Thursday, August 30, 2012

Flashback #14: From My Personal Study...

October 5, 2011

I have been trying more diligently to read something from the Book of Mormon every day as a missionary. In the  recent weeks I have been falling short because I have been studying from the Old Testament, but especially after the council received in General Conference, I will repent and continue to study from its pages each day.
 This picture was taken about 3 weeks ago downtown.

This morning I was reading in the book of Alma when he is giving council to his sons in the chapter where he tells the story of his miraculous conversion, when he was "in the gall of bitterness" and then his "soul was filled with joy" (36:18,20). If you go just a little bit farther, I read more of his words and powerful testimony to his son Helaman.

    "And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, and God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.
    "And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory; yea, and I will praise him forever" (36:27-28)

   I just thought that was beautifully said. Putting ALL your trust in the Lord is hard, but dear friends, where is our faith? Have not the prophets and apostles testified to us time and time again that those who do put their trust in God and follow his commandments with all the energy and capacity that we have, that we will be blessed? 

Yikes. I think that one lesson I have learned is how truly difficult that could be. Well, at least for me it has been. I suppose it's possible that everyone else in the world has perfect trust in the Lord except me. But not likely.

I think it's important to remember that the promise is that we will be blessed. I do know that is true! I also think it's important to remember that we may not be blessed the way we want to be. Think of Abraham- do you think he was a blessed man? The Lord promised to bless him with posterity beyond the sands of the sea. Did Abraham have trials? Um, yes. His is one of the most famous trials of all- being asked of God to sacrifice his son Isaac. What about the Book of Mormon? Amulek. I love that man. He is my Book of Mormon hero, by the way. He was SURELY blessed. I mean, he had a prophet for a mission companion! He was also a successful man, and leaving behind the things of the world, he went to preach the gospel. And oh man, there were trials.

Dear friends, rarely will our lives be filled with black and white trials and blessing times. They will be mixed together. The Lord's promises still stand true, that through our trials he will bless us, and in many times the trials will become strengths. So trust Him. It will happen.

Have you counted your blessings today? I hope so.

Have an action-packed day!
Sister Franson

Friday, August 17, 2012

Flashback #13: Your Gift From God

I have no idea when I wrote this post or where I was serving, but it's short, and still kind of ties into what I want to share with you today.

I know that in prayer, we are not asked to speak "vain repetitions", but one thing that I always pray for is that we can listen, be receptive, and have the courage to act upon what God is trying to teach us.

Some people have this perception that anger, sarcasm,...

(finishing this thought today, August 17, 2012)... or other negative behaviors show that someone has authority or intelligence. There are people in the media all over who criticize, yell about, and put down other people and their ideas, and many other people feed into that anger and as a result... well, without me going into detail, suffice it to say that it is just ugly.

I guess that I am choosing to post this today because even as a missionary, I've been seeing so many things that are negative and put down others, and I suppose that I wish that more people would remember who they are, and remember this simple gift that God has blessed them with:

"For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God." Moroni chapter 7 verse 16

So, dear friends, after God has given us so great a gift to know good, should we not use it? Should we not merely acknowledge that we have that gift and that power, and actually seek to post and say good things, and eliminate the negative?

Heavenly Father doesn't give us spiritual gifts so we can throw them by the wayside. My invitation to you is to re-evaluate if you need to the things you have said or re-posted or re-pinned or whatever you may have said about someone. Feed the positive thoughts, and clear away the negative. The purpose for our Savior is so that we can one day be made pure. Isn't that our goal? I think that now is the best time to start practicing.

My dear friends, as always,
Have an action-packed day!
Love, Sister Franson

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Flashback #12: Hymntime

This one comes from early September of last year...

 Time for a Hymn Spotlight!

 One of my newly found favorite LDS hymns is called Dear to the Hear of the Shepherd. (A copy of the hymn- #221- can be found here.)The Mormon Tabernacle Choir does a beautiful arrangement of this song. It reminds me so much of my calling not only as a missionary but as one who knows Christ. One of His many titles is the Master Shepherd and we are His sheep. The hymn talks about how Christ will gather His sheep:

Out in the desert they wander,
Hungry and helpless and cold; 
Off to the rescue He hastens, 
Bringing them back to the fold.

I love the illustration of this  found in Luke chapter 15, "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, dot not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 
"And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders rejoicing."

 Sometimes we are the obedient "ninety and nine", and sometimes we are the lost "one". However, no matter where we are in life, we all need the help of the Master Shepherd. Sometimes, the help we need from Him is for us to gather His sheep with Him. Sometimes it is challenging. It can be VERY challenging, but we can't give up. I recently read an article from the church Ensign entitled Rescuing Lost Lambs. My dear friends, it is our responsibility, it is OUR calling, to help gather the lost sheep.

Hark! He is earnestly calling, 
Tenderly pleading today:
"Will you not seek for my lost ones, 
Off from my shelter astray?"

... And the song ends with us saying to our Savior, "Yes, blessed Master, we will!"

So, have you done something to uplift a friend? A family member? Yourself? If you haven't seized the chance today, that's your assignment.

Make it an action-packed day!
-Sister Franson