Those are Google dictionary's definitions of charity. Not bad. I agree with all of them and they all denote good and wonderful messages of helping others. However, now I want to offer the apostle Paul's definition of charity.
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth..."
OUR WORLD NEEDS A SERIOUS DOSE OF CHARITY
In the New Testament Institute Student Manual we learn that "when we have charity, we patiently endure offense or hardship. We also act in patience and kindness to everyone, even those who offend us" (Chapter 39). Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone lived by this suggestion? *Heavenly*
I feel that one of the biggest stumbling blocks we, as human being have is that we tend to be easily offended. And yes, I am speaking first and foremost about my own tendency to choose to take offense. I love some counsel that President Henry B Eyring has given us about charity and how it connects to being offended.
“We do not know the hearts of those who offend us. Nor do we know all the sources of our own anger and hurt. The Apostle Paul was telling us how to love in a world of imperfect people, including ourselves" (Eyring 68).
We just do not know. Not only do we not know the hearts of those who offend us, but I love that President Eyring pointed out that we don't even know the sources of our own anger and hurt. It makes me realize just how dependent I truly am on my Savior's Atonement and the knowledge that I need to gain from God through the Holy Ghost.
“True charity has been known only once. It is shown perfectly and purely in Christ’s unfailing, ultimate, and atoning love for us” (Holland 336-37)
We haven’t been asked to be perfect at it. We’ve only been asked to try, to improve, to progress on a path that will lead us back to our Father in Heaven. We do that one step at a time. One FB post that we don’t post a scathing response. One Instagram post that we don’t look at and pick apart and judge the people in the picture. One classmate, church friend, work associate, or even stranger, who says something that offends us and we choose to not hold on to the offense.
Do you know what happens when you put together all of those little instances of choosing charity? Our hearts begin to soften. Our souls begin to enlarge, and we begin to see the people in our lives as the Savior sees them, and He helps us to feel a little portion of the love He has for them and that, my friends, is a pretty amazing thing.
Chapter 39: 1 Corinthians 12–14. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/new-testament-student-manual/1-corinthians/chapter-39-1-corinthians-12-14?lang=eng.
Eyring, H.B., "That We May Be One," Ensign, May 1988, 68
Holland, J.R., Christ and the New Covenant , 336-37
God has things that get lost as well, although because He is perfect, I'm sure He doesn't go through quite the range of emotions that we do. When I say that God has "things" that get lost, I'm really referring to His children. We get lost, and He feels sadness about that. But even though we are lost, in a sense, He still knows exactly where we are. He just has to wait for us to use our agency to find our way back to Him.
In my New Testament studies this week, I studied a lot of parables. Three of them deal with lost things and offer three different ways that we get lost from the path that leads back to God.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
"How did that sheep get lost? He was not rebellious. If you follow the comparison, the lamb was seeking its livelihood in a perfectly legitimate manner, but either stupidly, perhaps unconsciously, it followed the enticement of the field, the prospect of better grass until it got out beyond the fold and was lost.
The lamb took his "eyes off the prize", so to speak. He focused his gaze on things other than the Shepherd. Maybe he started by stealing a few glances of the grass on the other side of the fence, which turned into staring hungrily at the grass, which then led to sampling the grass, and before he knew it, he had lost sight of the Shepherd completely.
Elder Joseph B Wirthlin (1917-2008), an Apostle of Jesus Christ, shared another take on this parable and who the lost sheep could represent.
"Some [children of God] are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don't belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don't fit in. They conclude that they are not needed. ...
Who's been one of these little lambs at one point or another? I have definitely felt a little of both of these "lost lamb scenarios" in my life. But here's the good news. The Good Shepherd, AKA the Savior of the World, knows exactly where we are, at all times. We are never lost to Him and He is always there, waiting for us to call out, just like a little lost lamb cries out to its mother.
We can return to the arms of that Good Shepherd who loves us wholly and completely, no matter where our wanderings have taken us.
The Parable of the Lost Piece of Silver
Going back to President McKay's insights on these three parables, he describes what the lost coin may represent:
"In this case the thing lost was not in itself responsible. The one who had been trusted with that coin had, through carelessness or neglect, mislaid it or dropped it. ...Our charge is not only coins, but living souls of children, youth, and adults. They are our charges."
