“How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?” Jeffrey R. Holland
Our ‘Journey to Bethlehem’ is providing an awareness of God. As we walk along our path, we are coming to know the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ on a more personal level. What a blessing it is to understand more fully our Savior who bestowed upon all of us, His gift of love, a gift that we do not deserve but is so valuable....so precious, it’s a gift of Grace.
During Christ’s life, He chose to experience pain and affliction, sorrow and rejection to understand us. Now....it is our moment, our choice, to also experience the pain and affliction of this life in order to understand Him and the eternal purposes He has designed for us.
Because of the sacrifice of our beloved Redeemer, we can change. Through His Atonement we can OVERCOME sin and iniquity, we are enabled with power and strength to BECOME...to achieve things that would, otherwise, be far beyond our reach.
Because our Savior was willing to do the Father’s will and give us this redeeming gift so we could return back to our Father, we too, can honor Father’s will and sacrifice something valuable and precious to receive the miracles which we seek....the desires of our hearts.
With Christ as our example, what we can we sacrifice?
NO SACRIFICE IS TOO GREAT
What gift or tribute are you willing to offer?
Remember the Wise men and the valuable gifts that were their sacrifice for the King.
The Magi came to Jerusalem seeking the newborn King of Israel and did not find Him. They were directed to Bethlehem to continue to search for Jesus there. Once they located the Christ Child, they presented to Joseph and Mary gifts, to worship and celebrate the birth of the King.
The value in their gifts, was the message that each one conveyed about Jesus. The gold represented the fact that Jesus was royal. The frankincense supported the claim that Jesus is divine and the myrrh was for the mortality of Jesus.
What would be the message in our sacrifice to Him, in return for all He has given us?
To sacrifice infers that we give up something valuable or precious with the intent of accomplishing or discovering something of a much greater worth. At times we might be required to sacrifice things temporal, emotional, demanding or even challenging. Anything that keeps us tied or holds us back from receiving that which we seek.
“Through our sacrifice and God’s Grace, we receive an endowment of strength by which we grow from the flawed and limited beings we are now into exalted beings of ‘truth and light’, until we are glorified in truth and know all things.” -’The Gift of Grace’ - Dieter F. Uchtdorf
A MATTER OF THE HEART
Let’s take a moment now to think about our sacrifice, what could we possible sacrifice that would convey the message we have in our heart? What would show a broken heart and a contrite spirit? What would we offer that would bring about a softening of our hearts and would turn us to God and His will for us?
Sacrifice is ultimately a matter of the heart. “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind....” D&C 64:34.
Could we unselfishly give from the heart....give all that we have been given, including our will?
Some amazing examples of sacrifice are from our Mormon pioneers. Their epic sacrifices of lives, family relationships, homes, and comforts are at the foundation of the restored gospel. Sarah Rich spoke about the motivation of these pioneers when she described her concerns when her husband Charles was called away on a mission; “This truly was a trying time for me as well as for my husband; but duty called us to part for a season and knowing that we [were] obeying the will of the Lord, we felt to sacrifice our own feelings in order to help establish the work … of helping to build up the Kingdom of God on earth.” Women of Faith in the Latter Days: Volume 1, 1775–1820 (2011), 283.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell shared with us that; “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give’ … are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us.” ‘Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father,’ Ensign, Nov. 1995, 24.
The miracles we desire, can not come to us without a sacrifice, without our being willing to give up something that we’ve been holding on to and sacrifice it for something of deeper and lasting value.
If we wish to know the Savior, we must be willing to give up the things of the world and offer to the Lord a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Submitting our will and giving from the heart is not to be taken lightly. We need to think about our ultimate sacrifice, what gift are you willing to give to the Lord, what gift would come from your heart?
“The Lord knows you. He knows your heart and is pleased with your sacrifice. He smiles upon you each day. He will uphold you and prepare the way for you He will send His angels before you. You will feel their presence. And with the help of heaven, your talents will be multiplied.”- Dieter F. Uctdorf
THIS WEEKS PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
1 - On your Journal page, write the thoughts you are considering to determine your sacrifice...your offering. What gift or tribute are you willing to offer? Ponder on it for this week. You will want it to be an ultimate tribute or sacrifice...from the heart. Next week we will talk about the blessings that will come when we offer our heart felt sacrifice.
2- Again this week write in your ‘Sacred Journal’. I hope you have found this time with your Heavenly Father very inspirational. Continue writing anything that comes into your heart that you would like to share with Him. Allow inspiration to come that will direct your thoughts and help you know, in your heart, an appropriate sacrifice for the desires that you are seeking.
~ Don’t forget to respond to your letter, allowing the Lord to enlighten your mind with the things He would like to impress upon your mind.
3- I invite you to share, in the comment section of this Whisperings Blog, your thoughts and feelings about any experience you have had as you travel along on this ‘Journey to Bethlehem’. We would all love to be inspired by your experience.
Find the Journal Page, Journey to Bethlehem Map, and Sacred Journal page under ‘Journey’ in the navigator tabs.
Remember, it was not intended to be easy!