Archive for the ‘revelation’ Tag

Let Me Talk About Duty

Reading: “Our Path of Duty,” Bishop Kieth B. McMullin, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishophric, April 2010 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

Each of us has a duty to obey God in return for all that he has done for us. Bishop McMullin states,

The duty of which I speak is what we are expected to do and to be. It is a moral imperative summoning forth from individuals and communities that which is right, true, and honorable. Duty does not require perfection, but it does require diligence. It is not simply what is legal; it is what is virtuous. It is not reserved to the mighty or high in station but instead rests on a foundation of personal responsibility, integrity, and courage. Doing one’s duty is a manifestation of one’s faith.

Bishop McMullin refrains from giving a list of our duties, or specific instructions on how to fulfill our duties. Instead he asks us to pray for that instruction, and to pray with the Spirit:

It is as important to be guided by the Holy Spirit while praying as it is to be enlightened by that same Spirit while receiving an answer to prayer. Such prayer brings forth the blessings of heaven because our Father “knoweth what things [we] have need of, before [we] ask him,” and He answers every sincere prayer.

Just this afternoon I felt a prompting for a specific prayer. For the past two days my two year old has refused to take a nap. She has played by herself in her room for hours rather than go to sleep. Today as I was putting my daughter down for her nap I felt a prompting to say prayer with my daughter that she could sleep. And, today, she went right to sleep and is sleeping right now. This may seem silly to you, but it was a huge help to me. First of all, it has been a stressful week of very little sleep (for me) and it was an encouragement to see an answer to prayer like this. Second, after those two days I was seriously wondering whether she was starting to outgrow her nap and whether I should stop trying to get her to nap altogether (which would mean a huge change in her daily schedule and mine), but today I am sure that she still needs a nap and I should not give up on them.The Spirit can guide us to pray for the right things so that we can get the answers we need to fulfill our duties, such as making sure a two year old is getting the rest she needs to be happy and healthy.

Has the Spirit ever guided you to pray for something that helped you? Has the Spirit ever helped you to fulfill your duties better than you could by yourself?

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A Prophet of God

Reading: “Welcome to Conference,” President Thomas S. Monson, April 2010 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

Every time I have the opportunity to listen to conference I come away inspired and uplifted. We get to listen to a prophet for our times, and many others who all have received inspiration to talk to us about things we need to hear. In his introduction to conference President Monson said,

Now, brothers and sisters, we have come here to be instructed and inspired. . . Many messages, covering a variety of gospel topics, will be given during the next two days. Those men and women who will speak to you have sought heaven’s help concerning the messages they will give.

Modern revelation is a great thing. Not only do we believe in God, but we also believe he speaks to us today through a prophet and directly to us through the Spirit. I would have a hard time believing in a God who stopped talking to his people many years ago, when we are so plainly in need of his help.

What does it mean to you to have a prophet speak to you? What has the prophet said, in this last conference or otherwise, that has been of particular help to you?

Learning to Listen to the Spirit

Reading: “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

In a time where life sometimes moves at lightning speeds, it is increasingly important for us to know how to follow spiritual promptings.  In his talk Elder Scott gives a primer on how to receive guidance from the Spirit.  His talk was full of more principles of personal revelation than I could discuss in a single blog post, but the one point that stood out to me was his specific advice on how to handle spiritual guidance when it is received. He said,

I believe that you can leave the most precious, personal direction of the Spirit unheard because you do not respond to, record, and apply the first promptings that come to you.

The Spirit has been a sweet companion at many times in my life, sometimes stronger than others.  As I think back to times where I felt the spirit especially strong, I remember doing a lot of writing in my journal and thinking about how to apply the promptings I received.  Without reading this talk I would think that this was simply a result of having more promptings to write and think about. Yet, after reading Elder Scott’s talk, I am thinking that maybe if I put more effort into listening to, writing about, and applying my spiritual promptings then I would feel that great spiritual outpouring again.

How do you react when you receive a spiritual prompting? What can you do to show your readiness to receive more guidance from the Spirit?

Inspired of God

Reading: “Welcome to Conference,” President Thomas S. Monson, October 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

It’s that time again! For the past two conferences I have enjoyed writing about each of the conference talks, and so I am planning on doing the same thing again starting today for the October conference.  Today I read President Monson’s welcome to conference, where one quote in particular stood out:

Those who will address us have sought heaven’s help and direction as they have prepared their messages. They have been impressed concerning that which they will share with us. That we may be filled with the Spirit of the Lord as we listen and learn is my prayer.

Last Sunday in Sunday School we had a discussion about how lucky we are to have inspired guidance by the prophets.  After the many times I have felt the Spirit touch me as I listen to General Conference, I know that the speakers sincerely seek the inspiration of God as they prepare their talks.  This year we had a big event that kept us from watching most of conference live, so I am excited to get to read what each person had to say as I review this last conference.

What were your favorite moments of conference? If you had to pick a particular talk to review, which would you pick?

GPS For the Soul

Reading: “Gifts to Help Us Navigate Our Life,” Elder Jose A. Teixera of the Seventy, April 2009 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

As we travel we have many tools that help us find our way.  We use maps and now we have GPS which can tell us exactly where we are at any time.  In order for GPS to work, though, it has to be linked up to the satellites that calculate your position.  Without that link your GPS is worthless.

