Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Face the Future with Faith -- Russell M. Nelson

I haven't felt like blogging much lately but I came across this talk by our Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, from April 2011.  It was a wonderful talk with some amazing quotes.  So I took a few of the quotes to post here on my blog.

Excerpts from "Face the Future with Faith", Russell M. Nelson, April 2011
"It is true. We live to die, and we die to live again. From an eternal perspective, the only death that is truly premature is the death of one who is not prepared to meet God."
I love this quote about death.  It's so true!  It doesn't matter when you die as long as you are prepared to meet God.  If you die as a child or young adult and are prepared to meet God, then if He calls you home, your death is not premature.  On the other hand, if you live until you're 100 years old, yet die having lived a life contrary to God's commandments and die not being prepared to meet God, then your death is still premature.  Because the reason we are here on earth is to prepare to meet God.  Well one of the reasons.  The prophet Alma stated such in The Book of Mormon.

Alma 34:32
"For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God..."
If you are doing your best to follow Him and keep His commandments, then you are prepared to meet God and there is no need to fear death.  Being prepared to meet God requires a lifetime of dedicated devotion and service.  It is not a one-time deal.  Once you're baptized and have all your ordinances in order you can't just stop and think your preparation is done.  Line upon line precept by precept.  That is the Lord's way.

I heard a funny story the other day where the speaker was illustrating this point.  He said that when you get to the pearly gates you cannot slip Saint Peter a $20 bill and have him look the other way while you slip into heaven unnoticed.  No, it doesn't work that way.  And honestly, if you are not prepared to meet God, you will be uncomfortable in heaven in the presence of God. And you will be saying, "Get me out of here!"

I hope we are all spending our precious short time here on earth preparing to meet God.

Okay here's the next quote from President Nelson.
"Each individual will make his or her way in a constantly changing world—a world of competing ideologies. The forces of evil will ever be in opposition to the forces of good. Satan constantly strives to influence us to follow his ways and make us miserable, even as he is. And the normal risks of life, such as illness, injury, and accident, will ever be present.
"We live in a time of turmoil. Earthquakes and tsunamis wreak devastation, governments collapse, economic stresses are severe, the family is under attack, and divorce rates are rising. We have great cause for concern. But we do not need to let our fears displace our faith. We can combat those fears by strengthening our faith."
We certainly do live in a world whose ideologies are growing farther and farther apart from the truth.  God's laws are constantly being attacked and mocked.  As the Lord hastens His work, so does Satan. Faith is under attack.  Families are under attack.  People are dropping like flies to Satan's lies.  Families are disintegrating faster than ever.  As a consequence people are becoming miserable like Satan.  Unfortunately Satan may win the battle against many weak people. But, Satan will not win the war.  We can protect ourselves from Satan's attacks by strengthening our faith.  How do we strengthen our faith?  President Nelson will answer this question in the following quotes.
"Obedience allows God’s blessings to flow without constraint. He will bless His obedient children with freedom from bondage and misery. And He will bless them with more light."
"Unfailing faith is fortified through prayer. Your heartfelt pleadings are important to Him."  
Obedience and prayer are two ways we strengthen our faith.  Many people think obedience is restrictive when in actuality it is very freeing.  Obedience frees us from the bondage and misery that come from disobeying God's commandments and following Satan.  As an example, look at addiction.  Drugs, alcohol, pornography are all things the Lord commands us to refrain from.  Yet those who partake of such things may, at first, feel free from the Lord's commandments.  But quickly becoming slaves to the bondage and misery of addiction.
"Why do we need such resilient faith? Because difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord “shall suffer persecution.” That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives."
Not only did the Apostle Paul warn that in the latter days those who diligently follow the Lord will suffer persecution.  One of our current 12 Apostles also said so. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, in an April 2014 General conference address said the following:
"I say to all and especially the youth of the Church that if you haven’t already, you will one day find yourself called upon to defend your faith or perhaps even endure some personal abuse simply because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
I testify that this is true.  I personally have suffered persecution because of my faith and diligence in defending The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  To those of you facing the same, don't let persecution "crush you into silent weakness".  Remain strong and courageous and always defend the faith.  In doing so you will become stronger and your faith will increase. 
"How you deal with life’s trials is part of the development of your faith. Strength comes when you remember that you have a divine nature, an inheritance of infinite worth. The Lord has reminded you, your children, and your grandchildren that you are lawful heirs, that you have been reserved in heaven for your specific time and place to be born, to grow and become His standard bearers and covenant people. As you walk in the Lord’s path of righteousness, you will be blessed to continue in His goodness and be a light and a savior unto His people."
"Available to each of you brethren and sisters are blessings obtained through the power of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood. These blessings can change the circumstances of your lives, in matters such as health, companionship of the Holy Ghost, personal relationships, and opportunities for the future. The power and authority of this priesthood holds the keys to all spiritual blessings of the Church. And most remarkably, the Lord has declared that He will sustain those blessings, according to His will."
Remember your divine nature.  Remember who you are -- a child of God.  As such you are lawful heirs to all of the Lord's choicest blessings. 
"Our beloved President Thomas S. Monson has given us his prophetic witness. He said: “I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments.”"
"President Monson continued: “My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.”"
"To President Monson’s powerful declaration I add my own. I testify that God is our Father. Jesus is the Christ. His Church has been restored to the earth. His truth, covenants, and ordinances enable us to overcome fear and face the future with faith! I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."
I add my witness to that of President Nelson and President Monson.  Our future is as bright as our faith.  Though many trials will certainly rain down upon us, we can weather the storm and be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the gospel, by walking uprightly and keeping God's commandments.We have no need to fear the future when we face it with faith!

