Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Qualities of a Disciple

On my discipleship journey, I am striving to become more like Christ. My hope is to become more like Him by focusing on developing the sublime attributes of His character. Without a doubt, this will be a lifetime process.

Elder Robert D. Hales spoke in General Conference of the attributes of our Savior:

"Christian love. The Savior valued everyone. Kind and compassionate to all, He left the ninety and nine to find the one, for “even the very hairs of [our] head are … numbered” to Him.

"Christian faith. Despite temptations, trials, and persecutions, the Savior trusted our Heavenly Father and chose to be faithful and obedient to His commandments.

"Christian sacrifice. Throughout His life the Savior gave of His time, His energy, and ultimately, through the Atonement, gave Himself so that all of God’s children could be resurrected and have the opportunity to inherit eternal life.

"Christian caring. Like the good Samaritan, the Savior was continually reaching out to rescue, love, and nurture people around Him, regardless of their culture, creed, or circumstances.

"Christian service. Whether drawing water from a well, cooking a meal of fish, or washing dusty feet, the Savior spent His days serving others—lifting up the weary and strengthening the weak.

"Christian patience. In His own sorrow and suffering, the Savior waited upon His Father. With patience for us, He waits upon us to come to ourselves and come home to Him.

"Christian peace. Throughout His ministry He urged understanding and promoted peace. Especially among His disciples, He taught that Christians cannot contend with other Christians, notwithstanding their differences.

"Christian forgiveness. He taught us to bless those who curse us. He showed us the way by praying that those who crucified Him would be forgiven.

"Christian conversion. Like Peter and Andrew, many recognize the truth of the gospel as soon as they hear it. They are instantlyconverted. For others it may take longer. In a revelation given through Joseph Smith, the Savior taught, “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day,” the perfect day of our conversion. Jesus Christ is “the light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth.”

"Christian endurance to the end. In all His days, the Savior never gave up doing His Father’s will but continued in righteousness, goodness, mercy, and truth to the end of His mortal life." (Robert D. Hales, "Being a More Christian Christian," Ensign, November 2012, emphasis added)

This is a good reminder of what I need to focus on to become a better disciple of Christ. I hope that through His grace I can receive the help to more fully develop these qualities.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I am grateful for the blessings I have received.

Alma taught that we should "live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which...[the Lord] doth bestow upon" us (Alma 34:38). Bonnie D. Parkin said:
"Gratitude is a Spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God’s love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence.” (Bonnie D. Parkin, "Gratitude: A Path to Happiness", Ensign, May 2007)
The hymn Count Your Blessings teaches me of blessings that flow from a grateful attitude:
When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed.
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost.
Count you many blessing; name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what The Lord has done. 
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count you many blessings; ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has proimised you his wealth untold.
Count you many blessings; money cannot buy,
Your reward in heaven nor you home on high.
So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count you many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.
Count you blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count you blessings;
See what God hath done.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught"
"The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy."(Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Forget Me Not", Ensign, November 2011)
I hope that I will recognize and be grateful for my blessings not just today but every day throughout the year.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rushing to Judgement

At times we react to the behavior of those around us based on incomplete information. We fill in our information gaps with broad and often incorrect assumptions about the motives of others. We make rash judgments. Anger and pride cloud our understanding and distort our assumptions. Fractured relationships can ensue. The following old Welsh story illustrates the problems we can get ourselves into when we rush to judge others' motives based upon incomplete information and faulty assumptions.
"...A prince...returned home to find his dog with blood dripping down its face. The man rushed inside and, to his horror, saw that his baby boy was missing and his cradle overturned. In anger the prince pulled out his sword and killed his dog. Shortly thereafter, he heard the cry of his son—the babe was alive! By the infant’s side lay a dead wolf. The dog had, in reality, defended the prince’s baby from a murderous wolf." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "One Key to a Happy Family", Ensign, Oct. 2012.)
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf notes the following about this sad tale: 
"Though this story is dramatic, it demonstrates a point. It opens the possibility that the story we tell ourselves about why others behave a certain way does not always agree with the facts—sometimes we don’t even want to know the facts. We would rather feel self-justified in our anger by holding onto our bitterness and resentment. Sometimes these grudges can last months or years. Sometimes they can last a lifetime." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "One Key to a Happy Family", Ensign, Oct. 2012.)
In our lives, we need to ensure that we aren't rushing to judge the motives of others. We need to be cautious about assuming what people's real intents are toward us. We need to avoid taking offense. As we do, we will avoid fracturing our relationships with others and better live the Savior's command to love one another.