Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Spirit of God by William W. Phelps

The Spirit of God

The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
The latter-day glory begins to come forth;
The visions and blessings of old are returning,
And angels are coming to visit the earth.

We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

The Lord is extending the Saints' understanding,
Restoring their judges and all as at first.
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst.

We'll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,
To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,
That we through our faith may begin to inherit
The visions and blessings and glories of God.

How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion
Shall lie down together without any ire,
And Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion,
As Jesus descends with his chariot of fire!

We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

--William W. Phelps

I am one of the leaders for our Ward's Activity Days program (girls 8-12).  Every so often we have a Show and Share night so the parents can see what the girls have been doing. When we planned the activity we had tonight, it was supposed to be in March, so I suggested that for our theme we could do Lions and Lambs.  On one hand, there's the little saying about March, the it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and on the other hand, there's plenty of Christian symbolism to lions and lambs, especially if we were going to do it just before Easter.

Well, with several Wards meeting in our building, there are serious scheduling issues, and we couldn't get the gym until tonight.  That meant that the March part of the theme was toast, but since nobody felt like coming up with a new theme we just went with "And the Lion shall lie down with the lamb." 

I had two assignments.  The first was to do centerpieces for the tables.  I thought it would be really cute to just gather up all of the lion and lamb toys we have around the house, and arrange them artfully.  I knew that Lizbeth had a lot of little lambs, because she likes them almost as much as kitties.  I got a couple of big lions for 50 cents each at the DI, and then went through the toy boxes to pull out the other random ones we had. I put them all in one of the big boxes that bulk diapers come in, and it was full to overflowing by the time I was done, and I know of several that never made it into the box.  With the Easter grass and plastic eggs that we also decided to use even though Easter was weeks ago, it really looked good.

My other assignment was to give a short lesson talking about the theme and why we had chosen it.  Since I actually typed up what I was going to say beforehand, I thought I'd post it here for you to read.  I wanted to fit in something about Aslan in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I couldn't gind the right place for it.  I could also have mentioned Lambert the Sheepish Lion, but that just would have been silly. I only mentioned in passing the stories in 1 Kings 13 and 1 Kings 20 where people are eaten by lions, but if, like certain of my brothers, you enjoy reading really odd Old Testament stories, they're worth looking at.  Anyway, here it is:

I've been asked to talk a little bit today about our theme: The lamb shall lie down with the lion.

We sing about it in the hymn The Spirit of God: How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion shall lie down together without any ire.

Scripturally, it comes from a passage in Isaiah chapter 11 verse 6 where he's talking about the peace that will come after the wars and Judgement Day at the end of the world: The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

When I looked that up, I was surprised -- there are a lot of animals mentioned in that verse, and though the lion and lamb are both there, they aren't particularly close together, and yet in the song, and all kinds of Christian art, they're the two animals shown lying down together in peace in the millenium.

After doing a bit more searching, I found that the connection came from another prophecy about the end of the world, this one in Revelation chapter 5. Sitting there by God's throne, John sees a book that's sealed with seven seals. It's called the Book of Life, and everything everybody has done is written inside so they can be judged. But John is sad because there's nobody worthy to open the book and read what's inside. Then in vs 5 it says, And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain... 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

So here in John's vision, in one verse, Jesus is called the Lion of The Tribe of Judah, and in the next, He's suddenly called the Lamb.

We're used to thinking of Jesus as the Lamb of God. At Easter we remember how as part of His great atoning sacrifice, He fulfilled the Law of Moses by allowing Himself to be sacrificed as the Passover Lamb to meet the demands of Justice and forgive all our sins if we would repent. John the Baptist said, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29). When the Angel is explaining Nephi's vision of the Tree of Life in 1 Ne 13, he constantly refers to Jesus as The Lamb or The Lamb of God.

And it's easy to see how he's like a lamb: Meek, Pure, Innocent, in Isaiah 53, it says, 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

The lion is a bit harder at first, but becomes easier to see as you look more closely. A lion is known as the ‘king of beasts’ He is majestic and strong. These two characteristics in themselves can be applied to the Lord. In ancient days, the King was the one who made the laws, and often acted as the top judge in the land as well (think of King Solomon and his famous wisdom in judgement).

