Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
"One can be sincerely grateful for his major blessings but regularly murmur over minor irritations. One can have humility that is hierarchical: being humble up, but not humble down. Enduring large tests while failing the seemingly small quizzes just won’t do."
—Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, November 1997-
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
"In the stillness of not one night but several, I awoke with a clear realization that I was not taking the course the Lord would want me to take. I was not acting on my faith that His arm of mercy was truly extended towards me--if I would act aright. I prayed for strength and courage, humbled myself, and went to the sister's home and asked for her forgiveness. For us both, it proved to be a sweet, healing experience."
Friday, November 20, 2009
"One of your particular gifts is your feminine intuition. Do not limit yourselves. As you seek to know the will of our Heavenly Father in your life and become more spiritual, you will be far more attractive, even irresistible. You can use your smiling loveliness to bless those you love and all you meet, and spread great joy. Femininity is part of the God-given divinity within each of you. It is your incomparable power and influence to do good. You can, through your supernal gifts, bless the lives of children, women, and men. Be proud of your womanhood. Enhance it. Use it to serve others."
("Womanhood: The Highest Place of Honor," Ensign, May 2000, 96)
Thursday, November 19, 2009
"Third, live in the present. Sometimes we let our thoughts of tomorrow take up too much of today. Daydreaming of the past and longing for the future may provide comfort but will not take the place of living in the present. This is the day of our opportunity, and we must grasp it.
Professor Harold Hill, in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, cautioned: “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.”
There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today, and to live most fully today, we must do that which is of greatest importance. Let us not procrastinate those things which matter most.
I recently read the account of a man who, just after the passing of his wife, opened her dresser drawer and found there an item of clothing she had purchased when they visited the eastern part of the United States nine years earlier. She had not worn it but was saving it for a special occasion. Now, of course, that occasion would never come.
In relating the experience to a friend, the husband said, “Don’t save something only for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion.”
That friend later said those words changed her life. They helped her to cease putting off the things most important to her. Said she: “Now I spend more time with my family. I use crystal glasses every day. I’ll wear new clothes to go to the supermarket if I feel like it. The words ‘someday’ and ‘one day’ are fading from my vocabulary. Now I take the time to call my relatives and closest friends. I’ve called old friends to make peace over past quarrels. I tell my family members how much I love them. I try not to delay or postpone anything that could bring laughter and joy into our lives. And each morning, I say to myself that this could be a special day. Each day, each hour, each minute, is special.”
A wonderful example of this philosophy was shared by Arthur Gordon many years ago in a national magazine. He wrote:
“When I was around thirteen and my brother ten, Father had promised to take us to the circus. But at lunchtime there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. We braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say [into the phone], ‘No, I won’t be down. It’ll have to wait.’
“When he came back to the table, Mother smiled. ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know,’ [she said].
“ ‘I know,’ said Father. ‘But childhood doesn’t.’ ”
One day, each of us will run out of tomorrows. Let us not put off what is most important.
Live in the present.
(to read the full talk, click here)
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
"Second, prepare for the future. We live in a changing world. Technology has altered nearly every aspect of our lives. We must cope with these advances—even these cataclysmic changes—in a world of which our forebears never dreamed.
Remember the promise of the Lord: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” Fear is a deadly enemy of progress.
It is necessary to prepare and to plan so that we don’t fritter away our lives. Without a goal, there can be no real success. One of the best definitions of success I have ever heard goes something like this: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Someone has said the trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never crossing the goal line.
Years ago there was a romantic and fanciful ballad that contained the words, “Wishing will make it so / Just keep on wishing / And care will go.” I want to state here and now that wishing will not replace thorough preparation to meet the trials of life. Preparation is hard work but absolutely essential for our progress.
Our journey into the future will not be a smooth highway which stretches from here to eternity. Rather, there will be forks and turnings in the road, to say nothing of the unanticipated bumps. We must pray daily to a loving Heavenly Father, who wants each of us to succeed in life.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
"Today I have chosen to provide the three pieces of your treasure map to guide you to your eternal
happiness. They are:
1. Learn from the past.
2. Prepare for the future.
3. Live in the present.
Let us consider each segment of the map.
First, learn from the past. Each of us has a heritage—whether from pioneer forebears, later converts, or others who helped to shape our lives. This heritage provides a foundation built of sacrifice and faith. Ours is the privilege and responsibility to build on such firm and stable footings.
A story written by Karen Nolen, which appeared in the New Era in 1974, tells of a Benjamin Landart who, in 1888, was 15 years old and an accomplished violinist. Living on a farm in northern Utah with his mother and seven brothers and sisters was sometimes a challenge to Benjamin, as he had less time than he would have liked to play his violin. Occasionally his mother would lock up the violin until he had his farm chores done, so great was the temptation for Benjamin to play it.