Here we see that the coin was lost through negligence on the owner's part. We also see that the woman in the parable represents any one of us who have responsibility to watch over and care for someone else--spiritually and physically. Whether you are a parent, or have stewardship over others through leadership roles, you are charged with being responsible for loving and teaching those whom you have stewardship over. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) shared how we should face this responsibility of loving and teaching others:
“There must be warmth in the work of the Lord. There must be friendship. There must be love unfeigned. There must be appreciation and thanks expressed. There must be constant nurturing with the good word of God. All of these are small things, so easy to do, and they make so great a difference." (“There Must Be Messengers,”Ensign, Oct. 1987, 5).
It's about love and friendship, respect and charity. It's about expressing gratitude. As President Hinckley said, these are all small things and easy to do, but they make a huge difference in the lives of those whom are feeling a little lost and unloved.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son
"The parable of the prodigal son teaches us much about the nature and attributes of our Father in Heaven. Like the father in the parable, God will not control us, keep us from straying, or keep us from making selfish, foolish errors. Yet His love never diminishes. He is so anxious to have us return that He will run to us when we are still “a great way off” (Luke 15:20). He knows us so well that He can recognize our better selves when no one else can. Each of us, male or female, will be able to recognize something of ourselves in each of the sons in the parable.
We are Never Truly Lost to the Lord
The Shepherd knows His sheep.
He knows them, loves them, and welcomes them back when they stray.
May we always strive to use our agency to make choices that will lead us back to our Father in Heaven, but...if we mess up, if we make choices that lead us away from Him instead, may we always remember how the Lord feels about things that are lost. He has a plan for their salvation and redemption, and for that, I am truly grateful.
He came to heal us from sin.
There are several instances in the Bible where the Savior is asked to help someone--to perform a miracle--and the Savior obliges, but along with the miracle He makes sure to let the people know that His ability to heal us spiritually is more important than His ability to heal us physically.
Matthew 9:13 "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
While we certainly should never discount the beautiful miracles that the Savior creates in our lives, we should always recognize that the opportunity to utilize the Savior's Atonement in our lives to create change within our souls is more important than any miracle of physical healing that the Savior blesses us with.
He came to save that which was lost.
We all have those "wandering sheep" moments in our lives where we stray from the Savior and the protection that comes from honoring covenants we have made with Him. Fortunately, we have a Good Shepherd who loves us, who knows where we are at all times, and who lovingly calls to us. It's up to us to study His life and His teachings because that study will help us to recognize the voice of that Good Shepherd who is calling to us and wanting to lead us back to His fold.
John 10:11, 14, 16, 27-28 "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep...I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine...And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd...My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish..."
But I promise you, if you will say to the Savior, "Okay, Lord, I don't understand why it has to be this way, but I am putting my faith and trust in you" and then GO and DO as the Savior instructs, you will be blessed with peace and you may even be blessed with an opportunity to see things through an eternal lens and perspective.
There is always prayer.
Of course, we can always pray. No matter where we are, we can pray and God will hear our prayers. Prayer works. It can bring comfort in times of anxiety and grief. It is true that prayer cannot take all of the problems away, but prayer can help strengthen people to do the hard things that are in front of them. Yes, there is always prayer and anyone can pray.
Everywhere I turn I am hearing of another organization that is collecting donations to help our fellow Americans, and this is awesome. This is what America is about--helping and loving each other through the hard times. There are many organizations that are doing incredible things to help people in need, which brings me back to my original purpose of this post...
Why the Church?
In the October 2015 General Conference, an apostle of Jesus Christ, Elder Todd D. Christofferson, gave an outstanding message on why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needs to be. I cannot possibly say things better than Elder Christofferson did, so I am going to leave the video here for you to watch the talk in its entirety.
"There is a second major reason the Savior works through a church, His Church, and that is to achieve needful things that cannot be accomplished by individuals or smaller groups.
Disciples of Jesus Christ serve one another, they help one another, and they love one another. While it is true that this service, help, and love can be offered by each of us individually, there is no way that one person, as kind-hearted as he or she may be, could provide the necessities that people need in a crisis such as the aftermath of a hurricane. This is one of the reasons Christ organized a church in His day and it is one of the reasons why His church was restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
But you don't have to take my word for it. If you skipped over the video, I implore you to go back to it and listen to the words of an apostle of the Lord with an open heart and mind. And, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words so I would like to close this post with some recent social media posts about some of the church's humanitarian efforts.