In the Old Testament, Lions are often a symbol of God's Justice. Some people are killed by Lions after disobeying the prophets, and other prophets talked about Babylon and Assyria coming to take the Children of Israel into captivity as ravening lions. The most famous Lion story is about Daniel. Because he obeyed God's law, and even the king knew that the law of the land was unjust, the lions that were the instrument of justice had no power to devour Daniel.

Christ is the King of Kings, and therefore, the only one qualified to open the book and sit down and Judge everybody on Judgement Day. It's interesting though, that when he does it in Revelation, He's called the Lamb. One of the great problems with God's plan was that everybody who came to Earth would sin, and no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. Alma says, in chapter 42 vs 25 What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God. But because Christ, the only perfect, unblemished, innocent Child of God was willing to suffer and die for our sins, the demands of Justice were satisfied, and He could be merciful at Judgement Day.

And if you go back to Isaiah 11, where this whole journey started, you'll see that that's really what that chapter is all about. It talks about how he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:  4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

He's the perfect Judge. On one hand he's merciful to those that try to be righteous, and on the other hand, those that are truly wicked and oppress others will be destroyed. At that point, Justice and Mercy don't have to be at odds any more.

The question we should ask ourselves now that we know all this, is which side of Jesus do I want ot see at Judgement Day? Do I want to meet to Lion, who will judge me guilty for every thoughtless thing I've done, or do I want to meet the Lamb of God, who has already paid the price for my sins and will forgive me if I repent and do as He commands?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A-tisket. A-tasket as sung by Ella Fitzgerald

A-tisket. a-tasket
A-tisket, a-tasket,
A green and yellow basket
I bought a basket for my mom
And on the way I dropped it
I dropped it, I dropped it
Yes, On the way I dropped it
A little girlie picked it up
And took it to the market
She was truckin' on down the avenue,
Without a single thing to do
She was peck-peck-peckin all around
When she spied it on the ground
A tisket. A-tasket
She took my yellow basket
And if she doesn't bring it back
I think that I shall die
(Was it red?) no,no,no,no,
(Was it brown?) no,no,no,no,
(Was it blue?) no,no,no,no,
Just a little yellow basket
--Anonymous nursery rhyme (as sung by Ella Fitzgerald)
Here's another long post full of facebook updates with some photos and videos thrown in.  Feel free to skim.
  • Feb 22 Elizabeth has figured out that singing a song means having sustained notes, and not just reciting the lyrics. She has not figured out how to carry anything like a tune yet though. That means that Mama gets to listen to Aaaa-Beeee-Ceee-Deee-Eeee-Fff-Geeee! and Puuuut Heeeerrrr iiinn aaaaa pumkiiiin sheeeelllll annnnd ...theeeeereee heee keeept herrrr veee-ryyyy weeeelllll in a very loud monotone for hours on end today.

  • Feb 22 By dinner time Elizabeth's stream of consciousness had degraded to "Diddle diddle diddile blablablablablablabla Blah!!!! lalalalalalalal bl-ey-bl-ey-bl-ey!" Will I never hear silence again?
  • Feb 24 Lizbeth quote of the day: "I want a credit card too!"
  • Feb 25 Lizbeth was playing with my jewelry while I got dressed and brushed my hair after a shower. When I finished and put the brush away, Lizbeth looked at me in the big mirror and said, "Mama -- how pretty she is!" Some days I don't mind when she talks.
  • Feb 26 Elizabeth keeps saying, "Patient song! Patient song 'gin Mama! I want the patient song!" Can you say ironic? (click the link to hear the song she means) looking at the words now, I realize I've been singing it wrong -- I sing the last line as "Love and help each other be patient kind and true." So that''s where the "patient" comes from.
  • Feb 28 Lizbeth's latest non-sequiter: "Hooray! I'm happy. Hooray for Lizbeth."
    ok, so she then went on to quote one of her favorite passages from the book All My Little Ducklings -- "Pitter patter scatter" -- four or five times, then suddenly shouted, "Oh! Oh my!...said Lizbeth" and when that got laughs, she said it a few more times, complete with dialogue tags.
  • Mar 4 Elizabeth has been deciding more and more often recently that she just doesn't want to wear clothes. She'd rather go around naked and snuggle with super-soft micro fiber blankets. How do you explain modesty to a two year old?
  • Mar 4 Showed Elizabeth some of Mary Poppins tonight for the first time. Bored by Mr. Banks' song, entranced by the chalk drawing sequence, and rubbing her eyes and yawning during Stay Awake. I think we've got a winner.
  • Mar 6 I think Elizabeth ate three bites of her dinner tonight, and no amount of cajoling would convince her to eat any more. The rest got spat out, played with and thrown on the floor. Needless to say we're a bit grumpy this evening.
  • Mar 9 When Lizbeth stripped naked and started rolling in blankets today, Grandma offered to make pants and shirt from a blanket so she could stay dressed and still feel the super soft stuff on her skin. Lizbeth danced with glee at the idea. And though she pulled the pants and shirt up and down to get the feeling of it over... and over, she did stay dressed for the rest of the day! :)
    In this video, taken Apr 3rd, she is wearing the blanket pajamas and playing with her blue blanket. This is a game Elizabeth made up today. She put the blanket on her head and said she looked like a baby (since that's how I swaddle dolls). Then she said, "and I have two wings like a bee!" and was so impressed by the idea that she played baby bumblebee for about an hour, buzzing, dancing, and repositioning her blanket wings and hood.

