Monday, May 25, 2015

Bulgarian Rose

Yesterday was a very interesting day of sorts.  I had a busy day planned, but things fell into place in ways I wasn't expecting.

A sweet friend brought me a very exquisite gift.  I don't know that I can convey how much it means to me.  She served a church mission in Bulgaria, and later married a man from there, and he joined her in the States.  When she came to visit me yesterday, she brought me a small vial of Bulgarian Rose oil, held in a Bulgarian Muskal.

There is a lot of grey area in the world of essential oils.  I'm really not much of an expert in this area, however I understand minimal basics.  To purchase a vial of 100% absolute is very expensive. The company I work with values a 5 mL bottle of their Bulgarian Rose Absolute at over $375.  However they don't sell it; they offer it as a sales incentive to those who reach a certain level of sales.  I am not keen on stressing over those things, so I have never earned it.  However my friend bringing me this Muskal with Rose Oil in it is more valuable to me than had I done the work to earn the more potent version, because there is friendship attached to it.  It is a true, heartfelt gift, which words cannot describe.

Rose is well known for being one, if not the highest vibrational oil on the planet.  Symbolically it represents Divine Love, and helps one connect in feeling that Diving Love.  (See Emotions & Essential Oils for more info.)  Tonight I used it as inspired, to assist my efforts in clearing out negative influences, and the felt the Savior cleanse my body.  It was certainly something I would consider anointed oil.

Oils are such a precious gift.  My friend likely had no idea of the significance this gift would hold for me, but she played a very instrumental part in real Christ-centered healing.  Thank you friend.  Thank you Jesus.  What precious gifts You bestow.  <3 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Living Prophets and Dead Prophets

Last evening my dad asked if he could ask me a question.  "Of course," I said.  He asked me if I had to choose between following a living prophet or a dead prophet, which would I choose.  Well, this is a trick question, because the assumption is that one might disagree with another, but the truth is, if they are both true prophets, their message will coincide with one another.  True prophets do not contradict one another.  If they did, one would be out of the way, and creating a God which is changeable.  God is not a changeable God.

This morning I was studying a bit in Isaiah 9.  Nephi also quotes these verses, and his quotation of Isaiah can be found in 2 Nephi 19.  Often I used to wonder why in the world Nephi took the time to copy so much of Isaiah, if he saw our day and knew we would have a copy of the Bible, which contained almost entirely the exact same language.  Did he include this because he thought the Bible might be mistranslated?

I think that question is highly unlikely.  The best answer I have seen was in Denver Snuffer's Nephi's Isaiah.  Isaiah is quoted in all of the standard works.  He is quoted in the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the D&C, and the Pearl of Great Price.  Christ quotes him during his ministry.  Joseph quotes him often, using his words to describe our current condition in ways that would cause persecution if he were to speak outright.  Why does Nephi quote him?

It is likely that Nephi was shown many of the things that other revelators were shown.  Rather than rewriting or adding to scripture,  he quotes Isaiah, and attempts to show us how Isaiah's words are applicable to our day.  It's often difficult to process and understand how Isaiah's words apply to us, however if you focus on what you can understand rather than what you can't, there are some rich gems.  With prayer and inquisition of the Lord, I feel we can find much greater understanding.

Isaiah 9 contains several verses which were utilized in Handel's Messiah.  Every time I've read these verses in 2 Nephi 19, I end up not even really processing the words, but I sing the song in my head.  Even then, I don't really think much about them.  What caught my attention today began in verse 13.
13  For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts.
14  Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.
15  The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
16  For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
17  Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
I don't think it will make anyone happy to suggest that Nephi is quoting Isaiah here, knowing that in large measure, the only ones reading this message will be Mormons.  It will be us.  So let's examine it.

Who are the people he references?  

Who are the "ancient and honourable"?

Who are the "leaders of this people"?

Why shall the Lord have no joy in their young men?

Why she he have no mercy for the fatherless and widows?

Why might we be hypocrites or evildoers?  What is our sin?

The part about every mouth speaking folly reminds me of a message I heard this weekend, from a woman receiving prophecy.  (Her name is Mena Lee Grebin.)  She was commanded to share several of the visions and dreams she had.  Some of which even included a "Thus saith the Lord".  I invite all readers to listen to her message, and ask God if it is true or false.  There ought to be no fear to ask God, as he promises us through James that he upbraideth not to those who ask with sincere hearts.  Either way, her message repeats Isaiah, Nephi, Joseph, and many other prophets, who remind us of those who draw near to the Lord with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him.

