Friday, February 8, 2008

Sacrament Meeting Talk Feb. 08, 2008

Dearest brothers and sisters, may I just tell you of my deep respect and love for all of you. Being in this ward is such a pleasure and I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to each member for being who you are. Our ward has strong people, solid in the gospel of Jesus Christ, my admiration for you runs deeper than words and the same goes for my wonderful parents and children.

And I’m not forgetting my sweet Joe. I’d like to tell you a little something about my husband. It’s not much of a secret. He is pretty amazing. Every night, he takes out the trash. I don’t ever have to ask him. It could be a full pile or even just a couple diapers, no matter what though- when he’s home from work, the garbage is gone. This miracle and blessing in my life, in reference to both by husband and the fact that the garbage is taken out regularly, has lead to our home being cleaner and smelling pleasant. He never puts it off. He doesn’t wait until the next day and I never have to worry about the garbage being taken down to the street. Our home is not cluttered, messy with debris, instead it is orderly and neat, again I mention there is no rank odor. May I compare this to a scripture,” Alma 34:32–33;also Alma 13:27 “This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. … Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance.” May we all throw out the ways of sin daily from our lives, and prepare and get our lives and homes in order.

As I was reading in Alma chapter 5 I pondered on the words, “Have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance?” What has each day in our lives cost others? For many of the veterans of war, they have fought brutal battles and seen death in it’s ugliest forms. All this so WE could worship, have freedom of speech, so we could have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For the prophet Joseph and the many early saints they faced persecution, hot tar and feathers, mobs who instilled fear with fire and brute, all so WE could have the Book of Mormon and the restored gospel here on earth, the church nurtured and cultivated. For our dear Father in Heaven and His only Begotten, infinite and eternal sacrifice. With blood and tears shed during prayer at the foot of an olive tree, Jesus the Christ bore the sicknesses and sins of the world and made intercession so each day and each moment WE could have a way and a path whereby to follow and return to those who so dearly love us. Have we sufficiently retained in remembrance what a true gift each day truly is?

We have 24 hours each day. No more no less and there is nothing we can do to change that. The sun rises and it sets. What exactly are we doing with those hours? I love Luila Langberg. She grew up in Wyoming with her 9 brothers and sisters. Each morning their mom would cook them breakfast and they would leave to go play in the woods and fields. When the sun set they’d come home and mother would cook them dinner, give bath and put them to bed. How I envy that time! How much richer a childhood than many of today’s youth. Exploring the world God created, breathing fresh air, filling one’s soul with the goodness of the earth. Joseph Smith taught, “The heavens declare the glory of a God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork; and a moment’s reflection is sufficient to teach every man of common intelligence, that all these are not the mere productions of chance, nor could they be supported by any power less than an Almighty hand.” Do we look around us, really look and see the goodness and glory of His creation? I love strollers. One fall morning, my girls and I went out to get the morning paper and as I looked up in the sky, the clouds were just so big and majestic as they moved slowly across the sky. The air gently burned my nose as I walked. I could feel my heart beating. I felt such reverence for the world. I felt reverence for being alive and to be able to see and hear and feel what was going on around me. I felt reverence for my life and for the day that was so lovingly granted to me. Have you ever had a moment like that? Hopefully, you have many moments like that which inspire you to lead your life to the fullest possible.

Did you know that the word gospel means good tidings or good news? So when we say the gospel of Jesus Christ we could say the good tidings of Christ. There are so many scriptures that talk about the love our Savior and Heavenly father have for all of us. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” Matthew 7:7, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you” John 15:9, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:7-10 “And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings.” 3 Nephi 10:5

The word of God declares that we are his and that he loves us. Why then with all this good news, good tidings, happiness and calm assurances are we scared? In the same breath, Alma the younger in chapter 13 says, “Now is the time to repent, for the day of salvation draweth nigh.” Then “By the mouth of angels,(he) doth declare it, that they may have glad tidings of great joy.” Why then does the thought of repentance seem so heavy. Perhaps it’s because we know that we are human. That the flesh is weak and temptations do easily beset us. We sin. Our sins are scarlet. We are unclean before our maker. I pondered a quote by Bruce R. McConkie, “The uttermost depth of superhuman woe seems to be revealed by His cry, “My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me? To this we add, if we interpret the holy word aright, that all of the anguish, all of the sorrow, and all of the suffering of Gethsemane recurred during the final three hours on the cross, the hours when darkness covered the land. Truly there was no sorrow like unto his sorrow, and no anguish and pain like unto that which bore in with such intensity upon him.” Because we are fallen, we need the Atonement. Because there was an Atonement made for us, we need to repent.

