Sunday, January 28, 2018

Personal Revelation

Michelle was asked to speak in sacrament meeting today.  She wrote her talk herself, although I did read it and give a couple of small suggestions.  She did a great job speaking today.  But the part I love the most about this is that a couple of days ago, I was telling Michelle about an idea/thought that had come to me several times.  As I said that, she said, "Mom, you know that is personal revelation, right?"  And I did.  But I was so pleased that she did as well!
I was asked to give a talk on personal revelation. To me, personal revelation is somewhat like an eye-opener that is given to you that will help you surpass the hard trials in life or help you maintain joy throughout your life.
To start off, In the April 2017 conference, Ronald A. Rasband gave a talk called “Let the holy spirit guide” There is a specific part of his talk I would like to share...He says, “By divine Assignment the holy ghost inspires, testifies, teaches, and prompts us to walk in the light of the lord.”
In his talk, we learn that the Holy Ghost is who gives us personal revelation.. And Elder Rasband gives four ways to keep the Holy Ghost surrounding you. He says,
“1. Strive to live worthy of the spirit. Meaning: Be kind, use appropriate language, pray as often as you can, and attend church.
2nd, be willing to receive the spirit. Don’t say a prayer then get busy doing something else..sit, wait, and listen.
3rd: recognize the spirit when it comes..the spirit often uses a still small voice or a feeling to tell you what you need to do. Elder Rasband also said, “The spirit most often communicates as a feeling.”
Finally, act on the first prompting. Sometimes I’ll see someone in the hallway that looks lonely, usually I get a voice prompting me to go say hi or to invite them to sit with me. I can recall an experience where my friend and I acted upon that thought and now whenever we see that person in the hallway. We will say hello.
Sheri Dew once said, “Personal revelation is a powerful, persuasive antidote to uncertainty and confusion.” These wise words tell us that when we are uncertain and confused we need to rely on the Lord to help us out and it will be like an antidote for an illness.
I was told a story about a loving and devoted mother who was told that her family needed to be vegetarian, she didn’t know why but she followed that prompting. Later, her husband became ill... but was able to survive because he was vegetarian. Now I’m not saying we should all become vegetarian and we will survive great sicknesses.. I’m saying this mother relied on Heavenly Father to know that she was doing the right thing for their family.
We can also find other ways of getting personal revelation. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “The scriptures and the words of modern-day apostles and prophets are the source of wisdom, divine knowledge, and personal revelation to help us find answers to all challenges in life.”
The song “Let the Holy Spirit Guide” says,
1. Let the Holy Spirit guide;
Let him teach us what is true.
He will testify of Christ,
Light our minds with heaven’s view.
2. Let the Holy Spirit guard;
Let his whisper govern choice.
He will lead us safely home
If we listen to his voice.
3. Let the Spirit heal our hearts
Thru his quiet, gentle pow’r.
May we purify our lives
To receive him hour by hour
This song helps me understand that when we are going through hard times and we feel like we're drowning we can rely on the savior to help us back up because he will ALWAYS help us back up and onward throughout our lifetime on earth. And he helps us through the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost speaks to us, guides us, and comforts us in our time of need.
I know that From, personal revelation we can find help for our questions and challenges no matter how great or small. (Share the rest of your testimony)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

President Nelson

I have missed studying conference talks about the life of the Savior as I did during December and discussing them online with a group.  Or discussing conference talks with a Facebook group for 40 days after October conference.  I have still read several conference talks in January, but when I don't have a structure for my reading, it doesn't feel quite as meaningful and I'm also more likely to skip it on busy days.  So I'm creating a structure for myself. 

Our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson died a little over a week ago.  His funeral was on Friday.  He touched countless lives, including mine.  I mean, I never met him personally (although Michelle did get to shake his hand once).  But his teachings and his life and his biography have impacted me.