In late 1892 Benjamin was asked to travel to Salt Lake to audition for a place with the territorial o
rchestra. For him, this was a dream come true. After several weeks of practicing and prayers, he went to Salt Lake in March of 1893 for the much anticipated audition. When he heard Benjamin play, the conductor, a Mr. Dean, told Benjamin he was the most accomplished violinist he had heard west of Denver. He was told to report to Denver for rehearsals in the fall and learned that he would be earning enough to keep himself, with some left over to send home.
A week after Benjamin received the good news, however, his bishop called him into his office and asked if he couldn’t put off playing with the orchestra for a couple of years. He told Benjamin that before he started earning money there was something he owed the Lord. He then asked Benjamin to accept a mission call.
Benjamin felt that giving up his chance to play in the territorial orchestra would be almost more than he could bear, but he also knew what his decision should be. He promised the bishop that if there were any way to raise the money for him to serve, he would accept the call.
When Benjamin told his mother about the call, she was overjoyed. She told him that his father had always wanted to serve a mission but had been killed before that opportunity had come to him. However, when they discussed the financing of the mission, her face clouded over. Benjamin told her he would not allow her to sell any more of their land. She studied his face for a moment and then said, “Ben, there is a way we can raise the money. This family [has] one thing that is of great enough value to send you on your mission. You will have to sell your violin.”
Ten days later, on March 23, 1893, Benjamin wrote in his journal: “I awoke this morning and took my violin from its case. All day long I played the music I love. In the evening when the light grew dim and I could see to play no longer, I placed the instrument in its case. It will be enough. Tomorrow I leave [for my mission].”
Forty-five years later, on June 23, 1938, Benjamin wrote in his journal: “The greatest decision I ever made in my life was to give up something I dearly loved to the God I loved even more. He has never forgotten me for it.”
Learn from the past."
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
You parents of the wilful and the wayward: Don't give them up. Don't cast them off. They are not utterly lost. The Shepherd will find his sheep. They were his before they were yours--long before he entrusted them to your care; and you cannot begin to love them as he loves them. Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend.
See how important it is to follow the admonition given by King Benjamin in Mosiah 4:9:
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; [most of us will go along with that, but the last part] believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend [sometimes we, by our actions, think we are smarter than he is].
Let's not spend our time hoping or worrying about justice being done to others. It will be done. Let's spend our time being just ourselves.
One of Satan's ultimate weapons (if not the ultimate) is to remove hope from your life. He tries to convince you that you can't do it, that there is no hope. Thus, by removing hope, he removes Christ from your life, for Christ is hope. Satan can never quite accomplish that fully--at least not here--because it is a lie. There is hope built within all of us. There is always hope.
On the other hand, the thing Satan cannot fight is one who is full of hope--for he is then full of the Spirit of Christ--and when that hope is perfected or full, Satan has lost completely.
(John H. Groberg, 'There is Always Hope', BYU 3 June 1984)
Saturday, November 7, 2009
We spend so much time and effort seeking remedies or justice (on spiritual things especially) "here and now" when, in fact, much, if not most, of justice will be done "there and then." We ought to spend time and effort here and now to prepare for there and then. Most "justice" occurs after this life. We ought to be glad it does, for so much went on before and will go on after of which we are not aware--but God is aware.
If we are to have a fullness of hope (and that is our goal--hope in all things), our hope must transcend this mortal existence. It had better, or as Paul indicated, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (1 Corinthians 15:19). One who has true hope in Christ will not judge others.
From a remarkable talk give by President Stephen L. Richards in April of 1956, let me quote:
The Lord has said, "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men" (D&C 64:10). If we were more liberal in our forgiveness, we would be more encouraging to repentance. Someone has said that the supreme charity of the world is in obedience to the divine injunction, "Judge not." When the Savior gave that injunction, he was well aware of the limitations of human understanding and sympathy. We can see overt acts but we cannot see inner feelings nor can we read intentions. An all-wise Providence in making judgment sees and knows all the phases of human conduct. We know but few of the phases, and none very well. To be considerate and kind in judgment is a Christlike attribute. [Stephen L. Richards, April Conference, 8 April 1956]
Those with hope, then, do not judge. When I hear of people making judgments (and we all do more than we want to--we do too much--and it is a sign of our having less hope than we should), I think, "Who do we think we are anyway? The very best of us, the most kind or most loving and forgiving among us is only, as it were, in kindergarten--or lower."
(John H. Groberg, 'There is Always Hope', BYU, 3 Jun 1984)