Posts Tagged ‘repentance’

(Artwork by Greg Olsen)

It’s pouring outside. I had a chance to have some quiet moments to reflect on a few significant things in life and was reminded that the entire Christian world will commemorate Easter this coming week.

I am grateful for the Atonement and all the sacrifices that the Savior has done for us. I pray that we may be able to overcome our humanity and someday be found worthy of this divine gift so that we may be given a chance to return and enjoy His loving presence in the next life.

Have a meaningful Easter everybody!


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I was moved by my daughter’s shout out this morning in a popular social networking site: “Mistakes don’t define you, they refine you.” How true that statement is.

Have we ever been in a position where we felt more righteous than our neighbor? Have we ever looked down on anyone because of a mistake they have committed? Have we ever held on to bitter feelings or grudges and refused to grant forgiveness to someone who has sincerely asked for it?

When we are tempted to do any of these, let us try to step back and remember to judge not and examine ourselves if we are indeed clean and are in a position to point fingers or withhold our pardon.

I have watched this short clip about being careful on how we judge others and wanted to share it with all of you. It’s called “Looking through Windows.”

Enjoy the film and the rest of the week everybody!!!  🙂

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I was once enjoying late lunch with a friend when out of the blue a large fly swirled around us trying to get its share of our exotic meal! The waitress at the restaurant was embarrassed yet attentive enough to see our situation and immediately brought a medium-sized candle on our table –apparently to help shoo away our uninvited guest.

But instead of avoiding the clear sign of danger, the impulsive insect dove straight into the candle light as if toying with its fate. It naturally burned its wings and within a blink of an eye dropped onto the plate of my horrified friend. We couldn’t believe how fast things happened. We found ourselves trying to get the fly off the table while its body wiggled and struggled to get out of its predicament. It dropped onto the floor and while my friend told me to step on it, I only watched it literally “walk” its way out of our presence, limping and squirming with pain. It must’ve been terrified by the thought of its imminent death as well. We never knew if it made its way back home, or if its wings ever healed again, but it certainly suffered the excruciating consequence of its action.

We paused for awhile and thought how foolish that fly was for going straight into the candle light without thinking of the consequences. Yet between the long pauses, all my friend could utter was this: “Temptation.”

How many times in our lives have we acted like this foolish fly? We recognize danger and yet we sometimes think we are strong enough to withstand it so we head straight towards it and eventually burn our “wings.” Hopefully when this happens we won’t be placed in a situation where it’s too late to turn back and like the foolish fly suffer the consequences of our actions. I pray that in our dealings with our weaknesses and temptations we can gather the essential courage to mend our ways, get back on the right path, and be given enough time to eventually make amends and set things right.

Enjoy the weekend everybody and keep these thoughts in mind the next time you see a fly swirling around a candle light.

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Artwork by Liz Lemon Swindle

Some people would’ve considered last week’s Friday the 13th an unlucky day. Not for me. It was one of the best I’ve ever had! 🙂 That day, my daughter and I both received answers to our prayers that came at a time that we didn’t expect. It was such a pleasant surprise and we couldn’t have been more grateful. 🙂 YayYyY!!! 🙂

Later that night, I had some company over at our place that brought fun and joy to my heart. One of the topics we discussed stayed with me over the weekend and significantly contributed to the spirit of the lesson I taught in Sunday School. I had to stay in control of my emotions as I choked up several times during the class. It was about the “lost one.”

Nobody is perfect. Each of us have missed the mark in some degree or another. It is ironic that some people feel they are in a position to judge those who have fallen astray. It’s sad to see how people change their countenance when they find out that a person once lost their path and have found their way back. Shouldn’t it be enough cause for celebration instead? Such was the example shown by the Savior Himself in His parables. He rejoiced. Yes, for the prodigal son when he returned…and for the lost sheep when he was found. I think we should also try to do the same.

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(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

There are times when we cannot help feeling low about some things that are going on in and around our lives. Some of them we cannot control, such as illness and death; some we wish we don’t have to deal with, like manipulative and mean people; and unfortunately, there are some that we may have brought upon our very own selves, such as consequences of our mistakes.

The design of the adversary in this life is to bring us down. He would like us to think that our negative situations will last forever and that there is no more hope or relief for us. But the design of our existence is to experience all these things in this life—both happiness and sorrow—that we might be strong and grow from such earthly experiences.

Yesterday, I had the chance to continue browsing my old folders and saw very old photographs that were taken even some twenty years ago. Almost all of them brought smiles on my face as I recalled the great memories accompanying those shots. I was grateful for the wonders of my camera and how it captured all those precious moments that I will now treasure forever. I also realized the joy and happiness that my loving family and faithful friends have brought me all these years—all the love, support, laughter, and even the tears—through thick and thin. Each photo stirred up an emotion in me that reminded me how beautiful and kind life had been to me despite the many ups and downs I have already encountered. It also gave me hope that whatever challenges we encounter in this life will be but a small moment compared to an eternity of happiness awaiting for us if we will keep trying to press forward in the right direction no matter what it takes! We just simply cannot give up!! We cannot listen to the voice of the opposition telling us that we are not worth what our Savior had died for—because we are of divine worth and are extremely precious in His sight.

