Didn’t finish reading, but come up with a plan on Saturdays to prepare for Sacrament on Sundays. God has a plan in place already for us. We need to embrace it and organize our lives to accept and embrace his plan for us.
There is such a strong spirit about what I am studying this morning. I cannot tell its purpose yet. As I read about the Lord telling Abraham to get thee out of the land of his father’s inheritance, this resonates deeply and strongly within me. This is much more to learn here.
Thinking more on Ephraim and the covenants promised to his house. The fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant would not be realized until our day. The Book of Mormon is what teaching about the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.
3 Nephi 29:3, “ye need not imagine in your hearts that the words which have been spoken are vain, for behold, the Lord will remember his covenant which he hath made”
In 3 Nephi 20:29-34, it talk about the restoration of the house of Israel. An evidence of their restoration will be their conversion to the Gospel of Christ, and particularly in the manner of their prayers: “and shall pray unto the Father in my name.”
It seems to me as I consider it this morning, that in their prayers will be revealed a key to their restoration.
A couple of thoughts
- the creation of the earth was a process of nurturing.
- The most important skill that we can acquire in this life is “the ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation…” (quote from Julie B. Beck)
Is the Gospel working for me? Is my experience in the Church working or me? Is it blessing me and my family with the peace and joy as promised in the Gospel?
Pres. Uchtdorf’s testimony to follow up on these questions is very similar to my own personal conviction about the effectiveness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
I know firsthand how the gospel can invigorate and renew one’s spirit—how it can fill our hearts with hope and our minds with light. I know for myself how the fruits of the gospel of Jesus Christ can transform lives from the ordinary and dreary to the extraordinary and sublime.
So the question is why does it seem to work better for some more than others? “What is the difference between those whose experience in the Church fills their souls with songs of redeeming love2 and those who feel that something is lacking?”
Two suggestions to making the Gospel work for each of us:
Essence of the Gospel is this:
Hearing the word of God with earnest intent leads us to believe in God and to trust His promises.3
The more we trust God, the more our hearts are filled with love for Him and for each other.
Because of our love for God, we desire to follow Him and bring our actions in alignment with His word.
Because we love God, we want to serve Him; we want to bless the lives of others and help the poor and the needy.
The more we walk in this path of discipleship, the more we desire to learn the word of God.
Second, Start Where You Are
Day two of studying this talk/topic. On day one, I didn’t really feel it was for me. But on day two, I’m considering my family relationships, and how the Gospel doesn’t seem to be working for my family or in my relationships with my family members.
Remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and to depend upon Christ. We don’t need to be “more” of anything to become whom God wants us to become.
Ingredients for change:
- A willing heart
- A desire to believe
- Trust in the Lord
BT- As I am contemplating all of this, it seems that in my own life there are two different levels of conversion, one is of my personal habits and disciplines, the other is in my outward expression of faith towards others, primarily towards my own family, but this later level of conversion also deals with all external relationships. I am not nearly as Christ-like towards others as I desire to be.
Just re-read this talk on priesthood and personal prayer and there are passages that I want to commit the principles to memory:
This is what I’ve learned: God is not interested in long prayers. Rather He is interested in specific prayers, and us knowing what we should be praying for.
“Ye worship ye know not what… Salvation is of the Jews.”
Here are the paragraphs that I need to come back to:
So you will pray for the way to know their hearts, to know what things are amiss in the lives and the hearts of people whom you don’t know well and who are not anxious to have you know them. You will need to know what God would have you do to help them and to do it all, as nearly as you can, feeling God’s love for them.
It is because you have such important and difficult priesthood calls that President Smith suggests that when you pray, you always plead with God that He will bless you with His Spirit. You will need the Holy Ghost not once but as much as God will grant it to you for your constant companion. That is why we must always pray that God will guide us in our service to His children.
Because you cannot rise to your priesthood potential without the Spirit going with you, you are a personal target for the enemy of all happiness. If he can tempt you to sin, he can lessen your power to be led by the Spirit and so reduce your power in the priesthood. That is why President Smith said that you should always pray that God will warn and protect you from evil.6
He warns us in many ways. Warnings are part of the plan of salvation. Prophets, apostles, stake presidents, bishops, and missionaries all raise the warning voice to escape calamity through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and making and keeping sacred covenants.
