Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Relief Society Lesson

I have a very old computer, and I feel pretty sure that someday soon it will crash. I felt the spirit quite strongly as I prepared and gave my lesson in Relief Society this past Sunday, and I want to preserve it so my children can read it and so I can reread it. So I'm posting it here so that if my computer crashes, I still have it. I learned quite a bit as I prepared it. I think the lesson was as much for me as for anyone else.
Relief Society Lesson
January 6, 2013

Presidency introduces selves-5-7 minutes

Today I want to share my vision for our Relief Society. It is a new year. Many of us have set goals and are going to try to be a little better this year. Now I want to apologize up front, because I am probably going to be emotional. And I think I’ve probably over prepared. I know it is best when the lesson comes not just from me, but when others participate, so please make comments. Usually, I include a lot of questions in my lessons, but in this one I found that I had so much to say that I haven’t done that as much. But please feel free to share your thoughts.

Why are we here on Earth?

What is our goal? Eternal life Moses 1:39 Who do we want to be there with us? Our families…our friends… our neighbors, our sisters

Our goal as the Relief Society Presidency is to help each of you, each of us, to really know that we are daughters of God and to really feel loved…by us as a Presidency and much more importantly, by your Heavenly Father and Savior. We want to strengthen your faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and help you prepare for eternal life.

Let me share three scriptures with you that I love: Oliver Cowdery had been serving as scribe to Joseph Smith. He desired the opportunity to translate. Doctrine and Covenants was the Lord’s answer to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Will someone read D & C 6:20... He truly can encircle us in the arms of His love if we turn to Him. He knows us, by name--just as he called Joseph Smith by name when God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in the Sacred Grove, here they called Oliver by name. They know your name too. Our Savior loves us so much. (Temple?)

D&C 18:10...this is a missionary scripture to remind us to find those who are seeking to know the truth…but it is also a deeply personal scripture. Your worth is great. Your neighbor’s worth is great. The sisters you visit teach…their worth is great.

Romans 8:16-18

JULIE BECK: Relief Society Auxiliary Training
Preparing Now for Eternal Life

Moses 5... Adam and Eve… The world today teaches the gospel of ease…. The world says you should please yourself and make yourself happy… It stirs up discontent. All these things we know are the devil’s offense. They’re his gospel. He’s preaching that everyone has got to get ahead and there are winners and losers. And if you’re not a winner, then you are a loser.

It’s hard to see ourselves on this eternal continuum, as our Heavenly Father sees us. As a work in progress. We’re not finished yet. We learn from the Doctrine and Covenants that the Lord loves beginners. .. I sometimes wonder how the Lord can put up with all of our mistakes, but he does. And we have this wonderful gospel of the Atonement that’s just out there like a beacon of light. The Apostle Paul teaches in the New Testament that every week when you partake of the sacrament, you get a new you. …You can just bury the old you and get a new one each week… Because of the Atonement, we get new chances all the time….

In chapter 5 of Moses, we learn about Adam and Eve. They were in the garden and they had this glorious existence….They didn’t have to think about cooking dinner. They didn’t have to think about earning money or about disobedient children. It was just happy and sweet all of the time. But Eve knew that was not the dream. She was not living the dream. The dream is eternal life and that’s what God has promised us. But to get to the dream, we have to go through an experience. That’s mortality…. Moses 5... Verse 10-11... Our transgression…our mortal experience… “This life is the experience.”

We all have questions, problems. That is the experience. It prepares us for eternal life. Adam and Eve understood from the very beginning. Relief Society is to prepare all sisters to receive eternal life. Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is our propelling force. And then to increase in personal righteousness, that’s the daily personal effort. P. 5 in Daughters of my Kingdom (Not for the seasonal worker, Pres. Kimball)

“So when we feel discouraged and sisters say, “I’ll never be enough,” That is true. But it’s okay because we have the Atonement in our lives and the Savior makes up the difference for all our inadequacies and imperfections and the things we miss and regret and the things we need help doing. That faith in the Lord Jesus Christ gets us through the hard days and the difficult journey.”
We are all at different places on the road, but we all need to be strengthened. We need to attend church, renew our baptismal covenants. We need to repent. We all need to study our scriptures and pray. And we all need to help each other along the path.

Brigham Young…plight of pioneers and he told them< “Your faith, religion, and profession of religion will never save one soul of you in the Celestial Kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just such principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains...otherwise your faith will be in vain.” … Sisters took off their petticoats and stockings right there in tabernacle to donate. They showed obedience to the prophet, sacrifice, service… they saved the lives of their brothers and sisters. Sisters, as I reread this story this past week I was hit so strongly that we have the same obligation. I have wondered and hoped that if I had been there, I would have also done my part to rescue those saints. Well, we have been asked to help rescue our fellow saints.

