Saturday, October 16, 2010

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So, I've been a little overwhelmed lately. I just kinda feel like I'm about to break. But, it's a good thing that I have so many blessings in my life. Like-how there just was General Conference. (Chh-yeah) I've been trying to read over them and to gain strength over the past couple of days instead of feeling sorry for myself and being a bum. (But, I've been lazy anyway... oh well... I needed it.)

I love General Conference so much. Here are some of the things that have helped me through this week:
(WARNING: A lot of reading ahead... I obviously am not good with words so I'm sharing the words of those who have helped me...)

(Because of Your Faith. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland . Oct 2010)
"... my message today is to say that we sustain you, that we return to you those same heartfelt prayers and that same expression of love. We all know there are special keys, covenants, and responsibilities given to the presiding officers of the Church, but we also know that the Church draws incomparable strength, a truly unique vitality, from the faith and devotion of every member of this Church, whoever you may be. In whatever country you live, however young or inadequate you feel, or however aged or limited you see yourself as being, I testify you are individually loved of God, you are central to the meaning of His work, and you are cherished and prayed for by the presiding officers of His Church. The personal value, the sacred splendor of every one of you, is the very reason there is a plan for salvation and exaltation. Contrary to the parlance of the day, this is about you. No, don’t turn and look at your neighbor. I am talking to you!"

"I have struggled to find an adequate way to tell you how loved of God you are and how grateful we on this stand are for you. I am trying to be voice for the very angels of heaven in thanking you for every good thing you have ever done, for every kind word you have ever said, for every sacrifice you have ever made in extending to someone—to anyone—the beauty and blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

"As Jesus said to the Nephites, so say I today:

'Because of your faith . . . , my joy is full.
And when he had said these words, he wept.'"

How amazing is that?! Seriously, how can you not feel of God's love and your individual worth. It's so easy to get caught up in things and to start feeling down and that you aren't doing enough. Well, at least for me. I always feel I should be able to do more but I don't have the capacity to do so.

OBVIOUSLY this was very important for us to remember... so I'm reminding myself again...

Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet. Ezra Taft Benson
“First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything
Second fundamental: “The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works”
Third fundamental: “The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet”
Fourth fundamental: “The prophet will never lead the Church astray”
Fifth fundamental: “The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time”
Sixth: The prophet does not have to say ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to give us scripture. . . .

Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know
Eighth fundamental: “The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter—temporal or spiritual. . . .

Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters. . . .
Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich. . . .
Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly. . . .
Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church. . . .
Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the first presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer”

How blessed are we to have a Prophet. I hope that I never take for granted (or strive not to) the fact that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and all the blessings that I receive because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Reflections on a Consecrated Life. Elder D. Todd Christofferson
True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes.

“Life offers you two precious gifts—one is time, the other freedom of choice, the freedom to buy with your time what you will. You are free to exchange your allotment of time for thrills. You may trade it for base desires. You may invest it in greed. . . .

“Yours is the freedom to choose. But these are no bargains, for in them you find no lasting satisfaction.
“Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for. And it is in this life that you walk by faith and prove yourself able to choose good over evil, right over wrong, enduring happiness over mere amusement. And your eternal reward will be according to your choosing.

“A prophet of God has said: ‘Men are that they might have joy’—a joy that includes a fullness of life, a life dedicated to service, to love and harmony in the home, and the fruits of honest toil—an acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—of its requirements and commandments.

“Only in these will you find true happiness, the happiness which doesn’t fade with the lights and the music and the crowds.”

These statements express the reality that our life on earth is a stewardship of time and choices granted by our Creator. The word stewardship calls to mind the Lord’s law of consecration (see, for example, D&C 42:32, 53), which has an economic role but, more than that, is an application of celestial law to life here and now (see D&C 105:5). To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes. True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes (see John 17:1, 4; D&C 19:19). In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny.
I would like to consider with you five of the elements of a consecrated life: purity, work, respect for one’s physical body, service, and integrity.

Integrity is not naiveté. What is naive is to suppose that we are not accountable to God. (WHAT NOW PEEPS?!  :P You better take that one seriously)

A consecrated life is a beautiful thing. Its strength and serenity are “as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit” (D&C 97:9). Of particular significance is the influence of a consecrated man or woman upon others, especially those closest and dearest. The consecration of many who have gone before us and others who live among us has helped lay the foundation for our happiness. In like manner future generations will take courage from your consecrated life, acknowledging their debt to you for the possession of all that truly matters. May we consecrate ourselves as sons and daughters of God, “that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope” (Moroni 7:48; see also 1 John 3:2)

This definitely helps me realise and reflect on the aspects of my life that I need to work on and focus better, and to more fully lean on God and to more securely anchor myself in Him.

Of Things That Matter Most. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most.

“We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”

The search for the best things inevitably leads to the foundational principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ—the simple and beautiful truths revealed to us by a caring, eternal, and all-knowing Father in Heaven. These core doctrines and principles, though simple enough for a child to understand, provide the answers to the most complex questions of life.

As we turn to our Heavenly Father and seek His wisdom regarding the things that matter most, we learn over and over again the importance of four key relationships: with our God, with our families, with our fellowman, and with ourselves. As we evaluate our own lives with a willing mind, we will see where we have drifted from the more excellent way. The eyes of our understanding will be opened, and we will recognize what needs to be done to purify our heart and refocus our life.
First, our relationship with God is most sacred and vital. We are His spirit children. He is our Father. He desires our happiness. As we seek Him, as we learn of His Son, Jesus Christ, as we open our hearts to the influence of the Holy Spirit, our lives become more stable and secure. We experience greater peace, joy, and fulfillment as we give our best to live according to God’s eternal plan and keep His commandments.
We improve our relationship with our Heavenly Father by learning of Him, by communing with Him, by repenting of our sins, and by actively following Jesus Christ, for “no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Christ].” To strengthen our relationship with God, we need some meaningful time alone with Him. Quietly focusing on daily personal prayer and scripture study, always aiming to be worthy of a current temple recommend—these will be some wise investments of our time and efforts to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. Let us heed the invitation in Psalms: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Our second key relationship is with our families. Since “no other success can compensate for failure” here, we must place high priority on our families. We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together. In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home. We talk with, rather than about, each other. We learn from each other, and we appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities. We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayer, gospel study, and Sunday worship.
The third key relationship we have is with our fellowman. We build this relationship one person at a time—by being sensitive to the needs of others, serving them, and giving of our time and talents. I was deeply impressed by one sister who was burdened with the challenges of age and illness but decided that although she couldn’t do much, she could listen. And so each week she watched for people who looked troubled or discouraged, and she spent time with them, listening. What a blessing she was in the lives of so many people.

The fourth key relationship is with ourselves. It may seem odd to think of having a relationship with ourselves, but we do. Some people can’t get along with themselves. They criticize and belittle themselves all day long until they begin to hate themselves. May I suggest that you reduce the rush and take a little extra time to get to know yourself better. Walk in nature, watch a sunrise, enjoy God’s creations, ponder the truths of the restored gospel, and find out what they mean for you personally. Learn to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you—as His precious daughter or son with divine potential.

Seriously, could this not have come at a better time?! I think more than myself needed to hear this. What a basic, beautiful truth-SIMPLIFY. What a glorious word!

Never Leave Him. Elder Neil L. Andersen

The Lord Alerts Us to Dangers Ahead

The Lord has not left us alone in our quest to return to Him. Listen to His warning words alerting us to the dangers ahead: “Take . . . heed, watch and pray.” “Beware lest ye . . . be deceived.” “Be watchful and careful.” “Beware lest ye also . . . fall from your own stedfastness.”
No one of us is immune from the influences of the world. The Lord’s counsel keeps us on guard.
Life is no spiritual picnic.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!
Perfection does not come in this life, but we exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and keep our covenants. President Monson has promised, “Your testimony, when constantly nourished, will keep you safe.” We push our spiritual roots deep, feasting daily on the words of Christ in the scriptures. We trust in the words of living prophets, placed before us to show us the way. We pray and pray and listen to the quiet voice of the Holy Ghost that leads us along and speaks peace to our soul. Whatever challenges arise, we never, never leave Him.
The Savior asked His Apostles, “Will ye also go away?”
Peter answered:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
“ . . . We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

What a blessing of safely as assurity we can recieve. I'm so grateful for the influence, protection and love of the Savior in my life. I truly can testify that you are much happier, safer and blessed when your will is aligned with God's and if you strive to follow him in all you say and do.

The Transforming Power of Faith and Character. Elder Richard G. Scott
A consistent, righteous life produces an inner power and strength that can be permanently resistant to the eroding influence of sin and transgression.

When faith is properly understood and used, it has dramatically far-reaching effects. Such faith can transform an individual’s life from maudlin, common everyday activities to a symphony of joy and happiness. The exercise of faith is vital to Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness. But true faith, faith unto salvation, is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in His doctrines and teachings, faith in the prophetic guidance of the Lord’s anointed, faith in the capacity to discover hidden characteristics and traits that can transform life. Truly, faith in the Savior is a principle of action and power.

We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. Righteous character is a precious manifestation of what you are becoming. Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind. In the next life your righteous character will be evaluated to assess how well you used the privilege of mortality.

Neither Satan nor any other power can destroy or undermine your growing character. Only you could do that through disobedience. A sterling character is converted into worthless ashes when eroded by deceit or transgression.

Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trials and testing of life. Such choices are made with trust in things that are believed and when acted upon are confirmed.

*Trust in God and in His willingness to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance.

*Obedience to His commandments and a life that demonstrates that He can trust you.
*Sensitivity to the quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit.
*Courageous implementation of that prompting.
*Patience and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and when answers come a piece at a time over an extended period.

“Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6). Thus, every time you try your faith—that is, act in worthiness on an impression—you will receive the confirming evidence of the Spirit. As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to find solutions you would not obtain otherwise. With even your strongest faith, God will not always reward you immediately according to your desires. Rather, God will respond with what in His eternal plan is best for you, when it will yield the greatest advantage. Be thankful that sometimes God lets you struggle for a long time before that answer comes. That causes your faith to increase and your character to grow.

I LOVE ELDER SCOTT! I know I'm not suppose to have a favorite... but I do anyway...
Maybe why that's why his talk helped me so much, because I like him so much, but I always feel like he says the things that I need to hear. Especially during hard and difficult times, he finds the perfect way to tell me that it's not going to get better, but it's worth it.

One of my favorite talks of all time is,  Trust in the Lord- Richard G. Scott. Nov 1995

"Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain."

Trust in God, Then Go and Do. President Henry B. Eyring
You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks. ('nuff said)

I am just so grateful for the guidance and peace that the gospel brings. I really have been having a rough time, and the gospel always makes me happy. With the stresses of life, it's the one thing that keeps me sane as I'm trying to figure out what is required of me.

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