Notes from GenCon Oct15: It Works Wonderfully!

It Works Wonderfully! by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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:

First, Simplify

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:

  1. A willing heart
  2. A desire to believe
  3. 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.

Notes from CES Devotional: True Millenials

January 2016 CES Devotional – Pres. Russell M. Nelson

President  Nelson:

  1. Learn your true identity and purpose –  Pray about who you really are.
  2. Expect and Prepare to Accomplish the Impossible – The Lord will ask you to do difficult things.  Best efforts and fervent prayers.  It will become less and less popular to be a latter-day saint.  Keep covenants with increasing precision. The Lord will bless you with strength
  3. Learn how to access the power of heaven – Learn best by asking inspired questions. Make your home a holy place where you can escape the distractions of the world.  Give the Lord a generous portion of your time, and he will multiply the rest.
  4. Follow the prophets – Pres. Kimball invited regional reps to learn Mandarin.  Prophets see ahead. They see the dangers that the adversary will place in our path. You may not like what you hear from the prophets.

Born to be true Millenials. Here to do a remarkable work: prepare the world for the 2nd Coming of the Savior.

Power

In each of my different sets of studies (Book of Mormon – English, Book of Mormon – Spanish, and misc.), I’ve been brought to consider “the Power” that made each happen.  The power of Christ or priesthood power or whatever we want to call God’s power by which all things are accomplished, is the thing that I am being brought to consider which ever way I turn.  Why? Why especially at Christmas time?

For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men… (Mosiah 3:5)

Power was given to Christ to go forth among men to heal them.  This is the purpose of his power – to do good.

In Genesis 32:28, it reads that Jacob wrestled with an angel, and then finally obtained from him a blessing: “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”  Perhaps it is the fact that Jacob wrestled all night to receive the blessings he sought.

Exodus 9:16  – “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

What kinds of promise is this?  Does God intend to make me this kind of instrument? How is this possible?

We go on: “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27)

“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” (Micah 3:8)

“Thy Will Is Done,” JST Matthew 27:54

JST Matthew 27:54 (click on footnote)

“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, saying, Father, it is finished, thy will is done, yielded up the ghost.” (emphasis added)

It impresses me that it was the Father’s will to have an Atonement made by one who would do so in love.

The temptation is to ask why would a loving Father want to do this horrific act to His Son, but then it seems to me that this is not about his Son, it’s really about the rest of us. All of his other children.  The Father was willing to take his one perfect child and sacrifice and subject him to this unspeakable suffering, torture, torment, and death, to save the rest of us. So it’s not about Christ, it’s about the rest of us. It was the Father’s will to save us. And Christ was the one who was willing to do it, and did it.

I’m use to hearing the words “Thy will be done” from the Lord’s prayer on the sermon on the mount. But here is the Savior, with power and authority (even on the cross) declaring “Thy will is done,” because he did it!

Priesthood and Personal Prayer

Just re-read this talk on priesthood and personal prayer and there are passages that I want to commit the principles to memory:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/priesthood-and-personal-prayer?lang=eng

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.

Sacrament Meeting Notes, 2 Aug 2015

From a ward on the east end of Springville, Utah – Testimony Meeting Highlights

Tom blessed his baby, Matt

Story of the old truck. Two teen boys wrote on truck, “save me, I’m a good truck” so it is with many of us.

Aisain sister read in the scriptures “jesus is my son.” God testifies of his son.

“I am blessed to know that this church is true, despite the opinions of others. ” Amanda’s little brother.

 

Family Gospel Teaching Plan

Yesterday’s fast ended with a prayer and a plead to remember what I had learned in the fast.  The fast was centered on the spiritual well being of my children. My wife also has the responsibility of taking into her own hands their spiritual preparation. That responsibility is also mine fully. It’s not happening though.

The children need gospel instruction according to the plan of salvation, and the things that Christ taught. Rachel needs to be trained. I need to be self-trained. I need to develop a plan to see that Gospel instruction, and gospel centered invitations are being taught and received.

I want to tackle the task of teaching youth the Gospel plan.

To do: Meet with Rachel to discuss a Gospel Teaching plan based  on invitations to act, with follow up on invitations.