Elder Teixera tells us that GPS is similar to many gifts of the Spirit we have to find our way through life.  These gifts include:

  • The light of Christ
  • The Holy Ghost
  • Prophets

Each of these things can help us find our way, but only if we pay attention to them and remain worthy of the Spirit’s assistance.  Elder Teixera tells us:

I testify that our Father in Heaven is mindful of each one of us, that He listens to and answers our prayers, and that He communicates with His prophets to guide us. As we develop our faith to believe and live the words of prophets, we will strengthen our testimony of the plan of happiness and the central role of Jesus Christ in it.

When I listen to the Holy Ghost and to the prophets it certainly helps me in my life.  Sometimes I get distracted, often by things that are good in their own right, but are inferior to listening to and following the Spirit.  When I remain humble and fix my attention on the Savior and what he would have me do I am always blessed.

Today I am going to pray for help listening to the Spirit’s prompting and staying focused on what God would have me focused on.

What role has these gifts played in your life?  What can you do to help keep your link with God?

Looking for Inspiration

Reading: “Finding Strength in Challenging Times,” Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

One of the themes I found in the last general conference was an encouragment to use difficult times as an inspiration to remember what truly matters, and to renew our commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In this talk by Elder Packer he encourages us to seek spiritual inspiration more actively in our lives.  He says:

When the winds blow and the rains pour, they blow and pour on all. Those who have built their foundations on bedrock rather than sand survive the storms. There is a way to build on bedrock by developing a deep personal conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ and knowing how to receive inspiration. We must know—and know that we know. We must stand spiritually and temporally independent of all worldly creatures.

Elder Packer then discusses several ways we can work to gain a deep conversion to the gospel.  These incluse:

  • Have a desire to gain a deeper conversion
  • Experiment to see if God will keep his promises
  • Study and learn
  • Learn how answers come through inspiration
  • Watch for spiritual inspiration
  • Pray for a testimony
  • Apply doctrine in our lives

One of the ways I work for a deeper conversion to the gospel is by writing in this blog.  Writing about gospel topics and applying them to my life helps me not only learn the gospel more deeply but also gain a witness of its truthfulness.

Today I am going to pray for help in gaining deeper conversion.  As Elder Packer pointed out, the scriptures say “Ask and ye shall receive.”  I don’t expect any kind of miracles, but maybe I will be blessed with some insight or direction.

How do you work for a deeper conversion to the gospel?  What have you done in the past that has helped deepen your testimony? What can you do right now?

Small Things to Confound the Wise

Reading: Alma 37:6

This past weekend I have been struck by the many small things that, working together, are making a big difference in my life.  I am reminded of the scripture Alma 37:6, which says:

Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

One such small thing is a commitment to daily prayer and scripture study.  Although I usually spend only 5-15 minutes a day on my personal scripture study, that effort has helped me to learn more about myself and the scriptures and to find answers to bigger problems.

Another small thing is making an effort to be more patient.  Although I already had a great relationship with my husband, as I made little efforts each day to be just a little bit more patient I have grown even closer to my husband.  I also find myself relating much easier to the people around me.

Another small thing is a commitment to heed even closer small promptings of the spirit.  Sometimes those promptings are very small indeed, and sometimes I am not 100% sure they are a prompting, but as I act on those promptings the best I can I find answers to many problems and my days go much more smoothly than before.

Today I am going to brainstorm some ways to help me be more sincere in my prayers, since this is one “small” thing I can definitely improve on. Although I am doing much better at praying every morning and night, I sometimes find it hard to really be sincere and awake as I pray.

What small things are you doing that are making a big difference? Have you ever had an experience where you were surprised by the effect some small thing could have?

God Speaks to Prophets

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:3-4

Something I never realized until I started this in-depth analysis of 2 Nephi Chapter 2 is that Jacob saw the Savior, in person, at a young age.  It says it right there:

Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast beheld that in the fulness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men. And thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory; wherefore, thou art blessed even as they unto whom he shall minister in the flesh.

One of the central teachings of our church is that God has revealed himself to prophets throughout history, and continues to do so today. Clearly, Jacob became a prophet to his people during and after Nephi’s lifetime. It is important for the member of any church to know that God is speaking to the leaders of said church.

Now, at this point I could go into a deep discussion of the role of prophets, the reasons why God can only reveal himself to worthy people, the fact that God and Jesus Christ have separate bodies, the importance of continuing revelation, and so on.  But, since this is a short-form blog, instead I’ll just say that we believe that God continues to speak to men today, just as he did to Jacob, and just as he did in the time of the Bible.  Here’s a video about it:

In my life, the belief that God speaks to men is central to my own belief in the gospel.  If I didn’t believe that God was speaking to the leaders of my church, what motivation would I have to follow them?

Today I am going to write in my journal about my testimony of prophets, exploring why it is that I have that testimony and why it is important.

What does the knowledge that God speaks to prophets mean to you?  How is your life different (or how would your life be different) because of this knowledge?