That's my two cents. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Believe in God

I love King Benjamin's address in The Book of Mormon.  He teaches doctrine boldly yet simply.  As I was listening to my scriptures this morning, the following section of King Benjamin's address stood out to me.

Mosiah 4:9-16
9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend. 
10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them. 
11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel. 
12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true. 
13 And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due. 
14 And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness. 
15 But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another. 
16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
I love how eloquently King Benjamin exhorts us to believe in God and reminds us that God is the source of our happiness.  King Benjamin reminds us to be humble. In humility we rely on the Lord as we seek to do His will.  In doing so He blesses us and we feel His love as we experience "exceedingly great joy in our souls".

May we always rejoice and be filled with the love of God as we stand steadfast in the faith. Humble ourselves in the depths of humility.  Walk in the ways of truth and soberness.  Call on the name of the Lord daily.  Love and serve one another.  Believe in God.

That's my two cents.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Whenever I Hear the Song of a Bird

I marvel at all of God's creations. Several experiences I've had today remind me of God's hand in all things.

It's a beautiful day here today. I went to the dog tree. Whenever I go there or go outside in general I can always hear birds singing and chirping. Today while I was enjoying the scenery and cool breeze and sunshine, I could hear birds of many different varieties singing and chirping 360° around me. Even though all the birds are different species with different songs and sounds somehow it makes a beautiful chorus. I could also hear bullfrogs croaking which added to the beautiful chorus. No matter when I go outside, if I listen for it, I can hear birds singing and other animal sounds.

Looking at the trees that are just beginning to leaf out reminded me what a marvelous creation trees are. Every spring they blossom and leaf out with new life. During the summer all of the full-grown dark green leaves use the sun's energy to create nutrients necessary for the tree to grow. By fall you can see the new growth on the trees and then through environmental signals the tree shuts down photosynthesis and the leaves turn beautiful colors and fall off in preparation for winter. And the cycle begins again. Isn't it amazing how every deciduous tree goes through this cycle every year? Truly amazing evidence of God's hand in all things.

This morning I was discussing the amazing human body and specifically how amazing the heart is. I guess I've been thinking about the heart lately because of President Nelson. President Nelson is a world renowned cardiothoracic surgeon. He pioneered many of the advancements in heart surgery used today. Including the heart lung machine. He was one of its inventors. He performed the first open-heart surgery in Utah. Anyway I was thinking about the heart and how amazing it is. From just a few weeks after conception until death, the heart is beating constantly. On average 70 beats per minute. Over 100,000 times per day. Four intricate valves open and close billions of times in a lifetime. No machine even comes close to being able to do that without failing. Every day your heart pumps 2000 gallons of blood through your body. An example of how much that is -- we have a 1000 gallon tank in our pumphouse which stores water. It is huge. Every day my heart pumps enough blood to fill up two of those tanks. Amazing.The amount of work the heart does every day is equivalent to lifting a grown man to the top of the Empire State building. Yet the heart only uses 4 watts of energy to do so. And that is just one of the amazing organs in our bodies.