 President Russell M. Nelson held a special worldwide broadcast this morning (1/16/18).  He will serve as our next prophet.  He selected Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring to serve as his counselors.  Each of them spoke for a few minutes.  I loved their messages...I was working during the broadcast, so I watched it tonight.  So yesterday I decided  that it would be a great idea to go back and study some of his former talks.  A couple of them I have reread pretty recently, so I am not necessarily going to go in order.  I'm going to read recent talks that sound inspiring to me each day and share my thoughts here. 
  Ask, Seek, Knock (October 2009)
He talks about the miracles of modern technology, such as being able to learn of the birth of a new child in his family when he and his wife were clear across the world.  Then he says, "Even more amazing than modern technology is our opportunity to access information directly from heaven, without hardware, software, or monthly service fees. It is one of the most marvelous gifts the Lord has offered to mortals. It is His generous invitation to “ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

"To access information from heaven, one must first have a firm faith and a deep desire. One needs to “ask with a sincere heart [and] real intent, having faith in [Jesus] Christ.”2 “Real intent” means that one really intends to follow the divine direction given."

"After such a conversion takes place, even further spiritual refinement can come. Personal revelation can be honed to become spiritual discernment. To discern means to sift, to separate, or to distinguish.8 The gift of spiritual discernment is a supernal gift.9 It allows members of the Church to see things not visible and to feel things not tangible."

"Revelation need not all come at once. It may be incremental. “Saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more.”14 Patience and perseverance are part of our eternal progression."

"Every Latter-day Saint may merit personal revelation. The invitation to ask, seek, and knock for divine direction exists because God lives and Jesus is the living Christ. It exists because this is His living Church."

What a tremendous blessing it is to have personal revelation!!

How Firm Our Foundation (April 2002)
"Before the foundation of the earth, the plan of salvation was prepared.3 It included the glorious possibility of a divine inheritance in the kingdom of God."

"Sisters received special gifts. They, according to the Lord, were empowered “to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, … for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; … herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.”16Think of it: When a mother bears and cares for a child, she not only helps the earth answer the end of its creation,17 but she glorifies God!"

"Just as buildings and institutions have foundations, so do we as individuals have foundations that support our faith. Some are weak; some are strong. We can waffle “like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed,”30 or we can stand on a firm foundation and anchor ourselves with straps of spiritual steel, rooted and grounded to the timeless pillars of the gospel."

"Though we don’t know all things,39 we know that God lives and that He loves us.40 Standing on that firm foundation, we can reach up and find strength to endure the heavy burdens of life."

"How firm our foundation? The foundation of this Church was forged long before the world was. It is strong. It is true. It is eternal. The foundation of one’s individual faith, if anchored firmly to eternal truth, allows each of us to reach upward with an eternal perspective.43 That faith will give hope when there is no hope. It will give us joy here and eternal life hereafter. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Jesus Christ-The Master Healer (October 2005)
"I testify of Jesus Christ as the Master Healer. It is but one of many attributes that characterize His incomparable life.
Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Creator, the great Jehovah, the promised Immanuel, our atoning Savior and Redeemer, our Advocate with the Father, our great Exemplar. And one day we will stand before Him as our just and merciful Judge."
"I recognize that, on occasion, some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered. We wonder, “Why?” I know that feeling! I know the fears and tears of such moments. But I also know that our prayers are never ignored. Our faith is never unappreciated. I know that an all-wise Heavenly Father’s perspective is much broader than is ours. While we know of our mortal problems and pain, He knows of our immortal progress and potential. If we pray to know His will and submit ourselves to it with patience and courage, heavenly healing can take place in His own way and time."

"Early in His mortal ministry, Jesus announced that He had been sent “to heal the brokenhearted.”14 Wherever He taught them, His pattern was consistent. As I quote His words spoken at four different times and locations, note the pattern.

  • To people of the Holy Land, the Lord said that His people “should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”15
  • To people of ancient America, the resurrected Lord extended this invitation: “Return unto me, … repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you.”