The Purpose of the Church

The purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ is to serve as a vehicle for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Without the teachings of the Gospel of Christ being applied in the lives of the members of the Church, the Church has no purpose. It becomes a mere social organization.

We could also say that the Church of Jesus Christ only works for those who are following the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.  For those who are honest, they will find honesty among the members. For those who are forgiving, they will find forgiveness.  For those who are willing to repent, they will find priesthood power and authority to complete the cleansing process, and to recommit by covenant to follow the Savior and his teachings.

The Church is a perfect vehicle for living the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will give you opportunities to develop your faith,  give service freely, and ultimately obtain salvation.

Yet as divinely designed as it is, the Church doesn’t seem to work for everyone.  In fact, the effect that it has upon some people is so offensive that it repels them from wanting to have any part with its organization as a whole or its individual members.  For example, for those who lie, they will think that they are being lied to in the Church. For those who are hypocritical, they will encounter what they deem to be hypocrisy in the Church. Adulterers would seek for signs.  What ever the unrighteousness, they will be affected by it.  By and by, they are offended and they leave the Church.

For those who would cleave to  and persist in their own pride and selfishness, the Church will always be to them a thing of great offense, a stumbling block that just seems to keep getting in the way of their fun. It will never work for them.  Yet there are those who, clinging to their selfish sense of self, will try to continue to be associated with the Church and its members. These are socialites.  That is, these are people  “who [are] well known in fashionable society and [are] fond of social activities and entertainment.”

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that the Church should exclude anyone from participating in its activities and programs. But those who are not truly converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and try to participate in the church for some other reason, will eventually find themselves offended because of something somebody said or something somebody did.  The social, intellectual, or emotional  appeal will wear off. Their own lack of spiritual preparations at that point will become painfully apparent as it leaves them empty with nothing to hold on to.

“Mormonism,” as true Christianity, “subdues selfishness, regulates the passions, subordinates the appetites, quickens the intellect, exalts the affections. It promotes industry, honesty, truth, purity, kindness. It humbles the proud, exalts the lowly, upholds the law, favors liberty, is essential to it, and would unite men in one great brotherhood.” (Quoted by Pres. David O. McKay, Conference Report, Apr. 1927, 105.)

 

 

FHE – The Sabbath Day

Yesterday was actually a good day for Sabbath Day observance, everyone did at least two or three things that helped them to keep the Sabbath Day holy.

Emma – Went to Church, she got the LDS Youth App on her Ipod, and she spent time with the family in the evening.

Aaron – Also spent time with the family in the evening yesterday, he listened to a couple of conference talks in the morning, and he also wrote and sent an email to friend.

Dallin – Went about being a secret sibling yesterday evening, he also listened to conference talks by the prophet, and he began learning some church songs on the piano.

Joseph – Helped others to make a cake for the family, he listened to Dad read from the Book of Mormon at the end of the day, and looking at family photos yesterday.

Jacob – Was also very excited with his challenge to be a secret sibling, he gave the article of faith for primary yesterday, and he participated in the Family History activity where we asked questions of Uncle Tom about his childhood.

———————-

It’s not hard to keep the Sabbath Day holy,

Sign: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

Meaning: Sabbath = Hebrew for Rest

Purpose: to rest from our Labors and to worship God.

Creation story – 6 days, or periods of time, God created the earth. On the 7th day he rested.

History: The Sabbath Day use to be on Saturday.

Sabbath was a sign to the Children of Israel that they were God’s covenant people.

Up until his Resurrection, Jesus and his disciples honored the seventh day as the Sabbath day. But after the Resurrection, it was switched to Sunday to remember the Resurrection on that day.

How to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy?

– Do the things that God asked us to do, such as:

  • attend church,
  • reading scripture and word of church leaders
  • visit the sick, aged, and loved ones
  • Listen to uplifting muic
  • Pray to Heavenly Father
  • Work on Family History
  • Tell stories that promote faith
  • sharing our testimonies and spiritual experiences with each other
  • Writing letters to missionaries or family
  • Fasting
  • Share time with children and family in the home.

Why? Blessings of the Sabbath:

The fulness of the earth will be ours! Prosperity in all its forms is the blessing of the Sabbath day.