I just don't see how anyone can deny God's hand in all things. It is so obvious. Even the scriptures mention it. In the Book of Mormon we read of the prophet Alma testifying to Korihor, an antichrist, that all things denote there is a God.

Alma 30:43-44
43 And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words.
44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
It's very sad how people can become so blinded to that which is right in front of their face. Even the few examples I used in this blog post denote there is a God. Yet there are those who will still deny His existence. How tragic for them.

Whenever I hear the song of a bird I think of my favorite primary song from my youth. Here are the lyrics:

1. Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heav’nly Father created for me.

2. He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him rev’rently
For all his creations, of which I’m a part.
Yes, I know Heav’nly Father loves me.

Words and music: Clara W. McMaster, 1904–1997. © 1961 IRI. Arr. © 1989 IRI

Certainly songs of birds, blue skies, rain, wind, roses, lilacs, butterfly wings etc. all denote that there is a God. They not only denote the existence of God, but they also show His love for us by blessing us with His beautiful creations.

I'm thankful for all of God's wonderful creations of which I'm a part and I thank Him reverently for them.

That's my two cents.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Words of a Prophet

The transcripts finally came out for General Conference.  I'm going to post a few quotes that stood out to me from President Nelson's talk entitled, "Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives".

There was so much revelation given in this conference that I feel it apropos to quote from President Nelson's talk on revelation.  It certainly was an epic general conference.  It's obvious that the Lord is hastening His work in preparation for His Second Coming.

Here are the words of our living prophet:
"Without our Redeemer’s infinite Atonement, not one of us would have hope of ever returning to our Heavenly Father. Without His Resurrection, death would be the end. Our Savior’s Atonement made eternal life a possibility and immortality a reality for all."
"Brothers and sisters, how can we become the men and women—the Christlike servants—the Lord needs us to be? How can we find answers to questions that perplex us? If Joseph Smith’s transcendent experience in the Sacred Grove teaches us anything, it is that the heavens are open and that God speaks to His children.
"The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God, the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father. He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation.
"In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.
"Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”
"Does God really want to speak to you? Yes! “As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course … as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.”
"You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church. Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.
"I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that “if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.”
"Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!”
"Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.
"To be sure, there may be times when you feel as though the heavens are closed. But I promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you—even miracles—will follow. That is what personal revelation will do for you.
"I am optimistic about the future. It will be filled with opportunities for each of us to progress, contribute, and take the gospel to every corner of the earth. But I am also not naive about the days ahead. We live in a world that is complex and increasingly contentious. The constant availability of social media and a 24-hour news cycle bombard us with relentless messages. If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation.
"Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory. But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.
"My beloved brothers and sisters, I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation. Let this Easter Sunday be a defining moment in your life. Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.
"With Moroni, I exhort you on this Easter Sabbath to “come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift,” beginning with the gift of the Holy Ghost, which gift can and will change your life.
"We are followers of Jesus Christ. The most important truth the Holy Ghost will ever witness to you is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He lives! He is our Advocate with the Father, our Exemplar, and our Redeemer. On this Easter Sunday, we commemorate His atoning sacrifice, His literal Resurrection, and His divinity.
"This is His Church, restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I so testify, with my expression of love for each of you, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."  -- President Russell M. Nelson, "Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives",  April 2018 General Conference
Except for the first paragraph I basically put the last part of President Nelson's talk on here.  I thought it was important to learn from the Prophet on how to receive personal revelation.  There are also some awesome blessings promised and revelation about the future given.

I have always loved President Nelson since he was called into the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.  I was 13 years old at the time.  President Nelson has always been one of my favorite apostles because he is a Medical Doctor (heart surgeon).  Now he is our Prophet!  What better living person on earth to look to as an example to follow?

Just to reiterate a few lines of revelation-- Given to us by our living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson -- that resonated with me:
"Does God really want to speak to you? Yes!"
"Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true."
"I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation..."Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know."
"Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work."
"I promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you—even miracles—will follow. That is what personal revelation will do for you."
"If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation."
"Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again."
"We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory."
"But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost." 
"My beloved brothers and sisters, I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation."
"The most important truth the Holy Ghost will ever witness to you is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Those are some pretty powerful warnings, promises, and revelations from the living prophet.  I hope we will all heed his words and follow the prophet for he knows the way.

