Friday, February 25, 2011

Be Thou Humble...

A scripture has been running through my head for the past couple days, and with such came a question. Over and over I have been hearing, "Be thou ahumble; and the Lord thy God shall blead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers."Doctrine and Covenants 112:10

I love that scripture because it clearly states that the only real requirement for us to be led by our Father in Heaven is to be humble. My question was, "How can I become more humble?" and in an answer to my silent prayer, Heavenly Father blessed me with the opportunity to teach and learn from a very humble man. Yesterday, as we were walking to an appointment, we met Ted, who, when seeing the terrible weather and two missionaries walking around looking like drowned rats, invited us in. He was kind and loving, and we were able to share a message that has blessed our lives. As my companion and I shared truths that we know, he listened intently. In the middle of our very spiritual discussion, Ted shared an experience with us that taught me how I can better receive guidance from my Father in Heaven. We were all equal students of the Holy Ghost trying to help each other as best as possible, none was greater. Needless to say, we all came away from the meeting edified.

In the dictionary, humility is defined as, "marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful." It's not difficult to see why the Lord wants us to be humble. Really, if we aren't humble, He wont be able to show us anything, nor lead us anywhere. Christ gives a wonderful example of the power of a humble life when he says:

"Except ye be converted, and become as little achildren, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall ahumble himself as this little bchild, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Little children are always the first to ask what and why. They want to learn, and know they can from any source. They are curious, and not haughty. They understand that wisdom can be found from anyone, and find joy in the learning. When we become like little children and humble ourselves, the Lord is able to teach us; to show us a better way. We are able to learn from others and see the beauty in all things. We are more open to the promptings of the spirit, and thus, are more easily led to become more Christ-like. I invite you all to work along side me as I try and humble myself. I know that although the voice of the Lord is still and small, it can be heard from anyone anywhere.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Divine Intervention

We all face challenges in this life. No matter who you are, if you haven't already, you will have hardship. Sometimes they are caused by other people and sometimes they are caused by ourselves. Sometimes it is just because.. Hah, well, bad stuff just happens... In any case, our loving Father in Heaven will be there for us, and we can go to Him for help.

For me, when bad stuff happens, instead of face the problem, I sometimes try and wish it away. I'll pray and pray that God will take whatever it is I happen to be going through away, and spare me completely. I know none of you have ever done that, but just in case there happens to be a reader who finds themselves in the same sinking boat, I'll share with you something that helped me. In the October 2010, at General Conference, Elder Richard G Scott explained why we sometimes don't get immediate deliverance from our problems. He said,

"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."

That is true. God loves each and every one of us, and because He loves us, He lets us struggle to grow. I have been through plenty of hard times, and when I look back I find that those times have been the biggest sources of growth in my life. Christ Himself, when faced with the greatest challenge any being that has ever existed could endure, cried out to His Father for relief. A powerful lesson can be learned from the account of His sufferings in Luke.
 "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, aremove this cup from me: nevertheless not my bwill, but thine, be done.
 And there appeared an aangel unto him from heaven, strengthening him."

Christ, the greatest of all, asked to have his trial removed. Heavenly Father knew that it was necessary for Him to suffer it so that he could save us all. He did not, however, cause His son to suffer it alone. In a divine outreach of love and support, our Heavenly Father sent an angel to help strengthen Christ through His most difficult time. It is the same with us. Though he may not remove our trials, our Father in Heaven will always send help and strength. When we rely on Him through those difficult times, and look forward with an eye of faith, we will make it through and be able to grow in the process. He will never leave you alone. I know that is true. Trust it, rely on it, and you will learn it for yourself. You will be amazed at the progress you have made through those rough and tumble times, and be thankful for the help your Father in Heaven has given. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How Can I Know?

I have always been fascinated by the way that Heavenly Father communicates to each of His children differently. No matter who you are, we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, who knows us better then we know ourselves. We can go to him with anything; any concern, any question, and we can receive guidance and answers. The prophet Joseph Smith laid out the process of how we receive answers from God very simply.

"Yea, behold, I will atell you in your mind and in your bheart, by the cHoly Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart."

In your search for truth, when looking for answers to some of life's hardest questions, remember to ask God. After all, He knows you, me, and everything else better then anyone else around. Why not then go to the source of all light and knowledge? After you ask him to know if something is true, or wait course to take, wait for the answer. Pay close attention because thoughts will come to your mind that "sound right." It will make sense when you think about it. Also, powerful feelings will come to you in your heart, and it will "feel right." That is when you can know through the Holy Ghost that you have received your answer. To further clarify, Joseph Smith later wrote,

"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must astudy it out in your bmind; then you must cask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your dbosom shall eburn within you; therefore, you shall ffeel that it is right.
 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a astupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;"

I know this process works! I have tried it out many times, and felt either that 'burning in the bosom,' or the 'stupor of thought.' I have gained a testimony that God is my father in Heaven, and He loves me. He wants me to chose the right. He wants show me all the beautiful things about this world. He knows how I can be most happy, and when I counsel with Him in my decision making, he will guide me correctly. I am so thankful for this process, it truly is one of the greatest blessings from our Father in Heaven.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Little Things...

I have been thinking a lot lately about how the smallest things make the biggest difference. In my life, I have seen what a difference reading the scriptures as I eat breakfast, saying a prayer as soon as I wake up, or exercising every morning can make. In each case, the decision to do these things has been relatively small, but with consistent effort to do them, the change they have made have been pretty big.

One step at a time..
It seems like we sometimes lose sight of how little change really can be. Bad or good, we make the climb or decent one decision at a time. A smoker who constantly chooses to not smoke a cigarette will one day find himself clean and free of his addiction. Likewise, someone who decides to forgo the very small decision to pray everyday will soon find themselves estranged from their Heavenly Father, and in great spiritual need.

We grow in physical strength bit by bit, one lift at a time. Because of the constant strain put on the muscles, they grow relatively slowly. However, the accumulated strength can be a great force in times of need or pressure. In following this pattern, spiritual strength comes one good decision at a time. After numerous and consistently good choices, you gain a sort of obedience barrier, which will help you when temptation arises. Because of a righteous lifestyle and consistent obedience, the Holy Ghost can help warn us of and guide us through difficult challenges. The prophet Joseph Smith illustrates this point beautifully when he counseled the early saints from Liberty Jail. He said,

"You know, brethren, that a very large ship is abenefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves."

Joseph Smith
How very true those words have proven in my life. In the hardest, darkest times, when the "storm" was raging around me, I felt as though there was nothing to do but to continue onward and strive to do what little good I could. Sometimes, it was hard for me to see how the small things could make any real difference in my very real, very large problems. Time has given me perspective however, and looking back I can now see how important those small decisions were. Truly, they are what helped me make it through. I echo Joseph Smith, when he writes one verse later,

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us acheerfully bdo all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the csalvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

Change happens one small step at a time. It may take a while for us to see the effects, but I know that with constant consistent (and may I add cheerful) effort, we can do it.  Just like my dad used to say, "take care of the small stuff, and the big things will take care of themselves." (see Dad, I was listening all those years! hah) God is watching out for us. He knows what you and I are struggling through, and as we cheerfully do everything we can, we can stand back and watch him take care of the rest.