In a similar folder, I saw a video of a song written for the youth of this day. “Be strong and of good courage,” the song goes. I thought how appropriate the words are for us during this difficult time, even if we are no longer in our youth.

When my young son was starting to learn how to play the piano, he was discouraged and thought there was no way he would ever be able to play using both his left and right hands simultaneously. He thought it was an impossible task. But I encouraged him and told him that others have already done it so it wasn’t really as impossible as it seemed. He worked hard and practiced day after day and now he plays using both hands even without looking at the keyboard.

Just like him, we can keep our chin up and keep trying even when we are feeling very discouraged, hopeless, hurt, and downtrodden—even when we think it is impossible to surpass our challenges at hand. Most likely, others have already gone through it so it may not really be as impossible to overcome as it may seem. We just have to work hard and keep practicing patience, obedience, repentance, and faith until we finally get it right.

Let us not give place in our hearts anymore to the enemy of our souls! Let us remember and apply the counsel given, that all our trials and challenges will be but for a small moment and will give us experience and will be for our own good. Let us have a mighty change of heart and be strong and of good courage! Maybe then next time we are faced with a similar trial or challenge we can already overcome it even with our eyes closed!

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(Photograph by Cathy Batica-Genanda)

I was browsing my blog stats one day and saw in the Top Searches section of my dashboard these words: “Ever has it known that no matter how tough the laid obstacles are, love transcends it, for love is a driving force that not even the might of eternity can take on.”

Wow, I thought.

I found it to be a very interesting and powerful statement that I wrote it down right away before it got deleted from the queue. Not only did I think it was profound, but I certainly believe it is true.

Love. What do we know about it? I am definitely NOT an expert when it comes to it, but I absolutely know it is an action word. It is not enough that we profess our love in words to those whom we hold dear, but more importantly, we should show how we truly feel about them through our actions.

I was requested to give a talk yesterday about the greatest love that ever happened in the entire history of this world. It is the love that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for all of us. Our Savior loved us so much that He laid down His life for us so that we don’t have to suffer the way He did if we will repent.

As the whole Christian world commemorates this week His display of this great love, I echo the words of President James E. Faust when he said:

“We long for the ultimate blessing of the Atonement—to become one with Him, to be in His divine presence, to be called individually by name as He warmly welcomes us home with a radiant smile, beckoning us with open arms to be enfolded in His boundless love. How gloriously sublime this experience will be if we can feel worthy enough to be in His presence! The free gift of His great atoning sacrifice for each of us is the only way we can be exalted enough to stand before Him and see Him face-to-face. The overwhelming message of the Atonement is the perfect love the Savior has for each and all of us. It is a love which is full of mercy, patience, grace, equity, long-suffering, and, above all, forgiving.”

I do believe that where conflict happens, when all else fails, when wounds won’t heal, or signs of any hope dim in our hearts, that love IS the answer… and oftentimes, it is enough.

Have a happy Easter everybody!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

They say you really love someone when you still love that person even when the person least deserves it.

There were times in the past when I’ve made mistakes and didn’t deserve to be loved by the people around me. Some of them judged me and walked away, but those who truly cared stayed and with their love and support encouraged me to reach far greater heights than I could possibly imagine. In my heart I will forever be grateful to those people, for I wouldn’t have been where I am now without them.  

 I remember a good friend once told me how she regretted letting go of an employee whom she thought was an “ugly duckling,” but in the end turned out to be a “beautiful swan.” She felt she gave up on this employee way too soon and didn’t give her enough time to grow and polish her rough edges. A year after she let go of this employee, my friend saw how the employee reached her potential working for another employer. To this day, my friend remembers the lesson she has learned out of this experience—that no one is a “hopeless case” and that we should never give up on anybody.

Another story that comes to mind is the story of a father who was recently baptized into the Church. For 18 long years his wife prayed for the day to come for him to accept the gospel. He was heavily drinking for the most part and not one member of his family thought he would ever change his ways. But he did. The love, faith, and devotion of his wife finally touched his heart allowing him to feel the Spirit when it manifested to him the truthfulness of what he had been taught. It was a glorious day when he came down the waters of baptism a changed man.

There’s one love that surpasses all kinds of love and understanding on this earth. It is the love of our Savior Jesus Christ. He loved us enough for Him to atone for our sins and die for us. I can hardly comprehend that love, but I am grateful for it every single day. I wish that in our dealings with our fellow beings we could practice even an iota of that love; for He has commanded us to love one another, even as He has loved us.

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