    Another cute photo of the baby bumblebee in blanket pajamas

  • Mar 14 Lizbeth woke up crying hysterically. When I went in to comfort her it took a couple of minutes just to stop and breathe. I asked her what she was dreaming about and for the first time, she was able to give me an answer: "It was a frog." what was the frog doing? "It was hopping out of an egg." she tells me it wasn't scary, but it wasn't happy and it wasn't fun either.
  • Mar 17 had a long busy exhausting day. Kept Elizabeth happy and energized with gummi bears. The zoo was great, and Elizabeth is finally going down slides again. Wore my leprochaun socks, but ate Indian for dinner (sorry St. Pat!).
    Our trip to the zoo was a lot of fun. It was the first really warm springy day we'd had that we actually got to go outside for a long time. Elizabeth had a lot of energy and spent a lot of time running around on the playground, doing things she had been timid about all winter.
    This is about her third time up this rope ladder. The first time she needed a lot of help, but she quickly gained confidence and skill.

    At the bottom of the rope ladder

    At the top of the rope ladder

    At the top of the twirly slide. Notice what the static does to her hair.

    Trying to get a cute Easter greetings photo. This is the best one we got. I have about 20 of the top of her head or with her climbing in or out or looking away from me.

    Enjoying the snake slide. You have to go up a couple of flights of stairs to get to the top of this slide, and Lizbeth enjoyed it so much she went five or more times in a row.

    In the turtle shell
  • Mar 18 Grandpa Roly was watching the BYU game while Elizabeth ate lunch. She paid particular attention to how he sat on the edge of his chair and yelled at the screen. When he went to change the laundry, she climbed up in his chair and started shouting, "Yes! No! Yes! No! Okay! Whoops! Nuts!"
  • Mar 18 I clipped Elizabeth's fingernails this morning. As we were heading downstairs for naptime after lunch, she looked at her stuffed kitty and said, "Clip kitty's ears. Clip kitty's nose nails." I said, we have fingernails and toenails, but no nose nails!" She looked at me smiling at her, tapped my teeth with her finger... and said, "Mama has mouth nails!"
  • Mar 24 We were talking with Lizbeth about the new baby sister that's coming this summer, and I asked her, "do you know where Baby Sister is right now?" Lizbeth thought for a moment and answered, "At the DI?"
  • Mar 26 RemoveKaren Stay Ahlstrom Said, "Do you want to pick out a shirt?" Lizbeth said, Kitty wants to pick out a shirt. She has hands for picking out." Then using the kitty's paws as pincers, she grabbed a shirt out of her drawer. "Oooohhh! Kitty picked out a lovely shirt!" she said as I put it on her. After breakfast, when she picked up the kitty ...again, she said, "Oh Kitty, Look at this beautiful shirt."
  • Mar 26 Driving home from a long day of shopping, Elizabeth kicked off her boots and socks and was making wired singing noises in the back seat. When she giggled at something she had said, I thought I ought to pay attention. This is what I heard: "This little kitty had roast beef, this little kitty had none. This little kitt...y went wee wee wee all the way home. I said the piggies were kitties. That's funny! Ha ha ha!"
  • Mar 27 I asked Peter, who is working on a tight deadline, "Are you playing catchup or getting ahead on work right now?" Peter answered, "I'm not getting ahead." Lizbeth said, "Daddy is getting ahead. Daddy has Daddy's head." as if this should be obvious to anyone with eyes.
  • Mar 28 Today in nursery they gave Elizabeth cutouts of Jesus, the tomb, and a stone to block the door. Much of Sacrament meeting was spent rolling away the stone and letting Jesus come out. Good Job Church Curriculum Department! :)
  • Mar 28 Just before we went upstairs for lunch today, somebody started a music box that played, "I'd like to teach the world to sing." It reminded Elizabeth of the Happy Birthday song which she insisted we sing to her. When we got upstairs and put her in her chair, she said, in an injured tone of voice, "We have no cake!"
  • Mar 30 Peter posted this video of Lizbeth on Brandon's facebook pages and got tons of funny comments from his fans