As a priesthood holder, you are to be part of the warning voice of the Lord. But you need to heed the warning yourself. You will not survive spiritually without the protection of the companionship of the Holy Ghost in your daily life.
You must pray for it and work to have it. Only with that guide will you be able to find your way along the strait and narrow path through the mists of evil. The Holy Ghost will be your guide as He reveals truth when you study the words of prophets.
Getting that guidance will take more than casual listening and reading. You will need to pray and work in faith to put the words of truth down into your heart. You must pray that God will bless you with His Spirit, that He will lead you into all truth and show you the right way. That is how He will warn and guide you into the right path in your life and in your priesthood service.
In this talk, I’ve learned that I struggle with this particular challenge to make sure that I am facing the right way. Both in my personal ministering and in professional/business activities.
The reason for which Christ told those that received miracles at his hand to “tell no man” was to avoid as much as possible the fame and praise of the world.
We seek for approval from God, not of man. This feels so right and true! There is not a media institution in the world that subscribes to this truth.
Applying the formula of faith to this talk:
- Hearing the word of God, finding points of action
- Taking action to experiment upon the words heard
- Sharing what I’ve learned as a result of that action
Men and women are shaped partly by those among whom they choose to live. Those to whom they look up and try to emulate also shape them. Jesus is the great Exemplar. The only way to find lasting peace is to look to Him and live.
Action Item: Make a list of admirable attributes from the life of the Savior. Maybe focus on ten distinct attributes.
A steward managing the field must, with all his or her power, nourish that which is good and make it so strong and beautiful the tares will have no appeal either to the eye or the ear.
Action Item: Build up your wife, and each of your children. Build up each and everyone around you. Always build up, never tear down.
How blessed are we as members of the Lord’s Church to have the precious gospel of our Lord and Savior as a foundation on which we can build our lives.
Action Item: Discuss ways with my children on how we can as individuals and as a family build our foundation on “the precious gospel of our Lord and Savior.”
A couple of quotes that really stand out to me in this rally cry of a conference talk:
“The scriptures provide one of the best ways to find our course and stay on it. Scriptural knowledge also provides precious protection.”
“In 1986, President Thomas S. Monson said: ‘Of course we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. … Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with [faith] have courage as well.'”
(Eyeing, Henry B., April 2013, General Conference, Saturday Morning Session)
I’ve reviewed this talk this morning from last general conference in my quest to follow the Savior. President Eyering talks at great lengths about the Savior, highlighting the exchanges He had with his disciples following His resurrection. This quote best articulates his talk:
Every covenant servant of His within His kingdom on earth and in the spirit world will receive His guidance by the Spirit as they bless and serve others for Him. And they will feel His love and find joy in being drawn closer to Him.
My brothers and sisters, I declare to you, however, that there is nothing which can bring more joy into our lives or more peace to our souls than the Spirit which can come to us as we follow the Savior and keep the commandments. That Spirit cannot be present at the kinds of activities in which so much of the world participates. (Pres. Thomas S. Monson, General Conference, October 2011, Sunday Morning Session)
I passed over the full implication of this statement in the first reading. Many activities that have to do with money and how to spend it, how to beautify one’s self, and one’s surroundings.
I like the quote from CS Lewis where he talks about how our charitable contributions should cause us to experience a degree of discomfort or sacrifice. (Find the quote.) I also like the assurance recently offered by Pres. Eyering who reminded me of the words of other inspired leaders:
President Marion G. Romney said of welfare work, “You cannot give yourself poor in this work.” And then he quoted his mission president, Melvin J. Ballard, this way: “A person cannot give a crust to the Lord without receiving a loaf in return.”
I have found that to be true in my life. When I am generous to Heavenly Father’s children in need, He is generous to me.
A second gospel principle that has been a guide to me in welfare work is the power and blessing of unity. When we join hands to serve people in need, the Lord unites our hearts. President J. Reuben Clark Jr. put it this way: “That giving has … brought … a feeling of common brotherhood as men of all training and occupation have worked side by side in a Welfare garden or other project.”
(Pres. Henry B. Eyering, General Conference, April 2011, Saturday Morning Session)
To Do: I am reminded of the importance of studying and understanding welfare principles. I need to become better minded in these matters.