Parable of the Pepper

parable of the pepper
Recently a beautiful friend shared her parable of the pepper. She wrote:

Parable of the Pepper
By: Susie Schnell
All of these peppers start out green. Many people, anxious to partake, pick them early when they are green and bitter. It is with time and patience that they mature, sweeten and turn into this beautiful diversity of colors.

Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. What are you doing within your families to cultivate the beautiful diversities of color?

Let Your Light Shine

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My son taught a lesson on faith for our weekly family gathering. He played his favorite song, That’s What Faith Can Do. His favorite line says “When the world says you can’t it’ll tell you that you can”.

Since that lesson I have thought a lot about that: When the world says you can’t it’ll tell you that you can. That is powerful! How many times have we heard from the world “you can’t” or “you’re not good enough”? Your faith will tell you differently.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seenHebrew 11:1. A similar statement is made in Alma, “If ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” Alma 32:21. Faith is an action. You hope for an outcome even though you don’t see it. The Bible has great examples of people who exercised faith and had a “hope for things not seen”. Esther saved her people from death. With faith she told Mordecai to go gather together all the Jews for a fast as she prepared to go see the King (Esther 4:16). Moses delivered the Israelites and parted the Red Sea. Noah built the ark. These and countless other examples shows us what faith can do!

Teaching Bible stories to my children has helped grow their faith. I remember when one of my boys was young and had lost a favorite toy. He didn’t hesitate to suggest we ask God for help. I knelt with him as he offered up a simple child’s prayer asking God to help him find his toy. The day went on when suddenly my son came running with joy holding the toy saying, “Mom God helped me find my toy!”. A lost toy is a seemingly insignificant thing, yet to a child it is anything but. This simple act of faith helped to plant a seed in my son’s heart. Fast forward years later. This same son was struggling with some things that would require his faith to overcome. The simple truths that he learned at such a young age kept him anchored to God. That’s what faith can do!

Imagine the power families of faith have! Let’s make it our goal as families to do as Russell M. Nelson said, “…increase your faith. Proclaim your faith! Let your faith show!” All that is required is a simple faith as taught in Matthew 5:25-34 – when a woman with a medical condition reached out and simply touched the hem of our Savior’s clothes. The simple faith of families can be a light in this world! Let your light shine!

By: Michelle Boulter

You’re Never Too Young To Stand Up and Be Counted

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Driving home from Las Vegas last week, our family had a wonderful learning experience. We were discussing the tragic shooting that had just taken place in Tennessee as well as the terrorist attack at Fort Hood, when I asked my 15 year old son, Rory, “How do you feel about our soldiers not carrying weapons on base?” After he finished telling us that he thought they should carry guns in order to protect themselves I said, “That’s great. Now I would like you to take my phone and find Senator Orrin Hatch in my contact list. Then I want you to call him and tell him what you just told me.” Of course, he was horrified and said that there was no way he could call a senator. However, after some encouragement and practice, he finally called Senator Hatch’s office. He also ended up calling Senator Lee and Senator Reid. It reminded me of the first time that I felt strongly enough about an issue to call our representative’s office and how terrified I was. Many years and dozens of phone calls later, I don’t get the least bit nervous. However, this experience taught me that if I want my children to be comfortable standing up for their beliefs and making their views known, I need to teach and prepare them so that it is not a frightening experience for them. Discussing issues in a family setting and roll playing conversations that they might have with their elected officials can better prepare my children to stand up and be counted!

by Kristine Wagner

A Heritage That Must Be Protected

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Our family loves camping together and sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows, telling our favorite stories and just talking about life. The biggest appeal is that there are no distractions to interfere with our time together. When we camp the focus is our family. Of course, once we get home and the car is unloaded, everyone goes their separate ways and other things distract us, causing our focus to change.

We knew that the family is the fundamental unit of society; yet we were not living in a way that reflected that truth. We were allowing other things to take priority over our family. The distractions of the world had a great influence over our behavior and attitude about our marriage and our family. Without hesitation we started making the changes necessary to put the focus back on our family. As the distractions were removed, we both began to see our children [family] as a beautiful heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). A heritage that must be protected!

The world we live in is like quicksand with constantly shifting values and beliefs. The family is being redefined and what was once normal is looked at as biased and hateful. The world is continually telling us what needs to be done to enjoy this “modern” life and “modern” family. It is more important now than ever that we gather our families together without the distractions of the outside world. Finding ways to elevate the divine role of mothers and fathers should be the priority of every parent.  We have been asked to “stand up boldly and be defenders of marriage, parenthood, and the home”. Parents are given the role of nurturing and teaching their children. It is important that the lessons taught to our children outside the home align with our views on the family as the fundamental unit of society. The family is the most important organization and everything should center in and around the family. Ezra Taft Benson said it best, “No nation ever rises above its homes”.

Our foundation within our families must be built upon our Savior Jesus Christ. “Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation….” It is important that foundational truth be worked into the tapestry of learning. Boyd K. Packer said, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.” Understanding the true doctrine of the family will strengthen us as we stand for the family. As children grow to understand true doctrine, they will have more of a desire to live worthy lives and they will grow to know and love their Father in Heaven.

by Michelle Boulter

Foundations

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In the New Testament we read how Christ taught about the importance of building on a sure foundation. He spoke of sand and how it washes away and leaves no support for our homes. But a home built on a strong foundation will outlast any storm,

47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. (Luke 6:47-49)

In the past few years, as I hear with disbelief the decisions made in federal courts, statements made by state and federal leaders, opinions of neighbors and friends, and so much more, it feels like my family’s foundation, which I thought was strong and firm, is rapidly eroding away. So much is happening so quickly that it seems every day has a new report more disturbing than the last. It’s easy to feel hopelessness and despair as the country follows a path we don’t recognize or approve of and there seems no way to turn back.