Each of us knows sisters that are in just as desperate a plight spiritually and/or emotionally. We know sisters that are struggling spiritually and that need us to come to their rescue. It might be a neighbor, a family member or a sister we visit teach. The need today is just as great, although it may not be as visible Many of the trials we experience today are more private but the Lord is just as aware of the needs of our sisters. We need to listen to the spirit and then follow its promptings. You never know if your phone call or visit or helping hand might be the one that saves a life, a spiritual life. Maybe as I am talking/teaching, a name will come into your head of someone you can reach out to. I hope you will follow that prompting. Or perhaps this week, your thoughts will linger on someone. Give them a call or stop by to visit. As President Hinckley said we all need a friend, a responsibility and nurturing with the good word of God.

In Relief Society auxiliary training last February, Sister Bradshaw (part of the former General Relief Society presidency) said, “We have been invited by the Savior to participate in His work and that is a privilege.”

Quote #1 Pres. Kimball said, “There are many sisters who are living in rags--spiritual rags. They are entitled to gorgeous robes, spiritual robes…. It is your privilege to go into homes and exchange robes for rags… You are going to save souls.”

As we visit teach, as we invite someone to sit by us in Relief Society, as we smile and say hi, as we take meals to those in need or perform countless other acts of service, we are helping our sisters to remove their spiritual rags and replace them with robes. As we follow the promptings of the spirit, we can change lives, soften hearts and lift spirits.

In conference, Elder Ballard talked about honeybees. Each bee only produces 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its life. But together, they produce massive quantities of honey. He went on to compare this to our service. If each of us served one person each day or even each week, think how many acts of service that would be. How many burdens would be lightened and testimonies would be strengthened?

Quote #2 Elder Ballard said, “What would be the cumulative effect of millions of small, compassionate acts peformed daily by us because of our heartfelt Christian love for others? Over time this would have a transformative effect upon all of our Heavenly Father’s children through the extension of His love to them through us. Our troubled world needs this love of Christ today more than ever, and it will need it even more in the years ahead….There is power in our love for God and for His children, and when that love is tangibly manifest in millions of acts of Christian kindness, it will sweeten and nourish the world with the life-sustaining nectar of faith, hope and charity.”

Elder Ballard asked us to each ask in our morning prayer daily to have Heavenly Father guide us to an opportunity to serve. If we do, we will be led by the spirit to know who to serve and how to serve them. It doesn’t have to be something big…and often it won’t take more than a few minutes out of our day, but if we pray for this and then keep our eyes, open we will notice chances to serve. And even if our actions are small, they will add up, just as the bees 1/12 of a teaspoon.

DROPS OF AWESOMENESS… But I would call them drops of divinity, for who you truly are is a daughter of God. So when you do Christlike things, when you make right choices, you are choosing to do what He would do. You are choosing to be who you really are, a righteous woman of God. An imperfect woman, a human, but still a daughter of the divine, a woman of infinite worth. (See my previous post.)

Our Relief Society General President, Linda Burton asked us to first observe, then serve. In the General Relief Society meeting, Sister Burton spoke about having faith in the Atonement written in our hearts. She said this, “Remember the woman President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke of recently? He said: “One woman who had been through years of trial and sorrow said through her tears, ‘I have come to realize that I am like an old 20-dollar bill—crumpled, torn, dirty, abused, and scarred. But I am still a 20-dollar bill. I am worth something. Even though I may not look like much and even though I have been battered and used, I am still worth the full 20 dollars.’”15
This woman knows that she is a beloved daughter of her Heavenly Father and that she was worth enough to Him to send His Son to atone for her, individually. Every sister in the Church should know what this woman knows—that she is a beloved daughter of God. How does knowing our worth to Him change how we keep our covenants? How does knowing our worth to Him affect our desire to minister to others? How does knowing our worth to Him increase our desire to help those who need to understand the Atonement as we do—way down deep? When each of us has the doctrine of the Atonement written deep in our hearts, then we will begin to become the kind of people the Lord wants us to be when He comes again. He will recognize us as His true disciples.”

Let’s all go home together… let’s make it home. I don’t want any of us left behind.
Quote #3 President Uchtdorf said, “One day we will take that unavoidable step and cross from this mortal sphere into the next estate. One day we will look back at our lives and wonder if we could have been better, made better decisions, or used our time more wisely. It is my testimony that many of the deepest regrets of tomorrow can be prevented by following the Savior today.”

Let us follow the Savior today. Let us remember who we are, beloved daughters of God. Let us help to lift up the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. Let us dress our fellow sisters in spiritual robes and rescue those who are struggling. Let’s all go home together, to be with our familes and our loved ones and our neighbors and with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sisters, I want you to know that I love you. Many of you have been my friends for years, but there are some of you that I don’t know as well. But my heart has been filled with love for you. I hope you know that you truly are a daughter of God. That you are doing great things and that with the Savior’s help and by following the promptings of the spirit, you can do even more. I know we are busy. I know we get overwhelmed and discouraged, but the Lord is there. He knows you and He knows what you need. He wants to bless you, and He wants to bless those around you. Pray to feel His love for you and to feel His love for those around you.