Wednesday, February 3, 2010

All or Something

So in combine Relief Society and Priesthood we talked about commitment. It was a really great meeting. At the end the bishop got up and explain a few things that had changed his life. One of them, he explained, was that if you aren't going to do 100% at, say reading your scriptures every day, then at least do a "lousy" job and do something. He hated using that terminology, but that's the way he could explain it. An impression came to me,

"Don't let it be 'all or nothing',
Let it be all or SOMETHING."

I think that is a lot better of a description than doing a  "lousy" job. So I raised my hand and told him. He appreciated that and wrote it down. I really appreciated the impression. It will stick with me for a very long time.

I have been an 'all or nothing' kind of person on and off throughout my life. I finish something, and then when it doesn't go right or I can't find time, I just don't do it. It's not worth doing unless I can do it right, right?? NO!!
The bishop shared an example of doing "all or something." There was a sister that didn't enjoy reading the scriptures, but when she had heard a talk about it, she decided that she was going to hold the scriptures for 30 seconds every day, because at least it was something. Then a few days later she decide to flip it open, since she had it in her hands. In just a few weeks her life, and the life of her family were changed forever. She loves the scriptures and reading them. Her family has been blessed by her reading the scriptures and she has become closer to her Heavenly Father. This sister found blessing promised her by President Hinckley.  President Hinckley promised us this if we read the Book of Mormon.

We studied the Book of Mormon in Sunday School this past year. Nonetheless I offer a challenge to members of the Church throughout the world and to our friends everywhere to read or reread the Book of Mormon. If you will read a bit more than one and one-half chapters a day, you will be able to finish the book before the end of this year. Very near the end of its 239 chapters, you will find a challenge issued by the prophet Moroni as he completed his record nearly 16 centuries ago. Said he:
“And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust? …
“And God shall show unto you, that that which I have written is true” (Moro. 10:27, 29).

Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.

from: A Testimony Vibrant and True

All or Something

DO something, even if it's just PART of something. You never know what great habit your going to get yourself in to. Attending church or the temple, keeping the Word of Wisdom, reading the scriptures, reading any uplifting books, reading church magazines, exercising, building a talent... the list goes on and on! Even if it just a little bit each day or week, it is SOMETHING. And something is WAY better than NOTHING.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spiritual Guidance

 The next few things I'm going to be sharing is on the General Conference talks from October 2009. All of the talks were great, but I want to just talk about some of the points that really struck me. The first talk was by Richard G. Scott. He talks about being guided by the spirit.

        "Father in Heaven knew that you would face challenges and be required to make some decisions that   would be beyond your own ability to decide correctly. In His plan of happiness, He included a provision for you to receive help with such challenges and decisions during your mortal life. That assistance will come to you through the Holy Ghost as spiritual guidance. It is a power, beyond your own capability, that a loving Heavenly Father wants you to use consistently for your peace and happiness."

It's not supposed to be easy! We need to work for guidance, but if we do, we will be SO much happier! Then he talks about what spirituality can bring to us.

"Spirituality yields two fruits. The first is inspiration to know what to do. The second is power, or the capacity to do it. These two capacities come together. That’s why Nephi could say, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.”2 He knew the spiritual laws upon which inspiration and power are based. Yes, God answers prayer and gives us spiritual direction when we live obediently and exercise the required faith in Him."

 "WHEN WE LIVE OBEDIENTLY AND EXERCISE THE REQUIRED FAITH IN HIM." A lot of people don't think the God hears or answers prayers, but he ABSOLUTELY does. The questions you should ask yourself are, "Is He giving me the answer I WANT or the answer I NEED?" "Am I living the way I should be to be inspired and receive answers to my questions?" "Do I believe or have faith that he will answer me?"

We also have brains for a reason. We should not feel we need to pray for every little thing. We have knowledge and minds that can help make decisions for us. Once we have made a decision, THEN we can ask our Heavenly Father if what we are thinking is correct, with the mindset that it is HIS WILL. And that's hard sometimes. We may want something really badly, but our answer does not correspond with what we want. But think about this: Our Heavenly Father knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows all and sees all. He knows what is best for each and every one of us even if we don't agree at the time.

