Spiritual Fire Insurance

D&C 64:23
“Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a
day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.”
I remember when I was in Seminary many years ago and this was the scripture that was called the Fire Insurance Scripture. It was always an incentive to keep my tithing paid.
I hear that there are many people in our church who do not pay their tithing. A large part of one of my congregations that I attended  had not been paying. This had been a shock to me because I always felt that this is what separated us from the other churches on a temporal level. Did you realize that we were and as far as I still know, still are the only church organization that is out of debt? Why is this? Because we pay our debts.
During the time of the early Saints, people brought their tithes to the bishop’s storehouse. This was paid normally with food or other items of value. Now days, it is simpler. We write a check then we put it in one of those many gray envelopes and hand it to a member of our bishopric.
When did the time come that we have forgotten what the blessings are that come to us if we pay our tithing? What are the blessings we receive if we do pay? We receive both Spiritual and Temporal blessings.
For example, when I left home to go to College, I carried my tithing with me in hopes that I would be able to pay in my new ward. I did not pay it. I held the money for a month. While I did this, I was looking for a job. I could not find one. I looked and looked. When the time came that I decided to pay, within the next 24 hours, I had 3 job offers! Why did I not do it sooner? Why did I “Rob God?” and why did I rob myself of these blessings? Other times, when my health needed to be strong, when I paid my tithing, I had a miraculous amount of strength. I had endurance! My family was happy, there was peace in my home. These are great blessings!
There are many talks from our Prophets and other general authorities concerning these issues.
Why are we not listening? Do we really want to be burned? Have we forgotten what happens if we do not pay?  Are we earning so much money that we do not feel we need the blessings? Are we earning too little money where the question of whether we pay the rent or our tithing becomes the issue? Have we talked with our bishop and asked him for guidance? Have we gone to our family?
Tithing has been around since the time of Adam and Eve. We are to give a percentage of all that we have to Heavenly Father because it is his anyway. I understand that we have heard this before, but have you thought what the tithing would be used for? For buildings, learning materials, for Temples…

How about the fast offerings? How are they used? These items are in the hands of our chosen leaders and they are to listen to Heavenly Father as to what they are to do with it. Normally, it is used to assist those in the ward who needs that little blessing to help them keep going.

Have you been one of those? I have. I cherish the moment that I have had to ask for help. This is because it is given. There is hope created because there will always be the blessing of plenty for those who truly need it. I may not like to go for help, but that is because I have been taught that I am the only one who will change my life. I should be able to support myself. But, there are times when this is not the best answer. If I am able to give back, I try to give what is expected in my tithing, but I try to give more in my fast offerings. If it is a matter of money, then remember, there is a promise that the Savior will give 10 times back what you have given. I have tried this and with a prayerful heart, gave all that I have and found that sometime during the next week, the amount has been multiplied at least 10 times!
Try this, what have you to lose? Give of your tithes and fast offerings first when you receive your bounty. You will not miss it if you do so.  I love this gift and I appreciate the ability to see blessings in action.

Am I Fasting or Starving?

Matthew 6:16-18
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy
Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Many times, I have taught the value of fasting to my children, but it seems that I had at least one that did not understand no matter how I have tried to teach him. On Fast Sunday, as soon as our meetings were finished, he gathered his brother and sister and found me and dragged us to the car so that we can drive home as quickly as we can and eat everything in sight!
What is fasting?

Well, to me, it is a time set aside to focus on the most important issue that needs to be addressed with our Heavenly Father. It is a time where all other things are set aside, including eating, so that the communication is clear. How can you focus on your closest desire and be making a sandwich? How can
you talk with Heavenly Father with a singleness of thought when you are trying to decide if you want cheese or not on that sandwich?
Is Fast Sunday a day once a month that we suffer because we miss a couple of meals? Or is it a time to reflect? A time to heal?
I had a question that I felt that I needed to have answered. I asked for my Home Teacher to come by that night for a blessing. I wanted to make sure that I was hearing what was correct and not just my imaginings. So, I decided to fast. I thought that it would be difficult. I do not normally fast other than on Fast Sundays, or for a long period of time. It was in the middle of the week, so I was able to skip breakfast, then when lunch came around, my non-member friend who always walked with me to find restaurants to eat at, wanted to go. I told her that I was not going to eat. This surprised her, but not so much as the fact that I told her that I also was not going to drink anything-including water. So, we walked together. She ordered a meal and ate it in front of me, but it did not bother me because we were talking about the value of fasting and it has opened up a lot of doors to discussions that we have had since. I was not hungry. I was still praying through the day in preparation for the blessing that I was to receive. Meanwhile, many of the answers were being answered during the day, but not the main one. I was grateful for each answer, but I was still waiting for the big question to be answered. My Home Teacher came by and brought another with him. I am not sure if they had been fasting as well, but I had found that most Priesthood holders will fast before a blessing. This helps them as well. I was given a blessing. I asked specific questions, but the answer was not specific. In being thus, it has even blessed me more than I had thought! Instead of a yes or no, it was more along the lines of being “You will receive the peace to know your answers.” For many days afterwards and even now, I am still blessed from this particular blessing. No, I never got a direct answer  for the one question to be answered, but I had let it go and began focusing on what is far more important-
Eternal Life.
That is more important. The rest will fall into place. By the way, I did not eat until the next day because I was not hungry. I really was not hungry even then, but when I did break my fast, then the body reawakened and let me know what it’s needs were.
Try this, use it with a sincere desire to understand not only the act of the fast, but to understand the blessings that come from it. I know that you will be blessed if you do these things.