    My two-year-old finds some of the manuscript of THE WAY OF KINGS by Brandon Sanderson (turn up volume).
  • Mar 31 Tonight, Elizabeth fell into the too-hungry-to-be-rational-enough-to-put-on-a-bib-sit-in-her-chair-and-eat-something trap. I managed to get a little beef and barley stew and applesauce into her after much weaping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then I tried to see what else she might be interested in. I began with some old standby favorites.
    "Do you want some frozen peas?" I asked.
    "No" she answered.
    "Do you want some turkey?" I asked.
    "Nooo" She answered.
    "Do you want some ham?" she asked.
    "Do you want some ham?" I asked, playing along, hoping that she really did.
    "Noooooo" she answered.
    "Do you want some roast beef?" she asked.
    "Noo-oo-ooo" she answered herself.
    "Do you want some barley and potatoes? Noooooo"
    "Do you want some Applesauce? Nooooo"
    "Do you want some milk? Nooo"

    By this time, all I could do was sit and giggle at her. Peter got out his phone to take video, but toddlers are quantum creatures, and recording them changes their behavior, and she started hamming it up for the camera:

    "Do you want some ham? Nooo"
    "Do you want some ham Daddy? No"
    "Do you want some ham Daddy? No"
    "Do you want some ham Daddy? No"
    "Do you want some ham Daddy? No"

    And that was all we could get out of her until she asked if Daddy wanted some frozen peas, which he did, so then she decided she did too, and eating resumed.
  • Apr 1 Tonight Lizbeth demanded a new song entitled "Jesus has a Blue Blanket" After she rejected the slightly modified "Jesus Jesus Rest your head, you have got a blue blanket" I sang the following: Jesus has a Blue Blanket, Blue Blanket, Blue blanket. Jesus has a Blue Blanket, and He shares it with Lizbeth. When I finished, Lizbeth sighed contentedly and said, "Yes. He shares it with Lizbeth." I justified it doctrinally by saying that everything we have comes from Heavenly Father and Jesus, and we're thankful that they made such a wonderful world with good things like Mamas, Daddies and Blue Blankets in it.
These were taken on Palm Sunday. Mom is out of town helping Heather with her new baby, and was disappointed not to see the Amaryllis bloom. So these shots are for her.

Here's our Easter Secular Saturday celebration photos:
Dying eggs

Drawing on eggs

Smile for the camera!

Here is a long video of Elizabeth's Easter Egg hunt. We all had a lot of fun dying eggs, then hiding and searching for them with Elizabeth. It was especially cute when whoever was searching wasn't fast enough to find the eggs she had hidden, so she picked them up and put them in their basket herself.

If you're wondering how my life is going, I'm feeling more and more pregnant (30 weeks now) and getting more and more annoyed at people who tell me I'm so tiny.  It's hard to sleep, and hard to walk, and hard to sit, and I'm pretty sure my hip got dislocated for about a day.  I am in pretty good spirits most of the time, though with Mom gone and Peter working long hours, I'm feeling rather isolated and anxious and getting frustrated with Elizabeth more easily.  I'm really enjoying our ward's quilting group, and we've been having more friends come over to play with Lizbeth lately, so that helps some too.  I've been looking at apartments and rental units so we can move closer to Peter's work, and out of Mom and Dad's basement, but I only found one that really looked like someplace that I'd want to move to on purpose, and it got rented to somebody else, so that's on hold again for a while.

Well, that's all for now.  See you in about a month, unless I get around to writing about Elizabeth's favorite games (as I've been meaning to do for about a week now).