As we listen to the Prophet, heed his warnings and follow his counsel, we will stay on the path of righteousness headed towards exaltation and eternal life.  He will never lead us astray. 
"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."  -- Doctrine and Covenants 1:38
 Follow the prophet he knows the way.  Follow the prophet don't go astray.

That's my two cents.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter And General Conference

Happy Easter everybody!  I love it when Easter falls on General Conference.  It's such a special way to celebrate the monumental event of the resurrection of our Savior.  I love listening to our Church Leaders bear testimony of our Savior on Easter.

Yesterday was a very special day as all church members were able to participate in a solemn assembly.  The spirit was exceedingly strong while we were sustaining our new Prophet and President of the Church, Russell M. Nelson. It was a very special experience as the Spirit testified that Russell M. Nelson is truly the Lord's chosen prophet on the earth today.

When we raise our hands to sustain the prophet and leaders of the church, we are not just agreeing with the calling.  We are pledging to support them in their calling, pray for them, defend them as they speak truth, and do what we can to support them in their call to serve the Lord. Sustaining the Prophet and apostles is not a passive endeavor.

I have loved all of the talks I've heard so far in General Conference.  I will just paraphrase what I got out of what our Prophet said.  He talked about the Holy Ghost and personal revelation.  He said that in these trying times in which we live we will not survive spiritually without personal revelation.  We all need to learn how to receive personal revelation and learn to recognize the whispers of the Holy Ghost.  We are preparing the world for the Lord's second coming.

When the text comes out I will post some direct quotes from President Nelson's first address as a prophet of God.  They are much more eloquently spoken that I can paraphrase.

I hope we will all remember our Savior on this Easter Sunday.  Remember all that He has done for us as we celebrate His glorious resurrection.

Happy Easter!

That's my two cents.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Resurrection

I had an interview with a member of my stake presidency a couple weeks ago.  During our conversation he mentioned that he was a church educator.  He mentioned that teaching kids (teenagers) about the resurrection was a little difficult because their bodies are already close to perfect in terms of not having any health problems.  So being resurrected to a perfect state really has no impact on them.  Teenagers already feel like they're invincible.

Partly because of that conversation and because Easter is around the corner, I've been thinking quite a bit about the resurrection.  Not only Christ's resurrection, which is why we celebrate Easter.  But also my own resurrection.  Because of Christ's resurrection we will all be resurrected.  It is a free gift given to us through His atonement.

I understand where those kids are coming from -- those who don't think much about their own resurrection -- because I was the picture of perfect health at that age also.  The only time I went to the doctor as a young adult was for my mission physical. I could have been a textbook example of perfect health.

But one fateful September day several years ago, everything changed.  Now my body is broken and scarred and doesn't work right.  I am constantly reminded of just how broken my body is.

I now have a much greater appreciation of the grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ, in giving us the gift of resurrection.  In fact, it is my knowledge of the doctrine of the resurrection and the hope it brings that keeps me going.  Without that knowledge, life would be much more difficult.  But I know that one day I will be made perfect.  I will be resurrected.  And not even one hair of my head will be lost.  We will all be resurrected.  What a glorious, wonderful, marvelous gift from our Savior.

The doctrine is beautifully taught in the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon. Amulek, who was a missionary, taught the following doctrine to a wicked man named Zeezrom:

Alma 11:42-45
42 Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.
43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.
44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.
45 Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.
I'm so grateful for the doctrine of the resurrection.  I know that we will all be resurrected one day.  We will all be raised to immortality with perfected bodies never to die again.  What a glorious day that will be.  I'm so thankful to my Savior, Jesus Christ, for His resurrection which made it possible for all of us to be resurrected one day.  What a marvelous gift He has given all of us. 

I hope we will all remember the real reason we celebrate Easter. I hope we will all give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the gift of His Son and His resurrection that we may all be resurrected again someday.