The flood waters Christ spoke of seem to be rising all around us. First they just swirled and lapped at our feet. Then they rose a bit to cover our ankles and even reach our knees. I always thought I could keep my family away from the rapids far downstream, but as the flood rises, it almost chokes us as we try to keep our heads above water. How much longer can my family hold on before we lose our footing altogether?

Yet God has promised if we follow Him, He will be there for us,

And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 1:8)

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)

It’s time to act on this promise and remind our families of their foundation of faith, prayer and God’s word. We can remind them how much these mean to us as parents and how much it can mean to them. We need to make sure their testimonies, and ours, are strong enough to withstand any teaching from the world that doesn’t conform to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to emphasize love and respect while at the same time teaching an understanding that love and respect don’t always mean agreement. We need to inspire in our children the importance of sticking together as a family and not caring what anyone else thinks of us. If we are following Christ, then nothing else matters. Courage should also be a part of our foundation: the courage to follow Christ at all costs. Obedience to God’s law is another building block necessary to a solid foundation. Gratitude should have a big role: we need to engage in active thanksgiving for all the blessings God has given us, even the smallest, most insignificant ones.

Once we have checked the foundation of our family, strengthened it, and made it safe and secure, those billowing waves won’t have nearly the effect they once did. We might feel like they’re winning, but if we “fear not,” pray always, and follow Christ, we will know what He wants us to do and we will be able to do it.

By Jennifer Jensen

Families- A Foundation for Hope

While watching the video clips my brother put together of my family and the families of my siblings, I couldn’t help but think about the beautiful role that families play in society in building a foundation of love, unity, hope and faith. I am grateful to have been born into a family where life long values and principles were taught not only through the words of my parents, but in the everyday experiences that come from being part of a family unit.

Love filled our home from the beginning. Service and sacrifice on my behalf led me to the knowledge that I was valued and cared for. The sense of belonging and being needed took root early in my life through daily chores, family meals and a variety of activities. Unselfishness and patience was a natural condition of being raised in a large family by leaning to, albeit reluctantly, look outside of myself and forgo my wants for the needs of another. Family traditions gave me a sense of stability and unity, while humor and laughter lightened difficult circumstances and brought joy to the mundane. Faith grew gradually and naturally by participating in family prayer and scripture study, but mostly in my observation of my parent’s character through times of hardship and grief.

Not everyone has family relationships or experiences that bring such joy and gratitude upon reflection. What a blessing that most people have reason to hope for a chance in this life to create their own families with the opportunity to love and parent in a way they desire. I have found that it is in this parenting that I continue to learn more valuable principles that guide my life and shape my goals and desires. Although parenthood is filled with a million moments of joy and contentment, it is in the difficult times that I tend to be tutored the most. It is in the weaknesses I have as a wife and mother that often lead me to ask for help and strength from a loving Father in Heaven. It is through that unconditional love and patience extended to me as His child that gives me a pattern to follow in my own parenting, and it is the Savior’s grace that fills me with hope when I frequently fall.

I often picture my mother by the side of her bed praying for the help that I now so often seek. The first clip of the video was made thirty years ago only a few weeks before the passing of my father. The task that was ahead of my mom in raising eleven children alone must have seemed insurmountable, yet with one foot in front of the other, and one day at a time, she drew upon the powers of heaven and confidently arose to the occasion. She could not have realized the blessings that would come to her years later because of her decision to be steadfast, rely on faith and to teach her children to do the same. Her legacy of commitment and sacrifice for her family, and her ability to draw from a foundation of hope and faith will be felt for generations to come.

Though life will bring physical, emotional, and spiritual trials to our families it is through the love, unity and faith instilled within the walls of our home that we gain a glimpse into an eternal plan which brings peace and joy today and a hope for those things yet to come. As we forge ahead we will recognize patterns in our family that point us to a loving Father in Heaven and His plan of eternal families. It is with deep reverence and humility we realize our own family’s significance to God – and that is nothing short of glorious.

by Becky Brockbank Foster

Ask Your Representative to DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD!!!

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We have all been disgusted by the recent reports of the atrocities conducted by Planned Parenthood upon the most innocent of all humans. We have been silent for much too long, abortion should never have been allowed to be legal in our country and we have to make sure it ends NOW! Please contract your Senator and Congressman and let them know that they will be held accountable if they do not do EVERYTHING in their power to defund Planned Parenthood NOW!

Here is a form letter that you may copy and paste as you contact your representatives. Our message must be firm, clear and united!
Follow these links to find the contact list for all Senators and Congressmen.

Dear Senator ________ (or Congressman ____________),

I am writing to you regarding Planned Parenthood. When Congress returns to Washington D.C. this fall, it is imperative that they defund this organization at the very next opportunity. Americans will no longer put up with our hard-earned money being used to fund abortions, an act that I find morally reprehensible. It is NOT the proper role of government to fund the killing of innocent, unborn babies, even when conveniently labeled as “women’s health care”. In light of the recent videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, I find it especially outrageous for our government to fund an organization that sells dissected fetal tissue. How can such a morbid and evil practice exist in a God-fearing nation – and be funded with taxpayer money?
Funding of Planned Parenthood must end, and it must end immediately. I believe life is precious and must be treated as such. I will expect to see you take a leading role on this issue when you return to Congress in September.

Sincerely,