Today we are happy to announce that Emilie had her very special baby blessing today, and Emilie is now on the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was a very sacred and special day for us, and we all were so very excited! Most of Scott's family were able to attend yesterday, which is why we postponed the blessing for so long. One of the brethren had peeked at her right before the prayer started and saw that she was smiling up, happy and content in the hands of her dad (Scott), grandfather, her uncle Derek, the bishopric and home teacher. It was an exciting moment as she was named and blessed in front of our small branch/church! Despite the horrible audio recording, that was totally inaudible, but passible to transcribe, I was able to write down the blessing! I will not post the blessing on here, but will send them to close family and friends who request it, via email. Afterward at church, we gathered in the beautiful sun outside, (yes it was sunny and warm despite winter!) and George and Sloan ran around and had the times of their lives, while George's nursery teacher took a quick picture of Emilie, Scott and I as she screamed with colic pains. We are so happy to live in our new ward/branch, and love the beautiful countryside that is all around, the breeze rolling over the hills, and our church friends who have folded us in their arms of friendship and took us in like family. Thank you too all we were able to come share this special day with us <3
At our church building (same church, just new building since we moved!), I gave a talk today. It was an amazing experience to prepare it. Instead of spending so much time surfing the web, I spent 90% of it working on my talk during this week. It was a humbling and wonderful experience! If you'd like to read it below, you're more than welcome :)
*Intro/about us …
* * *
One in a Million
We’re a million children strong
Around the world today--
Each one a special child of God,
Unique in ev’ry way.
We’re one in a million,
Growing in faith and might!
We’re one in a million,
walking in His light!
One of a kind--
We’ll be what Heav’nly Father has in mind.
I’m learning to be kind,
Obedient, and true.
I try to show I love the Lord
In all I say and do.
I’m one in a million,
Growing in faith and might!
I’m one in a million,
walking in His light!
One of a kind--
I’ll be what Heav’nly Father has in mind for me!
I’ll be what Heav’nly Father has in mind.
WORDS BY JAN PINBOROUGH
Music by Michael F. Moody
We are all children of God… It doesn’t matter where we were born, our culture, or language. We are all Spirit children of our Heavenly Father. God loves each of us completely, and does not care for one people more than another. Peter said in Acts 10:34-35
34 “... Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
Indeed, I believe God is no respecter of persons, but he does of course only accept righteousness and not wickedness, though he doesn’t love his sons and daughters any less who have turned away from Him, or will not seek Him.
Division is a tool of the adversary, so keeping this in mind when pride enters our hearts can help know that our pride is false. We feel closer to God when we love, and less close when we have enmity towards others. Every one of us qualifies for personal revelation, can pray and develope a relationship with God, and the only requirement to qualify for the atonement Christ performed is to follow him and keep his commandments. We are all the same in this life, working toward an eternal destiny.
Qualifying for Christ’s atonement is easier said than done, at times, though. The world bombards us with a million other directions we can go and tries to lull us away to sin. One thing some brothers and sisters may struggle with is self-discipline, which is a crucial quality to have.
Thomas S. Monson said, in his talk “Pathways to Perfection,”:
“The battle for self-discipline may leave you a bit bruised and battered but always a better person. Self-discipline is a rigorous process at best; too many of us want it to be effortless and painless. Should temporary setbacks afflict us, a very significant part of our struggle for self-discipline is the determination and the courage to try again....Eternal life in the kingdom of our Father is your goal, and self-discipline will surely be required if you are to achieve it.”
I myself have a weakness for wanting things easy, effortless and painless. Thomas S. Monson’s quote is a particular warning for myself as well, including my own patriarchal blessing. We all have our own chinks in our armor, some of which we are utterly unaware of, and some of which we are partially or completely aware of. Coming to church as often as we can (we are counseled weekly) will help us ward off the adversary in our day to day lives, and help us identify where we have chinks in our armor or where some of our armor is weak and needs attention and tending to.
Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31,
“...Simon, Simon (or Peter), behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:”
The devil desires to have us all also, that he may sift us as wheat. This is a particularly disturbing and a very real thing!
This is why it is so important to keep coming to church and knowing or divine worth and heritage, so we can keep polishing our armor and keeping our chinks in check, being diligent in keeping ourselves safe from the arrows and onslaught of the enemy. We are heirs to the throne of the most high; divine children of God. Knowing where we come from and who we are in true fullness and sincerity, will help us during the trials we will face undoubtedly in this life. I would like to go a little more into this important fact and emphasize it in here today. For you brother’s, I warn you I will only be relating theme’s from the Young Women’s and Relief Society organizations, but I strongly encourage you to relate to them as much as possible. So, with no more adieu…
The Young Women’s theme states:
WE ARE DAUGHTERS of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. WE WILL “STAND as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
WE BELIEVE as we come to accept and act upon these values, WE WILL BE PREPARED to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
This theme is stated every Sunday in Young Women’s, and many young girls in Beehives have it memorized by heart by the end of the year, from saying it over and over again. This message is so important to have written in a girl’s heart when facing the pressures of school, peers, and social media. From all directions the youth are attacked today. The Young Women’s and Young Men programs were divinely put into place to help our youth in an increasingly wicked world. The scriptures say “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God”. The whole Personal Progress program is amazing. The values focused, help Young Women realize who they are, daughters of God, and develop their divine nature, or God-like qualities we have inherited from Him. Under “Divine Nature”, is written I have inherited divine qualities, which I will strive to develop.