Next Elder Scott talks about an experience he had in receiving spiritual guidance. He was in Mexico City and a Mexican priesthood leader was sincerely trying to teach the lesson by the spirit. He was struggling in communicating what he wanted to convey to his fellow brethren. Elder Scott, saw how desperately this brother was trying and he felt the spirit so strongly. He started feeling impressed with feelings and thoughts from personal questions he had been asking of his Father in Heaven. He started writing them down. As he was writing even more "precious truths."
In contrast, the Sunday School class was trying to impress everyone with his knowledge by using materials outside the lesson and wasn't teaching by the spirit. Still, those strong impressions grabbed Elder Scott and they were so sacred that he felt he needed to wait to write them down in a more private place. He wrote things down later and then prayed about these impressions. He felt peace. Then he asked if there was more. He received more impressions, wrote them down, thought about them, prayed about them again and was AGAIN prompted! "When the last, most sacred experience was concluded, I received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction one could hope to obtain in this life."

If he hadn't responded to those first impressions, he would not have received the most precious one of all.

We need to be patient. We need to ponder and pray and write things down and then pray again. We can receive wonderful guidance from the Lord if we humbly seek it.

"...the Lord will not force you to learn. You must exercise your agency to authorize the Spirit to teach you. As you make this a practice in your life, you will be more perceptive to the feelings that come with spiritual guidance. Then, when that guidance comes, sometimes when you least expect it, you will recognize it more easily."

Now the most poignant part of his talk:

"The inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions, such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeƱo pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit.Sin is addictive; self-degenerating; conducive to other strains of corruption; deadening to spirituality, conscience, and reason; blinding to reality; contagious; destructive to mind, body, and spirit. Sin is spiritually corrosive. Unrestrained it becomes all-consuming. It is overcome by repentance and righteousness.
Satan has become a master at using the addictive power of pornography to limit individual capacity to be led by the Spirit. The onslaught of pornography in all of its vicious, corroding, destructive forms has caused great grief, suffering, heartache, and destroyed marriages. It is one of the most damning influences on earth. Whether it be through the printed page, movies, television, obscene lyrics, vulgarities on the telephone, or flickering personal computer screen, pornography is overpoweringly addictive and severely damaging. This potent tool of Lucifer degrades the mind and the heart and the soul of any who use it. All who are caught in its seductive, tantalizing web and remain so will become addicted to its immoral, destructive influence. For many, that addiction cannot be overcome without help. The tragic pattern is so familiar. It begins with curiosity that is fueled by its stimulation and is justified by the false premise that when done privately, it does no harm to anyone else. For those lulled by this lie, the experimentation goes deeper, with more powerful stimulations, until the trap closes and a terribly immoral, addictive habit exercises its vicious control."

"How can a man, particularly a priesthood bearer, not think of the emotional and spiritual damage caused to women, especially his wife, by such abhorrent activity?"

"Well did inspired Nephi declare, “And [the devil] will … pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, … and thus [he] cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.”3

I have personally seen this in my life. It does not effect just one person. It effects many, in some cases an innumerable amount. It is a devastating addiction worse than drugs or alcohol. It is an addiction of the MIND. You can stay away from drugs and alcohol by keeping it out of your house and staying away from the influences where these things can be gained. You cannot stay away from your mind. You cannot escape it.
What you can do is fight it. Get help. But ONLY if you have the desire to change. Pray. Pray until you can't pray anymore, and then pray some more. The Lord LOVES his children and wants them to be happy.

"If you are ensnarled in pornography, make a total commitment to overcome it now. Find a quiet place; pray urgently for help and support. Be patient and obedient. Don’t give up."

"An individual with foundation standards and an enduring commitment to obey them is not easily led astray. Someone who is increasingly repulsed by grievous sin and who exercises self-restraint outside human influence has character. Repentance will be more efficacious for such an individual. A feeling of remorse after a mistake is a fertile soil wherein repentance can flower."

"Have patience as you are perfecting your ability to be led by the Spirit. By careful practice, through the application of correct principles, and by being sensitive to the feelings that come, you will gain spiritual guidance."

"Sometimes the impressions are just general feelings. Sometimes the direction comes so clearly and so unmistakably that it can be written down like spiritual dictation.4"

This was a powerful talk. I loved it and I hope you will read the whole article. To Aquire Spiritual Guidance.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Latter-Day Simple Truths

This blog is going to be solely dedicated to linking you to wonderful talks, scriptures and stories found in LDS publications and websites. This is not endorsed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but all quotes and links are from official websites.

It is my hope that these stories and quotes will bring you happiness and hope in a world that is increasing in sadness and hopelessness.