Sunday, February 24, 2013

Having Faith

The way of the faithful disciple of Christ may not be easy. Jeffrey R. Holland said:

“When we promise to follow the Savior, to walk in His footsteps, and be His disciples, we are promising to go where that divine path leads us. And the path of salvation has always led one way or another through Gethsemane. So if the Savior faced such injustices and discouragements, such persecutions, unrighteousness, and suffering, we cannot expect that we are not going to face some of that if we still intend to call ourselves His true disciples and faithful followers.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” Ensign, September 2009, 31).

These Gethsemane like experiences will refine and strengthen us if we remain faithful. Niel L. Andersen said, "Like the intense fire that transforms iron into steel, as we remain faithful during the fiery trial of our faith, we are spiritually refined and strengthened." (Neil L. Andersen, "Trail of Your Faith," Ensign, November 2012).

In the midst of our trials we need not live in fear. Faith can and should replace our fear. Russell M. Nelson said:

“We live in a time of turmoil. Earthquakes and tsunamis wreak devastation, governments collapse, economic stresses are severe, the family is under attack, and divorce rates are rising. We have great cause for concern. But we do not need to let our fears displace our faith. We can combat those fears by strengthening our faith” (Russell M. Nelson, “Face the Future with Faith,” Ensign, May 2011, 34).

We should always remember that "...Our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives." (Thomas S. Monson, "Consider the Blessings," Ensign, November 2012).

Monday, February 18, 2013

Personal Revelation-- A Blessing of the Temple

Draper Utah Temple

One of the blessings that come with temple attendance is the gift of personal revelation. The Lord said, 

“And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God” (Doctrine and Covenants 97:15-16).

In the temple, individuals with hearts that are open and minds that are clear, and who are ready to listen can readily receive personal revelation. When the Lord accepted the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836, He said, “For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:7). This manifestation most often comes in the form of personal revelation. Elder John A. Widstoe:

It is a great promise that to the temples God will come, and that in them man shall see God. What does this promised communion mean? Does it mean that once in a while God may come into the temples, and that once in a while the pure in heart may see God there; or does it mean the larger thing, that the pure in heart who go into the temples, may, there by the Spirit of God, always have a wonderfully rich communion with God? I think that is what it means to me and to you and to most of us. We have gone into these holy houses, with our minds freed from the ordinary earthly cares, and have literally felt the presence of God. In this way, the temples are always places where God manifests himself to man and increases his intelligence. A Temple is a place of revelation. (Elder John A. Widstoe, “Temple Worship,” October 12, 1920)

This precious gift from our loving Heavenly Father will bless our lives and guide us to Eternal Life. President Gordon B. Hinckley said,

“In this noisy, bustling, competitive world, what a privilege it is to have a sacred house where we may experience the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of the Lord. The element of selfishness crowds in upon us constantly. We need to overcome it, and there is no better way than to go to the house of the Lord and there serve in a vicarious relationship in behalf of those who are beyond the veil of death. What a remarkable thing this is. In most cases, we do not know those for whom we work. We expect no thanks. We have no assurance that they will accept that which we offer. But we go, and in that process we attain to a state that comes of no other effort. We literally become saviors on Mount Zion. What does this mean? Just as our Redeemer gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for all men, and in so doing became our Savior, even so we, in a small measure, when we engage in proxy work in the temple, become as saviors to those on the other side who have no means of advancing unless something is done in their behalf by those on earth.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Closing Remarks,” Ensign, November 2004).

Temple service sanctifies us. As we become more saintly, then we are open to the influence of the Holy Spirit and can more readily receive inspiration and revelation.

President Ezra Taft Benson promised, “That, with increased attendance in the temples of our God, you shall receive increased personal revelation to bless your lives as you bless those who have died” (Ensign, May 1987, p. 85). It is true that we may receive inspiration and revelation without entering the temple, but President Benson’s promise is that we will receive more revelation as we enter and serve in the House of the Lord. As we give unselfish service, there is a corresponding increase in our ability to feel the Spirit and receive personal revelation.

The principle of receiving personal revelation as we serve was also taught by Elder David B. Haight who said, “Come to the temples worthily and regularly. Not only do you bless those who are deceased, but you may freely partake of the promised personal revelation that may bless your life with power, knowledge, light, beauty, and truth from on high, which will guide you and your posterity to eternal life. What person would not want these blessings…?” (David B. Haight, “Come to the House of the Lord,” Ensign, May 1992).

Elder John A. Widstoe made this powerful promise about giving temple service:

“I believe that the busy person on the farm, in the shop, in the office, or in the household, who has worries and troubles, can solve his problems better and more quickly in the house of the Lord than anywhere else. If he will leave his problems behind and in the temple work for himself and for his dead, he will confer a mighty blessing upon those who have gone before, and quite as large a blessing will come to him, for at the most unexpected moments, in or out of the temple will come to him, as a revelation, the solution of the problems that vex his life. That is the gift that comes to those who enter the temple properly, because it is a place where revelations may be expected.” (John A. Widstoe, “Temple Worship,” October 12, 1920)

I have experienced the blessing of revelation that comes from temple service. The Spirit I have felt in the temple has lifted me to a higher plane. I have felt my Heavenly Father’s love in the temple, which has strengthened me. In times of need, I have been comforted and felt peace. I have received answers to questions and found solutions to problems. His Spirit has taught me, given me new insights, and expanded my understanding of truth.

I love the temple. I am grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who has made these sacred houses available for His children.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"I AM. . . ."

“Jesus…said unto her…whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14)

At various times during His ministry, Jesus also said:

 “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6: 3).

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my  flesh , which I will  give for the  life of the world” (John 6:51).

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not  walk in  darkness , but shall have the light of life” ( John 8:12).

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:9’)

 “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

“I am the true vine … ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:1-5).

Christ is everything. Following Him is the only way back to Heavenly Father. Along life’s journey, we must abide or travel with Him. As we travel His path, He provides the light to lead us and all the spiritual nourishment to sustain us. At the end of this journey, He is the door we must go through to Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father.

I am grateful for the Lord Jesus Christ and His glorious Atonement.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lord, I Would Follow Thee

The words from the beautiful hymn “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” challenge me to strive to be a more diligent disciple.

Savior, may I learn to love thee,
Walk the path that thou hast shown,
Pause to help and lift another,
Finding strength beyond my own.
Savior, may I learn to love thee—

Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can’t see.
Who am I to judge another?

I would be my brother’s keeper;
I would learn the healer’s art.
To the wounded and the weary
I would show a gentle heart.
I would be my brother’s keeper—

Savior, may I love my brother
As I know thou lovest me,
Find in thee my strength, my beacon,
For thy servant I would be.
Savior, may I love my brother—

Lord, I would follow thee.

(Susan Evans McCloud, “Lord, I Would Follow Thee,” Hymns , 220.)