Anyways, verse 18 continues to warn of the upcoming calamities.  I'll include them below without comment.

18  For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.
20 And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:
21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Monday, May 11, 2015

In Other Words

In Alma 32, Alma is talking to the poor of the Zoramites.  He addresses their humility, and willingness to learn.

In many discussions on this chapter, verse 16 is the highlight, and we learn it is better to not need to be compelled to be humble.  We ought to humble ourselves willingly.  But there's more to the verse which is noteworthy.

Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.
"In other words."  Alma gives us a way to understand what will make us blessed, or another way to interpret what humility IS.  I often think that humility is removal of pride, and bringing oneself low to the dust.  Another way to look at it is believing IN the word of God.  I suppose that's a bit more than just believing the word to be true, but also believing enough such that ones life is truly in harmony with the word.  Taking upon oneself baptism without having to know all the details.  Or being forced to know.  But simply being willing to walk into pure, living water, be cleansed, and come out refined.  Yea, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble.   

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Ammon's Flattery

27 Therefore, as Ammon and the servants of the king were driving forth their flocks to this place of water, behold, a certain number of the Lamanites, who had been with their flocks to water, stood and scattered the flocks of Ammon and the servants of the king, and they scattered them insomuch that they fled many ways.

 28 Now the servants of the king began to murmur, saying: Now the king will slay us, as he has our brethren because their flocks were scattered by the wickedness of these men. And they began to weep exceedingly, saying: Behold, our flocks are scattered already.
 29 Now they wept because of the fear of being slain. Now when Ammon saw this his heart was swollen within him with joy; for, said he, I will show forth my power unto these my fellow-servants, or the power which is in me, in restoring these flocks unto the king, that I may win the hearts of these my fellow-servants, that I may lead them tobelieve in my words.
 30 And now, these were the thoughts of Ammon, when he saw the afflictions of those whom he termed to be his brethren.
 31 And it came to pass that he flattered them by his words, saying: My brethren, be of good cheer and let us go in search of the flocks, and we will gather them together and bring them back unto the place of water; and thus we will preserve the flocks unto the king and he will not slay us. - Alma 17:27-31
Last night when reading with my kids, the highlighted words stuck out off the pages for me.  Ammon was a righteous servant, and protected the king's flocks.  When it came time to win over the hearts of the Lamanite servants whom he was with, he flattered them by his words.

Typically I think of the word "flattery" as meaning that one is complimenting another person, almost to excess.  Google defines it as "excessive and insincere praise, especially that given to further one's own interests."  

Ammon was on the Lord's errand, essentially telling them to not fear, that he's got this.  Essentially, he gave the Lamanites a pep talk here.  He knew his father, King Mosiah, had the promise that God would not let him be harmed while he was away.  He knew he wouldn't fail in what was ahead.  But why did Mormon use the word flattery here, when on many occasions in the Book of Mormon, flattery is a derogatory term, associated with ulterior motives and associated with pride? 

Are we flattering others, when we encourage them in the various challenges of their lives?  When we give pep talks?  Is there anything derogatory there?  

I know it's far stretch I'm making here.  But just something that made me stop and wonder.  Does this have any connection with Jesus telling his disciples not to call him "good"?  (Matt. 19:17)  Certainly interesting food for thought, especially when pride is an overt message of the Book of Mormon.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Art of Misdirection

I found this video to illustrate a really interesting concept.  Unfortunately Blogger won't allow me to embed it, so click here to watch.

The video is called The Art of Misdirection.  The presenter illustrated how complicated it is for the mind to focus on two things at once, and how by necessity it can only focus on one, no matter how hard one tries.

The concept is highly applicable in many facets of our life.  In many respects, I find it highly applicable to the themes discussed on this blog.  Be sure to check it out.  You'll probably never look at someone's watch the same again.  A few questions to explore:

  • What does our government do to cause distraction?  How many big pieces of legislation are passed while the country is largely distracted?
  • What do churches to do cause distraction?  Anything at all?
  • What do individuals do, to remain in a state of distraction?  What are we avoiding, by not focusing on pressing issues?  
  • Is it possible to spend a whole lifetime distracted, and miss the whole point of being here?  
Would love to hear any insights in the comments, if you have any.