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As a backdrop for this post, here is John 4:7-11:

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

When I read this scripture, I yearn to feel this kind of love.  Often, I feel selfish, full of sin and imperfect.  I am all of those things.  Sometimes I ponder and try to understand things of the gospel like the Atonement of Christ, God’s plan, scriptures, why things happen,etc. and there isn’t any answer.  I’ve also struggled in the past with forgiving others and have shared experiences with miracles that have happened in my life to be able to not only forgive, but to forgive and love those who wronged me.  It’s a miracle when this happens.

My mother shared with me an interesting story about love, accepting Jesus into one’s life, repentance, and forgiveness, which I’ll outline below.

A New Friend

alzheimersMy mom had some friends who asked her to visit their ailing grandfather, who was in a care center that focuses on Alzheimers patients.  When she started visiting the patient, she felt moved to get to know other patients as well, going above and beyond her “duty”.

As she made bi-weekly visits, she got to know many people in the facility and their family members.  One lady she got to know very well along with her brother who would visit her daily.  This lady was special because no one in the center had been able to speak or communicate with her for years except for her brother, but my mom was blessed to be able to connect with her.

Over the years, they not only connected, but became friends.  Mom knew the lady well and would share stories back and forth with her.  However, every time she asked the lady if she could pray, the lady declined.  Her brother told my mom that it was because she was mad at God and had decided she didn’t want to communicate with Him.

The End

One day, my mom came to visit and her friend was deathly ill.  Actually, they thought she was in a coma because she hadn’t communicated for over a week with anyone and also hadn’t eaten.  She should have been dead.  Her brother told her it was OK to go, but for some reason she was still holding on.

When my mother came, she said that day she was filled with the Holy Spirit and knelt down beside her friend.  She took her friends hand and immediately, the friend’s corners of her mouth turned upward in a slight smile.  My mother offered words of comfort, encouragement, and hope to her.  Then she asked her if she could pray with her.  This time, the lady squoze mom’s hand and indicated she did indeed want a prayer.

During the prayer, mom said she was speaking words completely guided by the Holy Spirit.  At one point, she said something about the lady being able to forgive the man who had abused her.  Mom didn’t know anything about this, but the words just came out of her mouth.  She went on to pray for healing, and for the lady to have the ability to repent for her hard feelings she had harbored.

After the prayer, her brother pointed down to her eyes and a little tear was coming out of her eye.  Her brother told my mom that she had been abused as a young lady by someone and that was what my mom had been prompted to pray for.  My mom continued speaking with the lady and over the course of a few minutes the lady indicated through squeezing my mothers hand that she had forgiven the man, accepted Jesus’ healing power of the Atonement and had repented.  Peacefulness settled into her tortured body, mom asked her if she would be there to greet her when it was her time. Within 1/2 hour she passed on.

Love

In this situation, my mother was an excellent example of how we can open up ourselves to feeling the love of God and reaching out to love others.

She could have just done her “duty” and visited the man her friends wanted her to visit.  However, through the love of God she has, she was moved to visit others and do as Jesus would do had he been there.

Not only did she visit others, but she witnessed of Christ and His atonement to others as she felt guided by the Spirit.  This led to miracles in the life of at least one lady, and I’m sure there are others that were blessed through my mothers’ efforts that she hasn’t told me about.

I pray that I can feel this kind of love and not be afraid to act on the promptings I receive from the Spirit.  I know that as we open ourselves up to the Lord, we can make a huge difference in the world.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, to keep oneself unspotted from the world. Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.–James 1:27

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parley pratt

I’m reading a great book about one of the first converts and apostles to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Parley P Pratt.

For those interested in a pretty good glimpse into the early church and the challenges and miracles that took place, this is a very good read.

One of the miracles that he describes is when the Latter-day Saints had been driven out of their homes in Missouri and into Illinois.  They were destitute and left in the cold along the Mississippi River on a swampy land with no shelter.  People were getting very sick.

Here is an excerpt of one of the miracles that took place during that time:

Here many were lying sick and at the point of death.  Among these was my old friend and fellow servant, Elijah Fordham.  He was now in the last stage of a deadly fever.  He lay prostrate and nearly speechless, wit his feet poultice; his eyes were sunk in their sockets; his flesh was gone; the paleness of death was upon him; and he was hardly to be distinguished from a corpse. His wife was preparing his clothes for his burial.

Brother Joseph (the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith) took him by the hand, and in a voice and energy which would have raised the dead, he cried: “BROTHER FORDHAM, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, ARISE AND WALK”!  It was a voice which could be heard from house to house…like the roaring of a lion or heavy thunderbolt.  Brother Fordham leaped from his dying bed in an instant, shook the poultices and bandages from his feet, put on his clothes so quick that none got a chance to assist him and…he walked with us from house to house visiting other sick beds…Several more were called up in a similar manner and were healed.” (pg. 355)

This story is a fairly popular story that is told and repeated about Joseph Smith.  The part that I was not familiar with that Parley Pratt writes about is this:

Brother Jospeh, while in the Spirit, rebuked the elders who would continue to lay hands on the sick from day to day without the pwer to heal them.  Said he: “It is time that such things ended. Let the Elders either obtain the power of God to heal the sick or let them cease to minister the forms without the power”

Joseph Smith’s quote caused me to reflect on the power of healing within the Church of Jesus Christ today.

For those of you not familiar with how Elders are instructed to heal within the Church, I’ll share some information on the procedure, purpose and process.

In the Bible, there is a scripture that discusses how people who are sick should call on the elders and they will lay hands and anoint the people so they can be healed.

Today, we are instructed to do the same thing.  We have olive oil that has been consecrated for healing the sick.  We then put a little oil on the head of the person being blessed and then as the Holy Spirit shares thoughts and impressions in our minds, we pray and bless the people who are sick.

I have witnessed miracles on occasion through blessings such as these.  For example, my little sister had a bad accident when she was 3 and my father gave her a blessing of healing and she started breathing again and was healed.

However, I hear quite frequently about how today we’ve been blessed with modern medicine and technology and that we don’t need to rely on God as much for healings.  Some people say that God caused the medicine and technology to take place so we shouldn’t bother God with a miracle unless we have to.

This makes me wonder if we are like the elders Joseph Smith talks about and rebukes and if we lack faith and rely too heavily on man instead of God.  As the Book of Mormon states, when faith is lacking, God can not do miracles.  Perhaps we don’t see as many miracles such as the one described because we lack faith.

What are your thoughts?

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