Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Get A Grip"

This morning I woke up pretty early so I was able to get ready for church and still have quite a bit of time to study scriptures and then talks and my notes. I kind of put a couple of talks together in my head to go with this quote from President Hinckley that I found in my notes.

"This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments."
President Gordon B. Hinckley, If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear, Oct. 2005 General Conference

I'm sure we all know people who want to break the commandments and avoid doing the basics we are taught to do (go to church, pray, read our scriptures, do as we are told by our local leaders and follow the words of our Father through our prophets...), yet think that they can still be blessed with those blessings that only come to those who are imperfect, but willing to follow the commandments and keep doing those basic things. It's kinda like the thief running away from someone trying to stop him and catch him while he is praying not to be caught.

There are consequences which come from sin and one of them is the loss of the Holy Ghost. How can we be guided to what Heavenly Father wants for us when we are not doing what we already know we should be doing? Or in the words of a bishop in my stake who recently spoke at stake conference, "We cannot know what we are supposed to do if we aren't where are are supposed to be."

 Another consequence is the loss of peace. There is a peace that is only felt when we are living in the way that we know we should. I plan on writing a separate post on peace sometime soon...when I can.

The first of the talks that I re-read this morning that I wanted to share is Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by Elder Pearson.

"True faith must be centered in Jesus Christ. 'Faith is a principle of action and of power' (Bible Dictionary, 670). It requires us to do, not merely to believe.

"Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: 'Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. It is always given when righteousness is present, and the greater the measure of obedience to God’s laws the greater will be the endowment of faith' (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 264). If we desire more faith, we must be more obedient.

"These Six Destructive Ds—doubt, discouragement, distraction, lack of diligence, disobedience, and disbelief—all erode and destroy our faith."
Elder Kevin W. Pearson, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, April 2009 General Conference

If we want to feel more faith, we have to be more obedient. How simple. We cannot live contrary to what we know is right and then just pray for a desire to stop and for faith to know what to do. We must live it and know it before we will be endowed with more faith and we will also be given more strength to continue to live righteously.

The second talk is called Hold On by Ann Dibb. She talks about the iron rod. Some people mistakenly believe that if there is something fun that takes them away from the iron rod, they can go participate and then quickly return to the rod, just where they left. How wrong they are. When we let go of the iron rod and indulge in worldly things, our hearts and desires are changed. It is hard to feel the Holy Ghost so we might not hear the callings to return. And even when we do, we may no longer want to return, after having tasted of the world and all it has to offer. Some people take the long and hard process of repentance, that is always harder than people think it will be, but some people never return and remain lost in the fog and darkness.

"Our mortal probation is not easy, and it is not brief. We are blessed to come to this earth and gain a mortal body. This life is our opportunity to prove ourselves and exercise our agency (see Abraham 3:25). We can choose to follow Heavenly Father’s eternal plan of salvation (see Jarom 1:2; Alma 42:5; Moses 6:62) and redemption (see Jacob 6:8; Alma 12:25; 42:11), or we can try to find our own way. We can be obedient and keep His commandments, or we can reject them and face the consequences that will surely follow.

Heavenly Father has not left us alone during our mortal probation. He has already given us all the 'safety equipment' we will need to successfully return to Him. He has given us personal prayer, the scriptures, living prophets, and the Holy Ghost to guide us. At times, using this equipment may seem cumbersome, awkward, and horribly unfashionable. Its proper use requires our diligence, obedience, and persistence. But I, for one, choose to use it. We must all choose to use it.

In the scriptures we learn about another key piece of safety equipment—a “rod of iron.” Disciples of our Savior, Jesus Christ, are invited to hold on to this rod in order to safely find their way to eternal life...In modern terms we might say we are invited to 'get a grip.' We must hold on tight to the iron rod and never let go."
Ann Dibb, Hold On, October 2009 General Conference

Our Heavenly Father loves each of us and wants us to return to Him. He wants to reward us with increased faith and strength against the adversary, so he gave us clear instructions, an iron rod. We must each make a choice whether we will hold strong to what we believe or whether we will choose the world. It is a choice that we can make every day. I am grateful for the oppportunity to show my Heavenly Father how much I love Him by following His commandments.





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