  • To leaders of His Church, He taught, “Continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them.”17
  • Later, during the “restitution of all things,”18 the Lord taught the Prophet Joseph Smith regarding the pioneers, “After their temptations, and much tribulation, behold, I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them.”
"The sequence of His pattern is significant. Faith, repentance, baptism, a testimony, and enduring conversion lead to the healing power of the Lord. Baptism is a covenant act—a sign of a commitment and a promise. Testimony develops when the Holy Ghost gives conviction to the earnest seeker of the truth. True testimony fosters faith; it promotes repentance and obedience to God’s commandments. Testimony engenders enthusiasm to serve God and fellow human beings.20 Conversion means “to turn with.”21 Conversion is a turning from the ways of the world to, and staying with, the ways of the Lord. Conversion includes repentance and obedience. Conversion brings a mighty change of heart.22Thus, a true convert is “born again,”23 walking with a newness of life."
"When sore trials come upon us,32 it’s time to deepen our faith in God, to work hard, and to serve others. Then He will heal our broken hearts. He will bestow upon us personal peace33 and comfort.34 Those great gifts will not be destroyed, even by death."
"The gift of resurrection is the Lord’s consummate act of healing. Thanks to Him, each body will be restored to its proper and perfect frame.35 Thanks to Him, no condition is hopeless. Thanks to Him, brighter days are ahead, both here and hereafter. Real joy awaits each of us—on the other side of sorrow."
"As conflicts between nations escalate, as cowardly terrorists prey on the innocent, and as corruption in everything from business to government becomes increasingly commonplace, what can help us? What can help each of us with our personal struggles and with the rigorous challenge of living in these latter days?"  (I think many people are asking just exactly this question...and their answers are varied.  But I'm grateful to have prophetic answers!)

"Clearly, Lehi knew opposition, anxiety, heartache, pain, disappointment, and sorrow. Yet he declared boldly and without reservation a principle as revealed by the Lord: “Men are, that they might have joy.”6 Imagine! Of all the words he could have used to describe the nature and purpose of our lives here in mortality, he chose the word joy!"

"Life is filled with detours and dead ends, trials and challenges of every kind. Each of us has likely had times when distress, anguish, and despair almost consumed us. Yet we are here to have joy?

Yes! The answer is a resounding yes! But how is that possible? And what must we do to claim the joy that Heavenly Father has in store for us?"
"My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.
When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, which President Thomas S. Monson just taught us, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmastime when we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.”9 And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy!"
"How, then, can we claim that joy? We can start by “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”15 “in every thought.”16We can give thanks for Him in our prayers and by keeping covenants we’ve made with Him and our Heavenly Father. As our Savior becomes more and more real to us and as we plead for His joy to be given to us, our joy will increase.  Joy is powerful, and focusing on joy brings God’s power into our lives." (I added the underlining, because I want to remember is powerful and it brings God's power into our lives!)
"What will you and I be able to endure as we focus on the joy that is “set before” us?20 What repenting will then be possible? What weakness will become a strength?21 What chastening will become a blessing?22 What disappointments, even tragedies, will turn to our good?23 And what challenging service to the Lord will we be able to give?"

"He taught us how to have joy. When we choose Heavenly Father to be our God31 and when we can feel the Savior’s Atonement working in our lives, we will be filled with joy.32 Every time we nurture our spouse and guide our children, every time we forgive someone or ask for forgiveness, we can feel joy.
Every day that you and I choose to live celestial laws, every day that we keep our covenants and help others to do the same, joy will be ours."

This past few days haven't been very filled with joy, although there certainly have been moments of peace.  My heart is aching for the Wibergs.  I miss Carin.  But I love these promises.  In the past couple of months, I have learned better how much joy I can feel when I nurture my spouse and guide my children, when I forgive, when I love even when it is hard.  Last night I looked up this verse of scripture:  Psalm 30:5 "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."  Through this gospel there is peace and hope.  I'm so grateful!
I'm actually coming back to add a little bit more.  The quotes above were the ones that struck me as I first read through the talk, but as I was pondering it afterward, there's actually a whole other element that I don't think I'd ever understood before.  I'm sure I have read this talk a couple of times before, but this part never caught my attention until today.  He says, "
Joy is powerful, and focusing on joy brings God’s power into our lives. As in all things, Jesus Christ is our ultimate exemplar, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.”17 Think of that! In order for Him to endure the most excruciating experience ever endured on earth, our Savior focused on joy!
And what was the joy that was set before Him? Surely it included the joy of cleansing, healing, and strengthening us; the joy of paying for the sins of all who would repent; the joy of making it possible for you and me to return home—clean and worthy—to live with our Heavenly Parents and families."  President Nelson then goes on to explain that if we will focus on future joy as we are experiencing hardship, it will give us power to do more, repent more, love more, etc.  I guess I'd never really considered that the Savior focused on joy to help Him endure His agonizing pain.  And  I'd never heard it explained in such a way how we can use the hope/promise of future joy to help us find peace, strength and power in hard times.  It's pretty amazing to me...and it feels more doable than to just grit my teeth and decide that I'm going to be happy despite my challenges.  Because I'm actually pretty lousy at that! 