Abuse

I have been abused, what do I do?

There are many different types of abuse. Mental, physical, spiritual are the 3 main categories.

Sometimes the person being abused is too young to be able to say anything and because they trusted the person they were with, did not realize what the abuse was.

At other times, the person feels helpless. They do not know what to do. They may love the abuser, they may feel violated and do not understand what to do when this happens.

Heavenly Father has never approved of any violation of any of his children in the past, in the present, or in the future.

As a matter of fact, until I realized these words were really true, I allowed abuse in my life: “I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father and I am to be treated that way.” At one time, I wrote these words on a board by the front door and changed who was either a daughter or a son for my children so that they understood that they were special people as well. This is very powerful and is very encouraging.

After realizing that I was being abused, I began to go back to the scriptures and praying to Heavenly Father to help me realize the extent of the abuse. I had no clue how bad it was until I was out of the situation. I had pictures that were taken of me during the abuse time of my life and then much later, I had other pictures of other events taken of me. I found that I had become an old woman. That I was a middle-aged, overweight, dumpy, did not care about life, woman. I had lost all personality and did only what needed to make it through the day. I took care of my family, but had no joy.

I found someone who would help me find who I was to be. She was a great counselor and also guided me to become one as well. She guided me almost daily because she also knew that I was a daughter of God and was willing to help me find my way to true happiness within myself. I do admit, I tried to go to my bishop for help, but at that time, he was not able to understand what my need was. This experience was totally alien to him and he had a difficult time supporting me. I realized this, was not angry with him, but did go find help where I really needed it.

Each day after realizing that I was abused, I began to see how it affected me. I began to realize that each thing that was told to me, each thing that was done to me, was false. I began to stand up for the very little things and change them. Then each of the bigger issues I began to stand up for. This progressed until I was able to stand up for myself again. The important part of this experience, was to blame no one, not the abuser, not the bishop, not my family, not my friends(or who I thought were my friends),not even myself. For when I blame, it creates more negative feelings and does not allow any healing to happen.

I realized at this time that I had a right to live. I had a right to be. I was an important person and should be treated as such. I can give love, I can receive it, but I had the choice to do so.

I also found that when I forgave my abuser, whether it mattered to them or not, it did to me. I also found that if I forgave someone, I did not need to allow them to continue the abuse. I had to stand up to them. I had to accept my feelings about them. I knew in my heart that I loved them, but that I had to let them go. They did not have the right to hurt me. This was a part that I had to learn on my own. No one had ever taught me this.

I had empowered myself! I look at the pictures that were taken later and I find that I look much younger, much happier, much more at peace! No one believes that I have teenage children. They really did believe that I am my children’s older sister. I act young, I feel young and I look young. This is just a side effect on my letting go. The main part of this is that I have loved and I have begun to love myself once again.

I know that with the support of the scriptures, the comfort of prayer, the knowledge that Heavenly Father really does love me and that I am not alone are all important keys to healing that which was taken from me.

I found that I have strength. That only I allow others to affect my feelings. I can love and it has taught me what true unconditional love really is.

Follow the councils of our leaders, they really do love us and wish the best for us. The hard part was, was that I was not receptive to their councils until much later. I did not even realize that they were really in tune with what may really be going on inside of my soul. I did not hear them. Try to listen to them. They do know us.

My hearing is a blessing

As a little girl, I received an earache that was so bad that the eardrum was coming out of the ear canal.

I was screaming in pain. I was disoriented. Mom took me to the doctor and after examining me, he told mom that he needed to do surgery and remove my eardrum the next day.

Mom took me home and talked with dad about what was to happen. He gave me a Priesthood blessing for the sick. He had warmed the oil and put it directly into the ear and I had screamed because it was very hot to me. He then blessed me and I then slept on my side to keep the oil in my ear.

The next morning I woke up and I could hear nothing in my ear. I reached up to it and found that the oil had hardened like stained glass in my ear.  As any normal child, I proceeded to break out the “glass” and remove the shards.

My mom then took me back to the doctor and he did an examination on me before he was going to do the surgery.

He looked in one ear, then the other and back to the first. He then looked at his report and looked at my mom with a bewildered look in his eyes. He then said, “If I had not written it in my reports, I would not have known which ear to operate on. They both look perfectly fine to me.”

I went home and have been able to enjoy the blessing of my hearing so that I could sing and talk.

I am thankful that I have the ability to call on men of the Priesthood in our church to give me blessings when I am in need of them. I truly believe in them!