Sunday, July 26, 2015

Marriage and Family—Ordained of God

“The family is one of God’s greatest fortresses against the evils of our day. Help keep your family strong and close and worthy of our Father in Heaven’s blessings.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints views the family as the most important organization in time and all eternity. The Church teaches that everything should center in and around the family. It stresses that the preservation of family life in time and eternity takes precedence above all other interests.
Marriage, the home, and family are more than mere social institutions. They are divine, not man-made. God ordained marriage from the very beginning.  The scriptures tell us: “Adam began to till the earth … as I the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him. … They began to multiply and to replenish the earth. … And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord. … And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters. … And Adam and Eve, his wife, ceased not to call upon God.” (Moses 5:1–2, 4, 12, 16.)   
The secret of a happy marriage is to serve God and each other. The goal of marriage is unity and oneness, as well as self-development. Paradoxically, the more we serve one another, the greater is our spiritual and emotional growth.
 The family is one of God’s greatest fortresses against the evils of our day. Help keep your family strong and close and worthy of our Father in Heaven’s blessings. As you do, you will receive faith and strength which will bless your lives forever
Setting your home in order is keeping the commandments of God. This brings harmony and love. … It is daily family prayer. It is teaching your family to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is each family member keeping the commandments of God. It is … being worthy to receive a temple recommend, all family members receiving the ordinances of exaltation, and your family being sealed together for eternity. It is being free from excessive debt, with family members paying honest tithes and offerings.
Home and family. What sweet memories surge up in our breasts at the mere mention of these cherished words! May I wish for you prayerfully, and with all the fervor of my soul, that you may know the unspeakable joy and satisfaction of honorable parenthood. You will miss one of the deepest joys of this life and eternity if you wilfully avoid the responsibilities of parenthood and home-building. As revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the glorious concept of home and the enduring family relationship lies at the very basis of our happiness here and hereafter.

Excerpts taken from Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 14.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

We’ll Ascend Together

As covenant-keeping women and men, we need to lift each other and help each other become the people the Lord would have us become.

I am convinced that a husband is never more attractive to his wife than when he is serving in his God-given roles as a worthy priesthood holder—most important in the home. I love and believe these words from President Packer to worthy husbands and fathers: “You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home. There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary’s mischief will be that power.”6

Brothers and sisters, we need each other! As covenant-keeping women and men, we need to lift each other and help each other become the people the Lord would have us become. And we need to work together to lift the rising generation and help them reach their divine potential as heirs of eternal life. We could do as ElderRobert D. Hales and his wife, Mary, have done and follow the proverb “Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.”9

We might test ourselves by asking a few questions. With a little adaptation, these questions can apply to most of us, whether we are married or single, whatever our home situation might be.
  1. 1. 
    When was the last time I sincerely praised my companion, either alone or in the presence of our children?
  2. 2. 
    When was the last time I thanked, expressed love for, or earnestly pleaded in faith for him or her in prayer?
  3. 3. 
    When was the last time I stopped myself from saying something I knew could be hurtful?
  4. 4. 
    When was the last time I apologized and humbly asked for forgiveness—without adding the words “but if only you had” or “but if only you hadn’t”?
  5. 5. 
    When was the last time I chose to be happy rather than demanding to be “right”?
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s heartfelt plea: “Brothers and sisters, in this long eternal quest to be more like our Savior, may we try to be ‘perfect’ men and women in at least this one way now—by offending not in word, or more positively put, by speaking with a new tongue, the tongue of angels.”18

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Priceless Blessings of the House of the Lord

[The temple is] a constant, visible symbol that God has not left man to grope in darkness. It is a place of revelation. Though we live in a fallen world—a wicked world—holy places are set apart and consecrated so that worthy men and women can learn the order of heaven and obey God’s will.

… Go to the temple—our Father’s house—to receive the blessings of your fathers that you may be entitled to the highest blessings of the priesthood. “For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” (D&C 84:22.)

Is it not significant to you that today the Saints are scattered over the face of the world and, in their scattered situation, temples are being provided for them? By the ordinances that they receive in holy places, they will be armed with righteousness and endowed with the power of God in great measure.

No member of the Church can be perfected without the ordinances of the temple. We have a mission to assist those who do not have these blessings to receive them.

It is not sufficient for a husband and wife to be sealed in the temple to guarantee their exaltation—if they are faithful—they must also be eternally linked with their progenitors and see that the work is done for those ancestors. “They without us,” said the Apostle Paul, “cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15). Our members must therefore understand that they have an individual responsibility to see that they are linked to their progenitors—or, as sacred scripture designates, our “fathers.” This is the meaning of section 2, verse 2, in the Doctrine and Covenants when Moroni declared that Elijah “shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.”

We should share with our families our love of our forebears and our gratitude to be able to help them receive the saving ordinances, as my parents did with me. As we do so, increased bonds of appreciation and affection will develop within our families.

In the course of our visits to the temple, we are given insights into the meaning of the eternal journey of man. We see beautiful and impressive symbolisms of the most important events—past, present, and future—symbolizing man’s mission in relationship to God. We are reminded of our obligations as we make solemn covenants pertaining to obedience, consecration, sacrifice, and dedicated service to our Heavenly Father.

Let us make the temple a sacred home away from our eternal home.

Excerpts taken from Teachings of Presidents of the Church:  Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 13.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Putting on the Whole Armor of Light

Romans 13:12-15
 12 The night is far spent, the day‍ is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour‍ of light.
 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting‍ and drunkenness, not in chambering‍ and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
 14 But put‍ ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil‍ the lusts thereof.

We can put on the Armor of Light by . . .
Studying our Scriptures
Stand in Holy Scriptures
Giving Service
Being Obedient
Take Part in Ordinances

Feasting on the Scriptures is one of the best ways to put on the "armour of light."

2 Nephi 4:15-16
15 And upon these‍ I write‍ the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth‍ in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth‍ them, and writeth them for the learning‍ and the profit of my children.
 16 Behold, my soul‍ delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart‍ pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
First pray and then study the scriptures . . .
by Topic
in a Group
keeping a scripture journal
using a study guide
marking - color coding
look for principles and apply
set aside time
set a time goal
study a small section (like a chapter or a few verses) for one month.

"What a terrific time to be alive!  The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most certain, the most secure, the most reliable, and the most rewarding truth on earth and in heaven, in time and in eternity. Nothing—not anything, not anyone, not any influence—will keep this Church from fulfilling its mission and realizing its destiny declared from before the foundation of the world. Ours is that fail-safe, inexorable, indestructible dispensation of the fulness of the gospel. There is no need to be afraid or tentative about the future.  Unlike every other era before us, this dispensation will not experience an institutional apostasy; it will not see a loss of priesthood keys; it will not suffer a cessation of revelation from the voice of Almighty God. Individuals will apostatize or turn a deaf ear to heaven, but never again will the dispensation collectively do so. What a secure thought! What a day in which to live! If there are some bumps along the way while waiting to see every promise kept and every prophecy fulfilled, so be it. If you haven’t noticed, I am bullish about the latter days. In nothing could I have more faith than I have in God the Eternal Father, in Jesus Christ His Son, in Their redeeming gospel, and in their divinely-guided Church. Believe. Rise up. Be faithful. And make the most of the remarkable day in which we live!"  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Lesson given by Sister Suzanne Wright.

Independence Day


Thanks to the Carr Family for hosting this year's Independence Day Breakfast!