"In a letter to one of his most trusted companions, Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”4 That counsel is just as valid for us now as it was then. It applies to our full-time missionaries; it applies equally to each member of the Church. Whether full-time missionaries or members, we should all be good examples of the believers in Jesus Christ."

"Missionaries serve to make life better for God’s children. Heavenly Father loves every one of His children. After all, He is their Father. He wants to bless them with His greatest gift, that of eternal life.6Missionaries so teach wherever they serve. They help people to develop faith in the Lord, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, receive the ordinances of the temple, and endure faithfully to the end. God’s work and glory—“to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”7—is also the sacred work and glory of each missionary."   (As we have two young sister missionaries serving from our ward, both of whom I was privileged to serve in YW and who I love, this quote is especially meaningful to me right now.)

"Each member can be an example of the believers. Brethren, as followers of Jesus Christ, each of you can live in accord with His teachings. You can have “a pure heart and clean hands”; you can have “the image of God engraven upon your [countenance].”10Your good works will be evident to others.11 The light of the Lord can beam from your eyes.12 With that radiance, you had better prepare for questions. The Apostle Peter so counseled, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you."

"As a member of the Church, reach out to those you do not know and greet them warmly. Each Sunday extend a hand of fellowship to at least one person you did not know before. Each day of your life, strive to enlarge your own circle of friendship."  (This is interesting to me because a friend posted on Facebook on Friday a clip from a TED talk given by a professor at BYU.  She studied different lifestyle behaviors and examined their impact on life expectancy.  What she found was that the two behaviors that seemed to have the biggest impact on life expectancy was having good friends and being socially integrated.  By social integration, she meant having relationships with people throughout our day/lives.  Things like speaking to the person who always changes your oil, interacting with the mail carrier, belonging to social groups, chatting with the custodian at your place of employment, etc.  Pretty interesting that this has such an impact on your life expectancy.  And it can also have an impact, obviously, on your ability to be an example and share the gospel with others.  It's something that I'm not necessarily very good at, but I'm trying to be better.)

"Scripture tells us that “there are many yet on the earth … who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.”20Isn’t that your opportunity? You can become their own disciple of discovery!"

A dear friend of mine passed away unexpectedly today.  My heart is broken.  It's hard to believe she is gone.  I need comfort.  So I looked to see if President Nelson had spoken about grief, and he gave a talk in  April 1992 called Doors of Death.  Here are my favorite parts of the talk:

"Death separates “the spirit and the body [which] are the soul of man.” (D&C 88:15.) That separation evokes pangs of sorrow and shock among those left behind. The hurt is real. Only its intensity varies. Some doors are heavier than others. The sense of tragedy may be related to age. Generally the younger the victim, the greater the grief. Yet even when the elderly or infirm have been afforded merciful relief, their loved ones are rarely ready to let go. The only length of life that seems to satisfy the longings of the human heart is life everlasting."

"Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.” (D&C 42:45.)

Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life."

"Returning from earth to life in our heavenly home requires passage through—and not around—the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live. (See 2 Cor. 6:9.) As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven."   **I really love these lines, and they brought me some comfort this evening. 


"Our limited perspective would be enlarged if we could witness the reunion on the other side of the veil, when doors of death open to those returning home. Such was the vision of the psalmist who wrote, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Ps. 116:15.)"  *It wasn't that long ago that Carin's dad died.  I'm sure they are having a joyful reunion today.

"Meanwhile, we who tarry here have a few precious moments remaining “to prepare to meet God.” (Alma 34:32.) Unfinished business is our worst business. Perpetual procrastination must yield to perceptive preparation. Today we have a little more time to bless others—time to be kinder, more compassionate, quicker to thank and slower to scold, more generous in sharing, more gracious in caring."

" life! Cherish each moment as a blessing from God. (See Mosiah 2:21.) Live it well—even to your loftiest potential. Then the anticipation of death shall not hold you hostage. With the help of the Lord, your deeds and desires will qualify you to receive everlasting joy, glory, immortality, and eternal lives."