That's my two cents.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

FHE Lesson: I Am a Child of God


Tammy’s FHE lesson March 2018
I Am a Child of God

Opening song: I Am a Child of God, #301 
Opening prayer: by invitation

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom:

“Our most fundamental doctrine includes the knowledge that we are children of a living God.”  ¹

“This doctrine is so basic, so oft stated, and so instinctively simple that it can seem to be ordinary, when in reality it is among the most extraordinary knowledge we can obtain. A correct understanding of our heavenly heritage is essential to exaltation. It is foundational to comprehending the glorious plan of salvation and to nurturing faith in the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus the Christ, and in His merciful Atonement. Further, it provides continual motivation for us to make and keep our indispensable eternal covenants.”  ¹

“In real life, we face actual, not imagined, hardships. There is pain—physical, emotional, and spiritual. There are heartbreaks when circumstances are very different from what we had anticipated. There is injustice when we do not seem to deserve our situation. There are disappointments when someone we trusted failed us. There are health and financial setbacks that can be disorienting. There may be times of question when a matter of doctrine or history is beyond our current understanding.

“When difficult things occur in our lives, what is our immediate response? Is it confusion or doubt or spiritual withdrawal? Is it a blow to our faith? Do we blame God or others for our circumstances? Or is our first response to remember who we are—that we are children of a loving God? Is that coupled with an absolute trust that He allows some earthly suffering because He knows it will bless us, like a refiner’s fire, to become like Him and to gain our eternal inheritance?

“Recently, I was in a meeting with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. In teaching the principle that mortal life can be agonizing but our hardships have eternal purpose—even if we do not understand it at the time—Elder Holland said, “You can have what you want, or you can have something better.”” ¹

“We live in a world that can cause us to forget who we really are. The more distractions that surround us, the easier it is to treat casually, then ignore, and then forget our connection with God.” ¹

“In today’s world, no matter where we live and no matter what our circumstances are, it is essential that our preeminent identity is as a child of God. Knowing that will allow our faith to flourish, will motivate our continual repentance, and will provide the strength to “be steadfast and immovable” throughout our mortal journey.” ¹

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“If you really know that you are a child of God, you will also know that He expects much of you, His child. He will expect you to follow His teachings and the teachings of His dear Son, Jesus. He will expect you to be generous and kind to others. He will be offended if you swear or use foul language. He will be offended if you are dishonest in any way, if you should cheat or steal in the slightest. He will be happy if you remember the less fortunate in your prayers to Him. He will watch over you and guide you and protect you. He will bless you …” ²

“Never forget, my dear young friends, that you really are a child of God who has inherited something of His divine nature, one whom He loves and desires to help and bless. I pray that our Heavenly Father will bless you.” ²

President Russell M. Nelson:

“Recently I observed young men who attracted attention to themselves because of their extreme styles of dress and grooming. One made a revealing remark when he said, “I’m trying to find out who I really am.” This occurred after I had come from a Church meeting where Primary children had sung “I Am a Child of God.” Such contrasting experiences emphasize the importance of knowing that we are literally children of God.

We are dual beings. Each soul is comprised of body and spirit, both of which emanate from God. A firm understanding of body and spirit will shape our thoughts and deeds for good.” ³

“Who are we? We are children of God. Our potential is unlimited.” ³

(show video – “We Are Children of God” by Russell M. Nelson, October 1998 General Conference)

Closing remarks

Closing song: O My Father, hymn #292
Closing prayer: by invitation

References:
1 – Donald L. Hallstrom, “I Am a Child of God”, April 2016 General Conference
2 – Gordon B. Hinckley , “You Are a Child of God”, April 2003 General Conference
3 – Russell M. Nelson, “We Are Children of God”, October 1998 General Conference

My handout: I made personalized handouts for everybody with their picture and name on it.  Yes it took me two days.  But they turned out awesome!  As an example I will show mine:

 Back:

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Scripture of the Day

Enos 1:26-27
26 And I saw that I must soon go down to my grave, having been wrought upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world.
27 And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Some Common Sense

I've been thinking of doing several different blog posts for a while.  But haven't felt like putting forth the effort required to do so.  And I still don't.  But I do want to succinctly impart a little bit of common sense.

Since the school shooting in Florida recently, the lunatic wacko leftists have seized the opportunity to politicize the tragedy and attack the NRA and sing the praises of gun control.

First of all, the NRA had absolutely nothing to do with the school shooting in Florida.  In fact, the shooter was not a member of the NRA -- nor were any of the other mass murderers, in recent history, who used guns to commit their crimes. As a matter of fact the only NRA member that I know of involved in a mass shooting was the good guy protecting the innocent victims from a killer.  This was the shooting at a Baptist church in Texas.  Coincidentally the good guy NRA member (Stephen Willeford) who confronted the shooter and chased him down used an AR 15 to protect innocent victims from the shooter.

