Thursday, January 26, 2012

{revelation, prayer}

“Someone has said that we live in a day in which God, if there be a God, chooses to be silent, but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims to the world that neither the Father nor the Son is silent. They are vocal and commune as proper and necessary, and constantly express a willingness, indeed an eagerness, to maintain communication with men.” Spencer W. Kimball

“If God spoke anciently, is it unreasonable to believe that he can speak in our time? What man would think to deny God the right to express himself?” Gordon B. Hinckley

“Do we turn away the still, small voice? Do we do things that offend the Holy Ghost? Do we allow influences into our homes that drive the Spirit from our homes? The type of entertainment that we permit into our homes will certainly have an impact on the power of the Holy Ghost.” Jospeh B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 2003

“There are two kinds of people: Those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then have it your way.” C.S. Lewis

“If one rises from his knees having merely said words, he should fall back on his knees and remain there until he has established communication with the Lord who is very anxious to bless, but having given man his free agency, will not force himself upon that man.” Spencer W. Kimball

“Some people regard God as an airman does his parachute: it’s there for emergencies, but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.” C.S. Lewis

Thursday, January 12, 2012

{we must be different}

...may we remember that “we must be different in order to make a difference” in a darkening world (Neal A. Maxwell, Deposition of a Disciple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976], 55).
Thus, as insignificant as we feel our lights can be, they become brighter simply by contrast as the darkening occurs. Nowhere is that contrast more apparent than in our unwavering commitment to the family.

The full talk with many accounts of conversion stories:
BYU talk by Damon L. Bahr

Sunday, January 8, 2012

{look up!}

As a young man I was called to serve a mission in Hamburg, Germany. At the Language Training Mission—the predecessor to today’s missionary training center—I struggled to learn the language. As the first and then the second week passed, I noticed that the others in my district were progressing much faster than I was. While they were advancing to complex concepts, my dies, ders, and dases were a disaster.

I started to become concerned—and discouraged. How could I serve a successful mission if I couldn’t communicate with the people I was called to teach?

I prayed for help and sought a priesthood blessing, which provided some reassurance. But I continued to search and struggle, and one day I felt more uptight and worried than ever. As my companion and I walked down the hallway, I stopped at a small janitor’s closet. I asked my companion to wait for me for a moment. I slipped into that tiny room and knelt down on a mop. I began to plead with Heavenly Father for some relief.

The Lord answered that prayer. I felt this thought come into my mind: “I never called you to master the German language. I just called you to serve with all of your heart, mind, and strength.”

I immediately thought, “I can do that. I can serve with all of my heart, mind, and strength. If that’s what the Lord has called me to do, I can do that.” I stood up feeling tremendously relieved.

From that point on, my measuring stick changed. I no longer gauged my progress and success against that of my companion or other members of my district. Instead, I focused on how the Lord felt I was doing. Instead of looking to the side to compare myself to others, I began to look up, so to speak, to know what He thought of my efforts.

Elder Carl B. Cook
Of the Seventy
Ensign, January 2012, 27

{a lifetime pursuit}

 “We must be careful, as we seek to become more and more [Christlike], that we do not become discouraged and lose hope. Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible.”

President Ezra T. Benson
Ensign, October 1989, 5

(Art by Del Parson)

{walk with God daily}

Some time before I was called as a General Authority, I faced a personal economic challenge that persisted for several years. It ebbed and flowed in seriousness and urgency, but it never went away. At times this challenge threatened the welfare of my family, and I thought we might be facing financial ruin. I prayed for some miraculous intervention to deliver us. Although I offered that prayer many times with great sincerity and earnest desire, the answer in the end was no. Finally, I learned to pray as the Savior did: “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). I sought the Lord’s help with each tiny step along the way to a final resolution.

There were times when I had exhausted all my resources, when I had nowhere and no one to turn to for help to meet the exigency before me. With no other recourse, more than once I fell down before my Heavenly Father, begging in tears for His help. And He did help. Sometimes it was nothing more than a sense of peace, a feeling of assurance that things would work out. I might not see how or what the path would be, but He gave me to know that, directly or indirectly, He would open a way. Circumstances might change, a new and helpful idea might come to mind, some unanticipated income or other resource might appear at just the right time. Somehow there was a resolution.

Though I suffered then, I am grateful now that there was not a quick solution to my problem. The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me how to truly pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a practical way to have faith in God. I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father in a way and to a degree that might not have happened otherwise or that might have taken me much longer... I learned to trust in the Lord with all my heart. I learned to walk with Him day by day...

...In the 1950s my mother survived radical cancer surgery, which was followed by dozens of painful radiation treatments. She recalls that her mother taught her something during that time that has helped her ever since:

“I was so sick and weak, and I said to her one day, ‘Oh, Mother, I can’t stand having 16 more of those treatments.’

“She said, ‘Can you go today?’
“‘Well, honey, that’s all you have to do today.’

“It has helped me many times when I remember to take one day or one thing at a time.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Ensign, January 2012, 18

(image via google image search)


My Father Rescued Me

Snuggled in our sleeping bags and lying on a mattress, my brother and I were in the back of our father’s pickup truck on an exciting outing with him and two of his friends. The aluminum camper shell of the truck bed did not provide any heat, but it was a covering over us. My brother Ken and I were 10 and 12, and we talked excitedly about our upcoming adventure.

A flaw in the truck’s design caused the exhaust pipe to end at the back of the cab instead of extending to the rear of the bed. As we drove in the darkness of the early morning, carbon monoxide filtered up through the bed into our space, filling the air we were breathing. Dad drove the truck higher and higher into the mountains while we became lethargic, then unconscious, and finally breathless.

For some reason, our father pulled over and decided to check on us. When he opened the back of the truck we were unresponsive and not breathing.

He pulled me out first and felt a faint heartbeat. Immediately he performed rescue breathing. The other men did the same for my brother.

I felt like I was in a deep, dark pit that I could not get out of by myself. In fact, I did not want to climb out. It was easier to stay where I was. But my father would not allow it. He revived me and then shifted his attention to Ken. Back and forth he went as we drifted in and out of consciousness. Eventually we were breathing on our own, at least enough to be transported to a hospital, where we received additional treatment.

Many times over the next several years, my father was prompted to “pull over” and check on me. I was never in such physical danger as I was that night in the truck, but several times I faced an emotional or spiritual crisis. My father extended his hand to lift me out of those pits as well. A few times I did not want to climb out because it was easier to stay where I was, but my father would not allow it.

Years later, I stood at his bedside holding his hand as his grip relaxed and life left his body. I thought about the many times he had heard and acted on promptings to check on my brothers and me. I am grateful for his love for us and for his closeness to the Spirit, both of which have blessed our lives immeasurably.

Ensign, January 2012

(image via google image search)

{a princess}

I am a child of royal birth.
My Father is King of heaven and earth.
My spirit was born in the courts on high.
A child beloved, a princess am I.

(Anna Johnson)

{a happy marriage}

"A happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one's companion."

President Gordon B. Hinckley
Ensign, May 1991, 73

"Marriage partners must be quick to forgive. If we will sue for peace, taking the initiative in settling differences - if we forgive and forget with all our hearts... if we forgive all real or fancied offenses before we ask forgiveness for our own sins... what a glorious world this would be! Divorce would be reduced to a minimum; courts would be freed from disgusting routines; family life would be heavenly; the building of the kingdom would go forward at an accelerated pace; and the peace which passeth understanding would bring to us all a joy and happiness which has hardly 'entered into the heart of man'."

President Spencer W. Kimball