Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Priceless Heritage of Hope

Whoever you are and wherever you may be, you hold in your hands the happiness of more people than you can now imagine. Every day and every hour you can choose to make or keep a covenant with God.

Wherever you are on the path to inherit the gift of eternal life, you have the opportunity to show many people the way to greater happiness. When you choose whether to make or keep a covenant with God, you choose whether you will leave an inheritance of hope to those who might follow your example.

The greatest of all the blessings of God, eternal life, will come to us only as we make covenants offered in the true Church of Jesus Christ by His authorized servants. Because of the Fall, we all need the cleansing effects of baptism and the laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. These ordinances must be performed by those who possess the proper priesthood authority. Then, with the help of the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost, we can keep all the covenants we make with God, especially those offered in His temples. Only in that way, and with that help, can anyone claim his or her rightful inheritance as a child of God in a family forever.

To some listening to me, that may seem a nearly hopeless dream.

You have seen faithful parents sorrow over children who have rejected or who have chosen to break their covenants with God. But those parents can take heart and hope from other parental experiences.

Alma’s son and King Mosiah’s sons returned from fierce rebellion against the covenants and the commandments of God. Alma the Younger saw his son Corianton turn from gross sin to faithful service. The Book of Mormon also records the miracle of the Lamanites putting aside traditions of hating righteousness to covenanting to die to maintain peace.

An angel was sent to the young Alma and the sons of Mosiah. The angel came because of the faith and prayers of their fathers and of God’s people. From those examples of the power of the Atonement working in human hearts, you can receive courage and comfort.

After all we can do in faith, the Lord will justify our hopes for greater blessings for our families than we can imagine. He wants the best for them and for us, as His children.

Excerpt taken from April 2014 General Conference Talk by Elder Eyring, A Priceless Heritage of Hope.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood

I desire to call your attention to the oath and covenant of the Melchizedek Priesthood. I think if we have a clear understanding of the covenant wemake when we receive offices in the priesthood, and of the promise theLord gives if we magnify our callings, then we shall have a greaterincentive to do all the things we must do to gain eternal life.

May I say further that everything connected with this higher priesthood is designed and intended to prepare us to gain eternal life in the kingdom of God.

It does not matter what office we hold as long as we are true and faithfulto our obligations. One office is not greater than another, although for administrative reasons one priesthood holder may be called to preside over and direct the labors of another.

And so Christ is the great prototype where priesthood is concerned, as he is with reference to baptism and all other things. And so, even as the Father swears with an oath that his Son shall inherit all things through the priesthood, so he swears with an oath that all of us who magnify our callings in that same priesthood shall receive all that the Father hath.

There is nothing in all this world as important to each of us as putting first in our lives the things of God’s kingdom, as keeping the commandments, as magnifying our callings in the priesthood, as going to the house of the Lord and being offered the fullness of the blessings of our Father’s kingdom.

My feelings are to bless those,both young and old, who are magnifying their callings in the priesthood, and to ask the Lord to pour out upon them the good things of his Spirit in this life and assure them of the riches of eternity in the life to come. …

What a glorious thing it is to know that the Lord has offered to each of usthe fullness of the priesthood, and has promised us that if we will receive this priesthood and magnify our callings, we shall gain an everlasting inheritance with him in his kingdom!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Honoring the Priesthood Keys Restored through Joseph Smith

All the keys of all dispensations had to be brought in order to fulfil the words of the prophets and the purposes of the Lord in bringing to pass a complete restoration of all things. Therefore the father of the human family, the first man on the earth, Adam, had to come, and he came with his power. Moses came, and others. All who had keys came and bestowed their authorities. … We have not the dates when some of these authorities were made manifest, but the Prophet Joseph Smith in writing to the Saints in Nauvoo in regard to the salvation of the dead declared, as we have it recorded in section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants [verses 17–21], that all these prophets came with their keys in the dispensation in which we live.

Every man who is properly chosen to preside in any capacity in the Church should be honored in his calling. When a man is ordained to the office of a bishop, he is given the keys of presidency over the ward in which he resides and should be honored in his calling by every member of the ward, no matter what office any man may hold. The same is true of the president of the stake, the president of a quorum, or whatever it may be.

An individual may fall by the wayside, or have views, or give counsel which falls short of what the Lord intends. But the voice of the First Presidency and the united voice of those others who hold with them the keys of the kingdom shall always guide the Saints and the world in those paths where the Lord wants them to be. …

I testify that if we shall look to the First Presidency and follow their counsel and direction, no power on earth can stay or change our course as a church, and as individuals we shall gain peace in this life and be inheritors of eternal glory in the world to come,

This week's challenge:  Look for ways to Honor the Priesthood this week.

This lesson was taken from Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, Chapter 11, Honoring the Priesthood Keys Restored through Joseph Smith, given by Sister Cheryl Demke.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Finding Joy in the Journey

Everyone's situation is different, and the details of each life are unique.  Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives.  There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious . . . We can be grateful!

All of His commandments are given to make blessings available to us.  Commandments are opportunities to exercise our agency and to receive blessings.  Our loving Heavenly Father knows that choosing to develop a spirit of gratitude will bring us true joy and great happiness.

(Elder Uchtdorf)

Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances.  We must deal with them the best we can.  But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important - and what is most important almost always involves the people around us.  Often we assume that they must know how much we love them.  But we should never assume; we should let them know.

(President Monson)

We are reminded by the Lord to “Continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice, for behold,
and lo, I am with you, even unto the end.”  This short passage represents one of the most efficient statements of commandment and promise in all of scripture.

It offers three profound principles: First, to continue—to just keep going; second, to rejoice in that continuing; and finally is the marvelous promise that the Lord is with us now, always, and to the very end. It is a gentle reminder that all we have to do is “press forward” with joy to have the only promise we really need, that the Lord is with us.

(Elaine S. Marshall)

This Week's Challenge:   Look for the tender mercies this week and cultivate gratitude in your life.

Lesson taught by Christy Smith.