Let Your Faith Show (April 2014)
"The word religion literally means “to ligate again” or “to tie back” to God.1 The question we might ask ourselves is, are we securely tied to God so that our faith shows, or are we actually tied to something else?"

"There is only One in whom your faith is always safe, and that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. And you need to let your faith show!"

"Spiritual truth cannot be ignored—especially divine commandments. Keeping divine commandments brings blessings, every time! Breaking divine commandments brings a loss of blessings, every time!"

"We can gain great knowledge from the scriptures and obtain inspiration through prayers of faith.
Doing so will help us as we make daily decisions. Especially when the laws of man are created and enforced, God’s laws must ever be our standard. In dealing with controversial issues, we should first search for God’s guidance."

"In 1986, President Thomas S. Monson said: “Of course we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. … Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with [faith] have courage as well.”'

"Day after day, on your path toward your eternal destiny, increase your faith. Proclaim your faith! Let your faith show!13

I pray that you will be securely tied back to God, that His eternal truths will be etched on your heart forever. And I pray that, throughout your life, you will let your faith show!"

Sustaining the Prophets  (How appropriate for today...1/16/18)
"Imagine the privilege the Lord has given us of sustaining His prophet, whose counsel will be untainted, unvarnished, unmotivated by any personal aspiration, and utterly true!"

"My dear brothers and sisters, if the Restoration did anything, it shattered the age-old myth that God had stopped talking to His children. Nothing could be further from the truth. A prophet has stood at the head of God’s Church in all dispensations, from Adam to the present day.4 Prophets testify of Jesus Christ—of His divinity and of His earthly mission and ministry.5 We honor the Prophet Joseph Smith as the prophet of this last dispensation. And we honor each man who has succeeded him as President of the Church."

"Our sustaining of prophets is a personal commitment that we will do our utmost to uphold their prophetic priorities. Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us."

"Twenty-six years before he became President of the Church, then-Elder George Albert Smith said: “The obligation that we make when we raise our hands … is a most sacred one. It does not mean that we will go quietly on our way and be willing that the prophet of the Lord shall direct this work, but it means … that we will stand behind him; we will pray for him; we will defend his good name, and we will strive to carry out his instructions as the Lord shall direct.”

"The living Lord leads His living Church!12 The Lord reveals His will for the Church to His prophet."

"President Monson continued: “Despite any health challenges that may come to us, despite any weakness in body or mind, we serve to the best of our ability. I assure you that the Church is in good hands. The system set up for the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve [Apostles] assures [us] that it will always be in good hands and that, come what may, there is no need to worry or to fear. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, whom we follow, whom we worship, and whom we serve, is ever at the helm.”

What a wonderful system...and what a tremendous blessing to know that the living Lord leads His living Church!

A Plea To My Sisters (October 2015)
Inspiring Quotes:
Speaking of President Packer and Elder Perry's wives at the loss of these two great men, Elder Nelson says, "Through their husbands’ final hours and continuing to the present day, these stalwart women have shown the strength and courage that covenant-keeping women always demonstrate.2 It would be impossible to measure the influence that such women have, not only on families but also on the Lord’s Church, as wives, mothers, and grandmothers; as sisters and aunts; as teachers and leaders; and especially as exemplars and devout defenders of the faith."  Do I show strength and courage?  Sometimes I feel pretty weak and fearful.  It's so much harder for me to truly act in loving ways consistently than I feel like it should be.  But I do believe that women have such an impact on others.

He quoted President Kimball's prophesy, given in 1979:  "Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world."

Then President Nelson said, "You are the women he foresaw! Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith, and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!6

We, your brethren, need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices. The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God!"  This is the kind of woman I want to be.  Those are the character traits I want to possess:  virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith.

I love President Nelson's story of his wife Dantzel.  He was discouraged after an unsuccessful heart surgery.  He cried all night.  He thought he'd never perform another surgery.  But his wife told him he needed to get up and start learning more.  Otherwise, other people would have to study and learn what he already knew.  And so he did.  And he went on to perform many successful surgeries, including one that saved President Kimball's life.

"My dear sisters, whatever your calling, whatever your circumstances, we need your impressions, your insights, and your inspiration."
"Attacks against the Church, its doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase. Because of this, we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation.12 We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve."