would stay until the end of the year. The teacher replied, “Of course I will sign. I intend to stay.” And so, he signed the contract.

The first day in class he stood before the students. They measured him and he measured them. Finally he broke the silence and said, “I am your new teacher. I am going to stay until the end of the year. If we’re going to have a good learning experience in this class it will be necessary to have some rules. What do you think the rules of conduct should be for our class?”

It was very quiet and then one student said, “Well, you shouldn’t talk in class.” He wrote, “No talking” on the chalkboard. “What other rules?” he asked. Someone else suggested that the students should arrive on time. He wrote “punctuality” on the chalkboard as the second rule. Someone else suggested that there should be a rule against cheating. He wrote it down. After a few minutes they had thirteen or fourteen different rules of conduct for the class.

Then the teacher said, “Rules are of no value unless you live them. We ought to affix a punishment to each rule for whenever it is broken. How many lashes (with a small switch) for each of the rules?” Someone commented that punctuality wasn’t all that serious because it only affected the one who was late so it was decided that two lashes ought to be enough. The teacher wrote down two lashes next to “punctuality.”

“What about talking in class?” “Well,” one student said, “that one is more serious because it disrupts the whole class. How about seven lashes?” They all felt that was the worst thing they could do so they gave cheating a punishment of ten lashes. Each of the other rules was also given a “just” punishment.

The teacher then said, “We have listed the rules down this side of the board and we have determined a punishment for the violation of each rule in this column. Now rules are not worth much, even with a prescribed punishment, unless you have an enforcer to enforce the rules. I can administer the punishment but you must elect someone from this class to be the enforcer.” The students quickly looked around the room and saw the class “bully” who was almost fourteen, oversized, and pushed the younger kids around, and was probably the toughest kid in class. He was elected. Now they had rules, punishment, and an enforcer.

Everything went well for the first few days. Then one day, one of the seven-year-old boys leaned over and started talking with his neighbor. The bully jumped from his sear, went down the aisle, picked the young boy up by his shoulders, carried him down the aisle, and planted him right in front of the teacher.

The teacher asked the boy if he was present on the day they’d decided what the rules of conduct should be. With tears in his eyes, the boy nodded that he had been present. “And you agreed with the punishment if the rules were broken?” “Yes, sir,” he replied, the tears coming more quickly. “Then take off your coat and receive the seven lashes.” The tears came down even faster and the little boy said, “Please sir, don’t make me do that.” The teacher answered,  “Everyone in the class is waiting to see if I punish you for breaking the rule. If I do not punish you, then the rules will mean nothing. We will have chaos in this class. Take off your coat.”

The boy continued to cry and a second time he pleaded, “Please, don’t make me take off my coat.” The teacher, now becoming impatient, said, “This is going to hurt me as much as you. Take off your coat and bend over the desk.”

Then the boy said, “Sir, I don’t mind the punishment, but I only have one shirt and it’s home in the laundry. If I take off my coat everyone will see I do not have a shirt on and they will laugh at me. I don’t mind the punishment, but I couldn’t bear the embarrassment.”

Now there was a dilemma for the teacher. He knew something no one else knew. He wanted to extend mercy. He also knew that every student was watching to see if he would punish the boy. The moments passed on.

Then suddenly from the back of the room, the bully came forward, took the little boy by the hand, ushered him back to his seat, then came forward, took off his coat, and received seven lashes for the little boy.

Challenge: Pray for a missionary experience. Read Matthew 24:14; 28:19; and Doctrine and Covenants 88:81. Invite a friend who is not a member of the Church or one who is less active to go with you to a Church meeting or activity. Introduce your friend to others, and make sure he or she is involved. Share your testimony of the gospel, and invite him or her to come again.

Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, that through his mercy and his willingness to satisfy the demands of justice we are his, paid for with a price. May we always remember at this Easter Season the great sacrifice made in our behalf. May we try just a little harder to walk each day with our Savior and to become more like Him. We wish you the best Easter ever!

A week walking with Christ Day 6

Day 6

Do I see others and myself as Heavenly Father sees us? Do my thoughts and actions affect my attitude? Am I living my life so that those who know me but don’t know the Savior will want to know Him?

Doctrine and Covenants 18:10
          “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin, But held it up with a smile:
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried, “Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar”; then, “Two!” “Only two? Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice; Going for three—” But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?” And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, And going, and gone!” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not quite understand
What changed its worth.” Swift came the reply: “The touch of a master’s hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune, And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine, A game—and he travels on.
He’s “going” once, and “going” twice, He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought By the touch of the Master’s hand.

Myra Brooks Welch

Challenge: Individual Worth What do you think individual worth means? Do you believe you are of value? If you don't believe that then this challenge should really help you. You do matter. Heavenly Father sent you here on this earth didn't he? Why would he have done that if it didn't matter? If someone tells you that you are worthless, don't listen to them. What do they know? Heavenly Father knows that you have value and that is all that matters. Even if you do have a high self-esteem this challenge can still help you. It is good to remind yourself of your individual worth every once in a while.

A week walking with Christ Day 5

Day 5

Do I look to the Savior as an example of how I should treat others? Am I too busy hurried, and involved with worldly matters that I neglect what is really important? Am I making a difference in the lives of those around me?

Doctrine and Covenants 58:27-28
            “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
            “For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.”

Making A Difference

One day a man was walking along the beach upon which hundreds of starfish had been washed up and now lay stranded on the sand. As he continued walking, he noticed a young boy in the distance, picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. He approached the boy, and asked, “What are you doing?”

The boy replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. They need to be in the water, if I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.
Then he looked up, smiled at the man, and said:

“I made a difference to that one.”

From “Walking the Talk Together”

Challenge: Think of ways a woman could apply this scripture and story in her family. Develop a pattern of service in your life by choosing a family member you can help. Serve that person for at least a month. Record in your journal your actions and feelings about how this improved your relationship with that person.

A week walking with Christ Day 4

Day 4

How can I gain knowledge of Jesus Christ? Do I take the time to read my scriptures each day? Do I take the time to pray? In all my decisions today will I ask, “What would Christ do?”

Doctrine and Covenants 131:6
         “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.”

Dear Friend,

I just had to send you a note to tell you how much I love you and care about you. I saw you yesterday as you were walking with your friends. I waited all day hoping you would want to talk with me, also. It hurt me that you didn’t talk to me, but I still love you because I am your friend. I saw you fall asleep last night, and I longed to touch your brow. So I spilled moonlight on your pillow and your face. Again I waited, wanting to rush down so that we could talk. I have so many gifts for you, but you awakened late the next day and rushed off. My tears were in the rain.

Today I noticed you looked sad, and upset. It makes my heart ache because I understand. My friends let me down and hurt me so many times too. But, I love you. Oh, if only you would listen to me. I really love you. I try to tell you in the blue sky and in the green grass I whisper in the leaves on the trees, and breathe it in the color of the flowers. I shout it to you in the mountain streams and give the birds love songs to sing, clothe you in warm sunshine and perfume the air with nature scents. My love for you is deeper than the oceans and bigger than the biggest want or need in your heart.

If you only knew how much I want to help you. I want you to meet our Father. He wants to help you, too. Just call me, ask me, and talk with me. Please, please don’t forget me. I have so much to share with you. But, I wont hassle you any further. You are free to call me. It’s up to you. I’ll wait because I love you.

Your Brother,
Jesus Christ

Challenge: Think about why you need to gain knowledge and understanding about how to apply gospel principles to your present and future home and family life. Write in your journal what you have learned about knowledge, and discuss it with a family member.

A week walking with Christ Day 3

Day 3

Do I understand What Christ did for me? Do I believe that I am important enough for Him to love me and give all He has for me? Do I love myself enough to accept who I am even when others might not see the beauty that is hidden inside?

John 3:16
            “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The Son

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. They owned priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet and many others adorned the walls and rooms of the family estate. The elderly man had lost his wife earlier in life, so his son was his whole world. They traveled the world attending art shows and auctions together. The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction, as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son’s trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors from around the world. It was a joint endeavor that brought them very close.

But things soon changed for the young man as our country went to war. War engulfed our nation; the son was drafted, and left to serve his country. The father anxiously waited day after day to hear from his son after he was shipped overseas to the war front, but a letter never came.  After a period of some weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The old man anxiously awaited more news, heartbroken and fearful that he would never see his son again.

Within days, after receiving the telegram, there came a knock at his front door. As he opened the door, there stood a soldier at attention. The soldier informed him that his worse fear was now confirmed. While under heavy enemy fire, his beloved son had rescued a fellow soldier that was wounded, pulling him out of harms way trying to get him to safety. He was trying to reach a medic to care for the man’s wounds. But in risking his life to save the man, he had exposed himself to heavy enemy fire. Even though he was able to get the wounded soldier to safety, the wounds he received as a result were too severe for him to survive, and he had died, shot through the heart. The old man stood in silence for a moment, he felt his body go limp, his heart sank in his chest, and then he slowly closed the door.

Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season – a season that he and his son had so looked forward to – would visit his house no longer.

On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, he walked by all the masterpieces by Picasso, Van Gogh, and Monet on the walls in the hallway. They only reminded him that his son was not coming home, and they would never share their love of the arts together again. As he opened the door, another soldier greeted him. This soldier had a large package in his hand. He introduced himself to the man by saying, “Sir, I was a friend of your son. I was severely wounded in battle, I was trapped. Your son risking his own life came and rescued me. If not for him I would have perished. I am the one he was rescuing when he died. The old man stood, weak in the knees, tears in his eyes and looked at the young man, and asked him, “So you knew my son”? “Yes” indicated the soldier, “I knew him well”.

The soldier then said to the broken-hearted father, “May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you” “Yes, yes, please come in“, said the old man…As the two began to talk, the soldier told the old man how his son would always tell stories to all of his friends of he and his father’s love of fine art. “I’m definitely not a great artist,” said the soldier, as he handed the old man the package, but I painted this myself and I want you to have it”. As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to show a portrait of the scene of the old man’s son, carrying the wounded soldier, pulling him to safety during the heat of the battle. The battle in which he had lost his life. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, or that of even a decent artist, the painting featured the young man’s face and courage during the battle in striking detail.

Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace.

A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace. He pushed aside hundreds of thousands of dollars of paintings, and put the picture of his son in their place. And then the man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given.

During the days and weeks that followed, the old man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, his boy’s life would live on because of the lives he had touched. He would sit and watch the scene where his son gave his life in sacrifice to save another.

As time passed, more and more stories came to his attention, as many other soldiers contacted him and told him that his son had rescued them also and carried them to safety when they were wounded. The stories of dozens of wounded soldiers saved by his courage came to light before that fatal moment when a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son’s gallantry continued to reach him, the old man’s fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease the grief and heartache he had suffered.

The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the world pay dearly for and collectors clamored for. He told his friends and neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.

The following spring, the old man became ill and passed way. With the collectors passing, and his only son dead, the press released a story that his precious art collection, worth many tens of millions of dollars would be sold at auction. The art world was excited in anticipation. According to the will of the old man, all the art works would be auctioned on Christmas day, the day he had received his greatest gift, the gift of the painting from the once wounded soldier that had been saved by his son. The day soon arrived, and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular and expensive paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would claim, “I have the world’s greatest painting”, or “I have the greatest collection of paintings in the world.”
The auction began with a painting titled simply “The Son”. It was a painting that was not on any museum’s list, or on the list that any of the buyers had. It was the painting of the old man’s son. Those in attendance looked around in bewilderment, what kind of joke is this they wondered. This painting is obviously of no value, it is garbage, they said among themselves. It is of poor quality, very amateur to say the least. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100 for this painting?” he asked.

Minutes passed. No one spoke. From all around the room of the shouts came, “Who cares about that painting, it is not even a decent painting, it is of very poor quality, by an unknown artist, and it has no value whatsoever. It is not worth anything. It’s just a picture of his son at war. Let’s forget it and go on to the good stuff, no one here is interested in that.  More voices echoed in agreement. “No, we have to sell this one first,” replied the auctioneer. The auction resumed.

“Now, who will bid on this picture said the auctioneer?” Over and over he repeated the same phrase, “Who will bid on this picture”? Finally, sitting on the back row at the far end of the room the gardener of the old man stood up and spoke. Looking first around the room at all the glaring eyes, and then at the auctioneer he said, “I am not a rich man, and I do not have much to offer”. “The father was a friend of mine, and I knew the boy”. I would love to have it, if no one else wants it, it would mean so very much to me. But I only have ten dollars,” “Will you take ten dollars for the painting, I’m sorry, that’s all I have.

“I have ten dollars, will anyone go higher?” barked the auctioneer. After more silence, the auctioneer said again, “I have ten dollars, will anyone go higher?” No one else bid on the painting. “Going once, going twice, sold for ten dollars to the gentleman in the back row; please see the cashier said the auctioneer.” The gavel fell.

Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, “Now we can get on with it and we can bid on these treasures of art.

The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over. Stunned disbelief at first quieted the room. Then from all around the room there was yelling and confusion. They were all saying, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a picture of some old guy’s son. What is going on here? What about all the paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and Rembrandt? There are millions and millions of dollars of art here! We demand that you explain what’s going on here!”

The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes The Son… gets it all.”

Challenge: Do all you can to build others and make them feel of worth. Every day for two weeks notice the worthwhile qualities and attributes of others. Acknowledge them verbally or in writing. In your journal write what you have learned about the worth of individuals and how your own confidence grows when you build others.