FYI, the bad guys don't care about the second amendment or gun rights.  They have no problem getting guns illegally.  It's the good guys who follow the law who want to protect their rights to legally own and carry guns. That's why the good guys support the NRA.

So the leftist liberals attacking the NRA is merely an attack on good guys.  Attacking and destroying the NRA does absolutely nothing to prevent evil people from obtaining guns and shooting innocent victims in cold blood. Obviously these leftist liberal wackos have lost all common sense to even attack and try to destroy the NRA.  The NRA is just minding its own business and had absolutely zero, zilch, nada, nothing to do with the mass shooting in Florida.  So ridiculous.

Secondly, gun control laws don't stop evil people from getting guns and shooting innocent victims.  All gun control laws do is prevent good guys -- who want to protect themselves their families and society from bad guys-- from legally obtaining guns. As I said before, the bad guys will easily obtain guns illegally.  Bad guys have no respect for laws nor do they care about obeying laws.  But good guys who respect and obey laws are punished by gun control laws.  Good guys whose access to firearms is restricted by gun control laws are less able to defend themselves from bad guys.

Evil men who want to shoot a bunch of people will find a place where it's easiest for them to commit their crime with the least resistance.  They know where gun free zones are.  They know that fire will not be returned in gun free zones because no one else will have a gun.  Only the bad guy.  Makes his mission a lot easier.

It's basic common sense that attacking the NRA and praising gun control does nothing to prevent future mass shootings.  In fact, it makes such mass shootings easier for the perpetrator knowing that he will be the only one with a gun.

Liberal Leftist wackos use tragedies committed by evil people merely for their political gain.  Liberal leftists have lost all common sense.  Their agenda is to take away agency from people.  They want control.  It's that simple.

The Constitution of the United States of America is an inspired document.  The second amendment to that Constitution protects the citizens of the United States of America. Why would anyone want to take their own rights away?  Yet the left has convinced many that that is what they should do.  All in the guise of protection and safety.  When in reality the exact opposite is what it does.

No law will ever prevent evil people from doing evil things.  You cannot legislate morality. 

It's simple common sense.

That's my two cents.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Jeffrey R. Holland on Fear and Faith

"I hasten to say that I do know what this young man was really asking. What he really meant was, “Will I finish my mission? Is there any point in getting an education? Can I hope for a marriage? Do I have a future? Is there any happiness ahead for me?” And I say to all of you what I said three years ago to him: “Yes, certainly—to all those questions.”

"As far as the actual timing of the final, publicly witnessed Second Coming itself and its earthshaking events, I do not know when that will happen. Furthermore, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said that he doesn’t know when it will happen, and that is because no one knows when it will happen. The Savior said that even the angels in heaven would not know (see Matthew 24:36).

"We should watch for the signs and read the meaning of the seasons, we should live as faithfully as we possibly can, and we should share the gospel with everyone so that blessings and protections will be available to all. But we cannot and must not be paralyzed just because that event and the events surrounding it are out there ahead of us somewhere. We cannot stop living life. Indeed, we should live life more fully than we have ever lived it before. After all, this is the dispensation of the fulness of times.

"I say this because in recent times—post 9-11 times, I suppose—I have heard very fearful and even dismal opinions coming from some in your age group regarding the questions that missionary had in mind. I have heard some of you say that you wonder whether there is any purpose in going on a mission or getting an education or planning for a career if the world we live in is going to be so uncertain. I have even heard sweethearts say, “We don’t know whether we should get married in such uncertain times.”

"Worst of all, I have heard reports of some newlyweds questioning whether they should bring children into a terror-filled world on the brink of latter-day cataclysms. May I tell you that, in a way, those kinds of attitudes worry me more than Al-Qaeda worries me.

"I have just two things to say to any of you who are troubled about the future. I say it lovingly and from my heart.

"First, we must never, in any age or circumstance, let fear and the father of fear (Satan himself) divert us from our faith and faithful living. There have always been questions about the future. Every young person or every young couple in every era has had to walk by faith into what has always been some uncertainty—starting with Adam and Eve in those first tremulous steps out of the Garden of Eden. But that is all right. This is the plan. It will be okay. Just be faithful. God is in charge. He knows your name and He knows your need.

"Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—that is the first principle of the gospel. We must go forward, as it says in K. Newell Dayley's hymn commemorating our pioneers of the past, “with faith in ev’ry footstep.”1 But like those pioneers, you do have to keep taking them—one step and then another and then the next. That is how tasks are accomplished, that is how goals are achieved, and that is how frontiers are conquered. In more divine language, that is how worlds are created and it is how your world will be created.

"God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities.

"God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.

"Drawing upon my vast background of children’s bedtime stories, I say you can pick your poultry. You can either be like Chicken Little and run about shouting “The sky is falling; the sky is falling” or you can be like the Little Red Hen and forge ahead with the productive tasks of living, regardless of who does or doesn’t help you or who does or doesn’t believe just the way you believe.

"...So, in a world of tribulation—and there will always be plenty of it—let’s remember our faith. Let’s recall the other promises and prophecies that have been given, all the reassuring ones, and let’s live life more fully, with more boldness and courage than at any other time in our history.

"Christ has overcome the world and made straight a path for us in the wilderness. He has said to us in our day: “Gird up your loins and be prepared. Behold, the kingdom is yours, and the enemy shall not overcome” (D&C 38:9). So let’s gird up. Let’s get some gusto into singing those songs of everlasting joy."

-- Jeffrey R. Holland, September 12, 2004, "Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast"

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Jeffrey R. Holland on Responsibility to Prepare

"Let me add another element to this view of the dispensation that I think follows automatically. Because ours is the last and greatest of all dispensations, because all things will eventually culminate and be fulfilled in our era, there is, therefore, one particular, very specific responsibility that falls to those of us in the Church now that did not rest quite the same way on the shoulders of Church members in any earlier time. Unlike the Church in the days of Abraham or Moses, Isaiah or Ezekiel, or even in the New Testament days of James and John, we have a responsibility to prepare the Church of the Lamb of God to receive the Lamb of God—in person, in triumphant glory, in His millennial role as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. No other dispensation ever had that duty.

"In the language of the scriptures, we are the ones designated in all of history who must prepare the bride for the advent of the Bridegroom and be worthy of an invitation to the wedding feast (see Matthew 25:1–12; 22:2–14; D&C 88:92, 96). Collectively speaking—whether it is in our lifetime or our children’s or our grandchildren’s or whenever—we nevertheless have the responsibility as a Church and as individual members of that Church to be worthy to have Christ come to us, to be worthy to have Him greet us, and to have Him accept and receive and embrace us. The lives we present to Him in that sacred hour must be worthy of Him!"

-- Jeffrey R. Holland, September 12, 2004, "Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast"

Monday, February 26, 2018

Jeffrey R. Holland Quote on Living in the Last Dispensation

"In fact, I have a theory about those earlier dispensations and the leaders, families, and people who lived then, of those whom the Prophet Joseph, President Woodruff, and President Hinckley spoke. I have thought often about them and the destructive circumstances that confronted them. They faced terribly difficult times and, for the most part, did not succeed in their dispensations. Apostasy and darkness eventually came to every earlier age in human history. Indeed, the whole point of the Restoration of the gospel in these latter days is that it had not been able to survive in earlier times and therefore had to be pursued in one last, triumphant age.

"We know the challenges Abraham’s posterity faced (and still do). We know of Moses’ problems with an Israelite people who left Egypt but couldn’t quite get Egypt to leave them. Isaiah was the prophet who saw the loss of the 10 Israelite tribes to the north. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel were all prophets of captivity. Peter, James, John, and Paul, the great figures of the New Testament, all saw apostasy creeping into their world almost before the Savior had departed and certainly while they themselves were still living. Think of the prophets of the Book of Mormon, living in a dispensation ending with such painful communication between Mormon and Moroni about the plight they faced and the nations they loved dissolving into corruption, terror, and chaos.

"In short, apostasy and destruction of one kind or another was the ultimate fate of every general dispensation we have ever had down through time. But here’s my theory. My theory is that those great men and women, the leaders in those ages past, were able to keep going, to keep testifying, to keep trying to do their best, not because they knew that they would succeed but because they knew that you would. I believe they took courage and hope not so much from their own circumstances as from yours—a magnificent congregation of young adults like you tonight gathered by the hundreds of thousands around the world in a determined effort to see the gospel prevail and triumph.

