Sometimes I wish I was born on a farm. =) Actually, I wouldn’t change pretty much anything about my childhood years (I have pretty amazing parents!) But sometimes I wish I could have grown up with the wisdom of farmers who know and love their land, trees and animals. I have to rely on the internet when I need to diagnose my chicken’s illness, when I want to learn about growing berries, and when I need to prune a tree.
I’ve pruned trees a few times, but I still read up a bit before I started in on the one in the front yard. Then, armed with shears and a ladder, I started snipping.
I was going to clean up my huge pile of branches right away, but I was distracted by the yelling from the kitchen (the boys found two black bricks in the oven- oops. I forgot I was baking banana bread. Oh well.)
The next afternoon when I went to clear the branches, I couldn’t believe the difference in the branches on the ground verses the branches on the tree. In less than 24 hours, the branches on the tree looked like this:
And the branches on the ground looked like this:
In such a short time since being severed from their source of growth, the branches withered and shriveled.
Beautiful and thriving when connected, ruined and spoiled when detached.
Jesus said it this way:
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered… (John 15:5-6)
The difference between us and the tree is that God has given us the choice if we want to be connected to His Tree. My tree branches didn’t have a choice, I cut them off from their source of water and nutrients. But we are different. We choose each day -each moment- if we want to be connected to His nourishment.
What do you do to connect yourself to the Great Gardener?
In this most recent General Conference, the analogy of hearing the music of the gospel resonated with me. How beautiful to think of the joy of the gospel as the music to which we can dance. Elder Andersen said:
The dance steps require discipline, but the joy of the dance will be experienced only when we come to hear the music. (The Music of the Gospel)
When we are connected to the Lord, we will hear the music of the gospel. We will feel the replenishing strength of a true disciple of Christ. We will feel rejuvenated by His love and thrive under His constant watch-care.
We are the branches of the Great Advocate. He sends His healing waters to us. Choosing to stay connected to Him is choosing ‘peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come.’ (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23)
Thank you for the thousands of people who took the time to read about my daughter Eve last week. I felt so grateful that so many people thought about her on her birthday. Love to you all <3
S: (Prayer/Ask) Why does God ask us to connect ourselves to Him? What ways does He give us to establish this connection?
- Here is another portion of Elder Andersen’s talk:
…we must keep our own lives attuned to the correct spiritual frequency. Back in the olden days, before the digital age, we found our favorite radio station by carefully turning the radio dial until it lined up perfectly with the station’s frequency. As we approached the number, we could hear only static. But when we finally made the precise alignment, our favorite music could be heard clearly. In our lives, we have to align with the correct frequency in order to hear the music of the Spirit.
When we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism, we are filled with the heavenly music that accompanies conversion. Our hearts are changed, and we “have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). But the Spirit will not endure unkindness or pride or envy. If we lose that delicate influence in our lives, the rich harmonies of the gospel can quickly become dissonant and can ultimately be silenced. Alma asked the poignant question: “If ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26).
- Elder Eyring says it beautifully and simply:
- These verses in 2 Nephi remind us who chooses our connection to be strong or severed. Look closely how Jacob teaches us our role and the Lord’s role.
Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
- What analogy can you think of to describe your connection with heaven? To think of your own personal analogy, think of things you are interested in or that you spend a lot of your time with. For example, if you love your cell phone, you could ponder how your cell phone only works if you’ve charged it 😉 Or if you love to cook with the exact recipe, think how the recipe book keeps you close to the perfect, intended way.
- Unlike the branches on my tree, why has God given us the choice to be attached or detached? What consequences, for better or for worse, does this bring?
- How quickly do we start dying spiritually when we become disconnected with the Lord? Why?
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question:Why does God ask us to connect ourselves to Him? What ways does He give us to establish this connection?)
- Write down three things you do that always help you establish a connection with the Lord. (For example, singing a hymn, journal writing, prayer, a kind act, scripture study, etc)
- Write down three things that sever your connection. (For example, wasting time on the internet, yelling, mean thoughts, pushing away a thought of a good deed you could do, doubting the Lord, etc)
- Copy down your favorite verse from John 15 into your scripture journal. Consider memorizing it.
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: For 24 hours, make a concentrated effort to stay connected to the Lord in the specific ways you’ve studied during this s’more. And, for extra credit, share your own analogy with someone else! 😉
click here for more information on s’more scripture study method