For these reasons and so many more, this is "why the church" for me.
Yesterday was my 6-year "Cancerversary" and I didn't even post anything about it.
Which is kind of weird because I have posted something every year until this year. But I just wasn't feeling it yesterday. I thought about it being my "cancerversary". I even thought about things that I could post, but when it came down to it, I just didn't want to.
Maybe it's because I am still trying to hang on to the lazy days of summer.
Maybe it's because I was too busy living the "mom life" by doing yard work, house work, and trying to squeeze out every last drop of summer time family togetherness.
Or maybe it's because I don't really feel like counting anymore.
Or at least, I don't feel like counting the years anymore...just my blessings.
And I could spend the rest of my life counting my blessings and never run out of things to count.
That is something that the past six years have taught me, and that is something that I will spend the rest of my life talking about.
Life is hard, but life is good.
The past six years have taught me that my job as a mother is my absolute most important job...ever. Teaching my children about the Savior and His gospel, helping them to be kind and generous, loving them, and being their biggest fan...those are the things that I need to focus on. Am I perfect at it? No. Do I try hard every day? Yes.
I am a mother in a partnership with God as I have been entrusted with His children.
I have been reminded over and over again that I can do hard things when I ask for heavenly help.
I Can Do Hard Things.
I have learned that every single day I am breathing is a gift from God and that I have a purpose here on earth. Some days I forget that and those are the days when I have panic attacks and feel the anxiety creeping in. But the days that I remember the bigger picture--the eternal perspective--those are my favorite days.
Each day is a precious gift from God.
I have taken a scripture to heart that has helped me through some pretty tough times. That scripture and so many more will continue to help me as I live to not only endure this life, but enjoy it as well, no matter what lies ahead.
D&C 6:36 "Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not. Fear not."
And finally, I have learned that I am surrounded by goodness. I knew that before, but I cherish it more now. My family, my friends, my surroundings, they are all precious to me and I thank God every day for them.
There is truly beauty all around.
Yes, I have learned a lot over the past six years, but there is one thread that joins all of the lessons together.
One beautiful golden thread that is unbreakable.
All I can say is...
Where has the time gone?
Seriously! I feel like I was just beginning my school journey and now, here I am, two weeks away from graduating (from the Pathway Program, that is.)
It has been a wild, exhilarating, exhausting, humbling, and fantastic journey--one that I will cherish forever.
I will miss my Pathway group so much. As we have met on a weekly basis since September, we have learned so much about each other. It will be hard to start school this coming September knowing that I won't have my weekly Pathway gathering to attend.
But, I can do hard things, right?
And that is exactly what I will be doing as I move towards earning a Bachelor's degree through BYU-Idaho. I've got a long road ahead of me, and I cannot wait to get started.
By the time I finish this degree (hopefully in 4 years, but maybe more), I will have 2 children out of high school, one in high school, and one in junior high. This means that I definitely am not opposed to working, as long as I could find something that would allow me to work while the kids are in school. As I have prayed about this, I have one field of work that keeps sticking in my brain. What does that tell me? It's probably something that I should check into...
I feel that if I were to pursue a career, it should be as an LDS Seminary or Institute teacher. It brings a smile to my face whenever I think about it. How cool would it be to teach people about the Savior every day?
More Info about the Pathway Program
If you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, active or inactive, and have ever thought about going back to school, you must check into this program. It is inspired. It is incredible. It is life-changing. I cannot say enough wonderful things about it and I will be forever grateful to a loving Father in Heaven for making a program like this available.
June 27, 1844
"To seal the testimony of this book and the Book of Mormon, we announce the martyrdom of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and Hyrum Smith the Patriarch. They were shot in Carthage jail, on the 27th of June, 1844, about five o’clock p.m., by an armed mob—painted black—of from 150 to 200 persons. Hyrum was shot first and fell calmly, exclaiming: I am a dead man! Joseph leaped from the window, and was shot dead in the attempt, exclaiming: O Lord my God! They were both shot after they were dead, in a brutal manner, and both received four balls."
-Doctrine & Covenants 135:1
"Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.
In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain.
He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!"