"Moroni said once, speaking to those of us who would receive his record in the last days:

"Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

"Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. [Mormon 8:34–35]

"One way or another, I think virtually all of the prophets and early apostles had their visionary moments of our time—a view that gave them courage in their own less-successful eras. Those early brethren knew an amazing amount about us. Prophets such as Moses, Nephi, and the brother of Jared saw the latter days in tremendously detailed vision. Some of what they saw wasn’t pleasing, but surely all those earlier generations took heart from knowing that there would finally be one dispensation that would not fail.

"Ours, not theirs, was the day that gave them “heavenly and joyful anticipations” and caused them to sing and prophesy of victory. Ours is the day, collectively speaking, toward which the prophets have been looking from the beginning of time, and those earlier brethren are over there still cheering us on! In a very real way, their chance to consider themselves fully successful depends on our faithfulness and our victory. I love the idea of going into the battle of the last days representing Alma and Abinadi and what they pled for and representing Peter and Paul and the sacrifices they made. If you can’t get excited about that kind of assignment in the drama of history, you can’t get excited!"

-- Jeffrey R. Holland, September 12, 2004, "Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast"

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Jeffrey R. Holland Quote On the Second Coming

Yesterday Mom said she was listening to a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles about the Last Days and Second Coming.  She wasn't able to finish it and I happened to look it up today.

Come to find out it was a talk given in 2004 at a BYU devotional which I had seen years ago.  It was a really good talk and I remember listening to it.  There were some really good quotes that I want to share.  I don't think I will show them all in one post.  Think I will break it up into several posts.

Here is the first one:
"The promised Second Coming of the Savior began with the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1820. So we already have about 184 years of experience seeing the Second Coming and the last days unfold. We can be certain that we are in the last days—years and years of them..."
"When will all of this finish? When shall Christ appear publicly, triumphantly, and the Millennium begin? I have already told you that I don’t know. What I do know is that the initial moments of that event began 184 years ago. I do know that as a result of that First Vision and what has followed it, we live in a time of unprecedented blessings—blessings given to us for the purpose of living faithfully and purely so when the Bridegroom finally and triumphantly arrives, He can personally, justifiably bid us to the wedding feast.
"Is there a happy future for you and your posterity in these latter days? Absolutely! Most assuredly you have a beautiful future. All wedding feasts are happy occasions. Will there be difficult times when those ominous latter-day warnings and prophecies are fulfilled? Of course there will. There always have been. Be prepared. Will those who have built upon the great rock of Christ withstand such winds, such hail, and the mighty shafts in the whirlwind? You know that they will. You have it on good word. You have it on His word! That “rock upon which ye are built . . . is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men [and women] build they cannot fall” (see Helaman 5:12)."
-- Jeffrey R. Holland, September 12, 2004, "Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast"

Thursday, February 22, 2018

I Miss My Friend

Two years ago today I lost my good friend, Samson.  I miss my white tailed fluffy friend.

Samson was the best dog in the history of mankind.

  I hope you are having fun romping through the fields in heaven.  I'm looking forward to the day I get to graduate and see you again!  God be with you till we meet again my dear friend.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fake News

"There’s also something happening here that is perfectly illustrating a point that I’ve been making for a couple of years. And that is that the American media has become the power center and the source of energy and guidance for the American left. Not the Democrat Party, but the media. The media gives the marching orders. The media are the activists. The media are not involved in news. The media are not reporting anything. The media have become full-fledged advocates of one particular thing.

"They are not reporting anything. They are supporting the one particular thing they want, and they are ridiculing and condemning and lying about anybody who is not on the same page as they are. The Democrat Party used to be the organism that represented the American left and other people in the left followed the lead of the Democrat Party. Today, it is the media that is leading. And the reason this is important is because many people don’t know it. Many people don’t realize it.

"Most people think the media is the news. Most people — well, I hope not most — but a sizable number of people think that when they turn on cable news or the three nightly newscasts, or now the late night comedy shows, that they’re actually getting news. And they’re not. They’re not getting anywhere near what is news. They’re not even getting correct facts. People tuning into cable news, the three nightly newscasts, or reading the big newspapers, are simply reading radical activism that is disguised as news and perpetrated as news because of the people who are presenting it." 

-- RushLimbaugh.com, February 16, 2018