Sunday, May 22, 2016

What is a Testimony?

In preparing my Sunday School lesson for today on 'testimony' I have compiled the following excellent information for my students ages 16-18, whom I love and care for deeply. I desire for them to know and understand these beautiful truths as I do.  I know that as we are each prayerful and humble and sincere, the Holy Spirit will teach us what is right and what is error. He helps us to discern between the two and then teach and 'testify' to others' the things which we have learned.

What Is a Testimony?  -  It is important to understand what a testimony is and what a testimony is not. First, it is not an exhortation, a call to repentance, a travelogue, a sermon, or an instruction. It is a simple, direct declaration of belief—a feeling, an assurance, a conviction. It is usually stated in the first person, I, followed by a strong verb expressing belief, such as “I know that …,” “I testify that …,” “I bear testimony that …,” or “I have a strong assurance that …” You probably have heard special witnesses of Jesus Christ use the words “I give you my witness that …” or “I witness that …” Testimonies are often most powerful when they are short, concise, and direct.

Elder Oaks: 2008, Testimony. A testimony of the gospel is a personal witness borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost that certain facts of eternal significance are true and that we know them to be true. Such facts include the nature of the Godhead and our relationship to its three members, the effectiveness of the Atonement, and the reality of the Restoration.
A testimony of the gospel is not a travelogue, a health log, or an expression of love for family members. It is not a sermon. President Kimball taught that the moment we begin preaching to others, our testimony is ended.



Consider the following examples from the scriptures.

This is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—that by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24; italics added).

I know of myself that whatsoever I shall say unto you, concerning that which is to come, is true; and I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth” (Alma 5:48; italics added).

“And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it” (Alma 34:8; italics added).

“For I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3; italics added).
Other examples are found in Jacob 7:12, Alma 7:8 and Alma 36:30, and Joseph Smith—History 1:25.
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To be able to teach by the convincing, converting power of the Holy Ghost, you must have a testimony of what you are teaching. President David O. McKay said: “It is your duty to teach that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and that to him in this last dispensation there appeared God the Father and his Son in person. Do you believe it? Do you feel it? Does that testimony radiate from your being? … If so, that radiation will give life to the people whom you go to teach. If not, there will be a dearth, a drought, a lack of that spiritual environment in which the Saints grow. … You can teach effectively only that which you yourselves feel” (Gospel Ideals [1953], 190).
You can obtain a testimony and continue to strengthen it by (1) studying the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets, (2) praying, (3) fasting, and (4) obeying God’s commandments. You will also see that your testimony becomes stronger as you continue to share it.


What does it mean to 'bear testimony'?

A testimony is a spiritual witness, given by the Holy Ghost, of the truthfulness of the gospel. When we bear testimony, we declare to others what we know to be true by the power of the Spirit. The foundation of a testimony is the knowledge that Heavenly Father lives and loves us, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that His gospel has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Savior’s true Church.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy Spring!

I love this time of year; fresh air, birds chirping in the trees, light winds blowing, flowers starting to pop their colorful heads up to see the sun, blue skies and green grass growing.

How blessed we are to have different season and their attending beauties.  Life is also like that; different seasons and growing times.  We may enjoy cozy winter evenings by the fireplace but they give way to our need for color and warmth and to be outside.

I haven't blogged in a while as I've been in a sort of 'winter' season myself - with much to be done to prepare for the coming spring and newness of life.  But, this morning, I felt to express my appreciation to the Lord for His goodness and for the renewed hope that comes with this new season of life and the Spring that came yesterday - as part of the life cycle and renewal of our spirits.

Happy Spring, Everyone!



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas 'Furry' Quilts - A Personal Memory

Years ago, when I was a young teenager, my parents hired the neighbors who ran a local toy company (making stuffed animals), to make all of us eight children Christmas blankets (furry quilts) for our beds. None of us had ever had matching bedspreads, and we all shared a room with a sibling or two.

Unbeknownst to each of us, Mom and Dad had selected colors they thought we'd each like and...on Christmas morning surprised us with new furry bedspreads.

For some reason, this memory stands out to me as one of the most precious, for...my Dad was on a teacher's salary, and with eight children to raise and ten mouths to feed and clothe, money was often very tight.
Similar to ours - but ours were large checkered and furry  :)

None of us expected this for Christmas - so it was 'extra special' and meaningful to me.

My sister Melody and I shared a room.  After opening our gift - we rushed to our bedroom to place our new red and white checkered 'quilts' on top of our beds and to 'redecorate' our room.

I was telling my precious new husband the other day that when I was growing up - and couldn't afford new items, I'd rearrange furniture - for 'fresh starts'.  It was often fun to see how cleaning and organizing and rearranging could make us feel like we had a new clean slate.

Christmas can have a variety of memories for most of us; some good, some sad, some lonely, some joyful and pleasant.

I think that the reason our furry Christmas Quilts stands out for me as a wonderful one was that I knew of the sacrifices my parents must have made in all our behalf.  And....the sacrifices the neighbors, who ran a busy company, also must have made as they had a large family as well, and a busy toy company.

I pray that some of the memories my children had in childhood, are pleasant ones.  I raised them alone for most of their lives, we lived on very little and Christmases were often frugal and small.  I tried to find or make things that would help them feel loved and cherished.  And, we were sometimes the recipients of others' kindnesses - which, to this day, touches me deeply.

I'm grateful for this time of year where we can celebrate the love we feel for one another, and the greatest love of all; the Christ child Himself; our Savior, Redeemer and Friend.  May we always reflect on Him; the real meaning of the season, and find ways to share His love and kindness with those around us.

Heidi

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dollar Store Christmas Centerpieces; Beautiful Flowers

Here's an inexpensive idea for Beautiful Christmas Table Centerpieces using items from the Dollar Store.



You'll need:
1 donut shaped green foam floral piece
7-10 strands floral stems
1 spool of ribbon for bow
1 tall floral vase
1 container floral gel beads
1 battery operated candle (and batteries)
(wire cutter)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"O Holy Night" from Garth Smith, pianist

Today we receive the first youtube video from accomplished pianist, Garth Smith wherein he shares his testimony by way of music with meaning.  His desire for all of us is this:

"I hope that as you watch the video, you feel a renewed appreciation for that wonderful night when our Savior was born."  -Garth Smith

We thank Garth for his willingness to freely give of his time and talents at this special time of year wherein we remember and ponder on the birth, and life, of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ.  For it is in Him alone, that we are 'saved'.  



"O Holy Night"

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Beautiful Christmas Message

Here's a beautiful Christmas Message featuring children, youth and adults from all around the world. Christ is the meaning of the season. He is WHY we celebrate and What we celebrate. His life gives the rest of ours meaning and purpose. He is the Way back home!

We invite all to watch and to 'celebrate' with us; this beautiful time of year. 

#ASaviorIsBorn
#TrueMeaningofChristmas