-Doctrine & Covenants 135:3
It is a day that I have looked forward to since I first held him in my arms as a newborn baby. To say that I am grateful for the choices that he has made in his life that have brought him to this place would be a huge understatement. And this opportunity to go to the temple to make covenants with God was definitely his choice. Not mine. Not Mark's. Josh's choice.
So why be grateful to Joseph Smith? What role did he play in my son being able to go to the temple?
Because Joseph Smith asked a simple question,
the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to earth.
Because the gospel, in its fulness, was restored to the earth, we have temples.
Because we have temples, we can make sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father. When we honor those covenants and choose to keep those covenants, we are blessed with blessings beyond measure. True story.
And last, but certainly not least, because we have temples, families can be together forever.
Praise to the Man
To learn more about Joseph Smith, click here.
To request a FREE copy of The Book of Mormon, click here...or send me an email. I will be happy to send you one.
A post shared by Desirae Ogden (@desirae.ogden) on
If you saw my previous post then you know that I have been thinking about gratitude lately. There is an immense power in gratitude. I'm not sure we even realize how powerful it can be. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• One of the greatest powers of being "drenched in gratitude" is to be able to overcome the spirit of entitlement. "But I don't have the spirit of entitlement," you say. Ya. I said that too. Then I read a talk by Kim B Clark and my mind was blown. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• In "Drenched in Gratitude: Protection Against the Spirit of Entitlement", Elder Clark poses 5 questions, or warning signs, that will help you to see if the poison of entitlement is creeping into your soul. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 1️⃣Are you overly critical of others? Do you look down on others? 2️⃣Is the word "deserve" used frequently in your vocabulary? 3️⃣Do you care too much about indicators of status and rank? 4️⃣If you are not recognized...after doing something good--do you hear a voice inside saying, "What about me?" 5️⃣Do you ever seek special treatment for yourself? Does it happen often? ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Long story short. I am making a more concerted effort to be #drenchedingratitude . Who's with me?
A post shared by Desirae Ogden (@desirae.ogden) on
Are you interested in joining me? Here's what you can do.
Ok. Time to get down to business. I am ready to show appreciation & return some kindness. Are you with me? •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• The Challenge: Reflect on something that you are grateful for and post about it. How is this different than other Gratitude challenges? Well, it's not. Except for this...the focus is to be "drenched in gratitude over the marvelous basic blessings...even in the midst of the disappointments of the day." (Neal A Maxwell). Basic blessings. We know it's easy to list things we are grateful for when the waters of life are calm. It's when the storm is raging that it gets harder to see the beauty that surrounds us. Man, it's a good thing that #wecandohardthings , isn't it? ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• The Outcome: More joy. A greater sense of peace. The ability to stand in the midst of a tornado or two. You name it. The sky is the limit and the outcome of this challenge will be different for everyone who participates. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• I promise you this...if you take this challenge and truly look at your daily life with a #gratitudeperspective , you will see the sun through the rain. You will feel more peace in your life. You will be happy to be alive and rejoice in everything that you have. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Remember to use the hashtags #drenchedingratitude and #gratitudeperspective so that we can cheer each other on. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• If this is something that speaks to you, pass it along! This world needs more people #drenchedingratitude and less people "drenched in an exaggerated sense of entitlement" (again, Neal A Maxwell, a very smart man.). Good luck and thanks for participating!□□
A post shared by Desirae Ogden (@desirae.ogden) on
The beauty about this challenge is that there is no time limit or requirement. Post as little or as often as you like. Whenever the mood strikes you. Do it for 5 days or 100 days or more! This is YOUR challenge. This is YOUR opportunity to see a change in YOUR own life.
Share this with your family and friends. If they are not into social media, encourage them to start writing things down in a notebook or journal. It doesn't matter how it is shared. What matters is that you are striving to drench yourself in gratitude. That is where the magic happens. Good luck with your journey. I am anxious to see where this can take us!
I am loving my second chance at life.
Every day is an opportunity to do good and to be a little better than the day before.
I love being a mommy.
It's my favorite thing in this world and my most important job.
What's Happening on
Come Follow Me
Survivor Sister Scoop
Tips And Tricks
You Can Do Hard Things
All rights reserved.
All images and content are property of Desirae Ogden unless otherwise stated. You may not use images or content without express written permission.