If you are a sister, and have not gone through the Young Women’s program for one reason or another, or even if you have, I encourage you to read through the Personal Progress program today online or with an updated manual. Go to lds.org, type “personal progress” in the search box, and click on the first link shown! These values listed therein are necessary to develop in order to become more like our Father in Heaven, and this program is a wonderful help to both young and old!
If you have children, Young Men or Young Women at home, it’s important to know that all church programs help families, not replace them or their roles as parents. More importantly than what is learned at church, is what is being exemplified at home.
The Family: A Proclamation to the world (first read in Relief Society) reads,
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
Notice, it says, not the Primary, YM or YW teachers will be accountable, but the parents themselves will be. Over and over again in Primary, have I noticed children who have been taught at home and those who have not. Teachers cannot take the place of a parent. It is a parent’s testimony which is strongest, from whose hug means the most, whose testimony manifests the loudest, when a parent fully strives to be their child’s best example. For children who are not blessed with such a parent or guardian, teacher’s and fellow friends at church and other family can be the glue for which they paste their testimonies together. I have seen this.
The bottom line though is, that it’s so important today, for children, youth and us older, to know who we are and where we came from. We are literal sons and daughters of our dear and loving Heavenly Father.
The Relief Society declaration says:
We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.
Whenever I have felt lost, or like I have lost my way, I like to read the Relief Society Declaration. It reminds me of who I am. There are many apps, websites, and books with positive affirmation to help people think more positively, but there’s nothing more positive and inspiring to me than hymns and the Relief Society Declaration!
For the brothers and young men, I hope you do not feel left out, but if you do, my husband will be speaking after and relating to him may be more easy, though it’s no excuse to drift off to sleep!
Though there are no “Young Men” Themes or Priesthood declarations that I know of, you too are reminded of your divine worth and who you are as you come to church and attend your Priesthood meetings, magnify your callings, by doing your home teaching, and by having daily prayer and scripture stuudy. Here at church you can find the brotherly support you need too. No one is expected to make this journey alone! Your Heavenly Father is mindful of you, and will help you to become even like he is as you reach out for his help and use the tools he’s given you.
If you haven’t gotten your Patriarchal Blessing, this is something good to get. It’s important to fast and pray as you prepare to have one, both you and the Patriarche need to be spiritually in tune for this important and magnificent blessing. This is a map for you, is personal revelation, and can be a great comfort to you in this life. You can talk to your branch president or Bishop to see if it’s the right time for you to get one.
Closing I want to share my husband’s most often quoted scripture in our home, which he uses as a guide to be a loving father, husband and Priesthood presider of our home.
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile--
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
And the verse following, which is my favorite scripture:
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
Reading the scriptures daily and applying them to our lives, is one of the ways in which we can become more in touch with our divine nature and heritage, and become more like our Heavenly Father. This is evident in the scriptures I just read. Reading the scriptures is also how I gained my own testimony. I felt the Spirit in it’s purity touch my very core. I bear my testimony that God lives and loves each and everyone of you, as I know He loves me. I encourage you to gain your own testimonies too if you have not already done so already, or if it’s roots just need to grow deeper. It’s so important to gain your own testimony. Know you can obtain it, and work steadily to do so. Remember, the hare lost the race and the turtle won. Line upon line, precept upon precept. We must be patient, like a child waiting for a butterfly, as the story in the Friends Magazine, called “To Catch a Butterfly,” shows. Heavenly Father can help you gain your own testimony. To learn more about how to gain a testimony, go to lds.org and search “How do I receive personal revelation?” and click the first link. Make sure your spelling is correct, as lds.org may not give you the right results if you don’t
My brothers and sisters, know how special you are... and I encourage you to learn it more fully by regularly coming to church, reading your scriptures and by saying sincere prayers. You will quickly feel the blessings of the Spirit as you put more effort to do these things more diligently and feel for the Spirit.
I leave these things with you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Attend Family History Day and learn how to strengthen your family across generations. Hear encouraging messages from experts in the industry and other popular speakers who will help inspire you to:
Class topics will include some of the following:
STORIES: Capturing and documenting your own story, and interview techniques to record your family’s stories.
TECHNOLOGY: Furthering family history efforts using the latest and greatest technology available today.
FIND & PRESERVE: Researching to gather family records and ways to preserve them for future generations.
ORGANIZE & SHARE: Consolidating all family memorabilia and sharing with relatives.
Whether you’re just starting your family tree, an avid hobbyist, or an experienced researcher, we have something for everyone!
Attendance is free!