Melvin J. Ballard has said, “It is my judgment that any man or woman can do more to conform to the laws of God in one year in this life than they could in ten years when they are dead. The spirit only can repent and change, and the battle has to go forward with the flesh afterwards. It is much easier to overcome and serve the Lord when both flesh and spirit are combined as one. This is the time when men are more pliable and susceptible. When clay is pliable it is much easier to change than when it gets hard and sets.” Again, I come to the words of Alma, “Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.” Adding to this, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland talks about the timing of repentance, which can seem overwhelming, “You can change anything you want to change and you can do it very fast. That’s another Satanic sucker-punch- that it takes years and years and eons of eternity to repent. It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes you to say I’ll change and mean it. Of course there will be problems to work out and restitutions to make. You may well spend- indeed you had better spend- the rest of your life proving your repentance by its permanence. But change, growth, renewal, repentance can come for you as instantaneously as it did for Alma and the Sons of Mosiah.”

What needs to be fixed in our lives? What are we doing that is wrong? Or perhaps, it’s what more do we need to be doing?

We need to remember what has been sacrificed for our time here on this earth. We need to look around us and acknowledge Heavenly Father as our God. We need to know of the love of Jesus Christ, our Savior. And we need to repent and come unto Him, not tomorrow or the next day. But today.

I think that I could sufficiently end here but I had called brother Chapin and he said to be sure to include thoughts about my scripture study. I humbly bare testimony that I never knew the power of God until I feasted upon His word. Indeed, it is an iron rod, immovable and constant, leading to the fruit which is sweeter than any other.

The story is said of a donkey who fell into a well. The farmer knew there was no way to get him out and as the well needed to be filled anyways, he grabbed his shovel and started putting dirt in. The donkey was screaming, but scoop after scoop the noise resided. More and more dirt went in and then miraculously, the donkey walked out of the well. You see the donkey realized if he could just step up on and over the dirt he could slowly climb out of the well.

Life is going to throw lots of dirt at us. How will we rise above? How do we move and step up? May I suggest it’s by filling ourselves with the Holy Word and pressing onward and upward. I say filling, not reading, but filling. Not on some days of the week, but everyday. May I compare it to Dairy Queen. If you go to DQ every day and get a buster bar (chocolate fudge, ice cream, peanuts then covered in a delicious chocolate shell) you are going to be 500 lbs. And you are going to be happy. Blissfully happy. Our spirits need fattening up. Besides the scriptures, I love the Ensign, I love the Friend, Primary Teaching Manuals, books by the Apostles and Church Published Scripture helps. Study helps like Doctrines of The Gospel Student Manual (Religion 430) and all the student manuals for the different books of scripture are dilly bars, blizzards and frozen soft serve cakes. If you partake, you will be complete. On a more serious note, these are the words that will help us through each day no matter what happens. These are the books that will help us to see clearly through the mud and help cleanse our souls.

I think that as we study the scriptures it can be very overwhelming. There is so much to know, so much to understand- but I bear testimony that as we set and strive to reach our righteous goals, our Father in Heaven will pour out blessings we can scarce contain. For me, I found it easiest to go through the pronunciation guide and find out everything possible I could about each entry. Doing this led me to so many questions. As I searched for answers to my questions I realized quite a marvelous thing in my life. I felt peace, strength, quiet resolve. It led me to look for more service and missionary opportunities. I remember one time just touching my Bible and feeling an overpowering feeling that this book was true, but not just that, I felt a physical sensation of my heart being stronger and my blood flowing faster than if I were exercising. I bear testimony that truly searching the word of God will not lead at a dead end or empty hole. It will lead us back to our Father and Jesus Christ and give us happiness that cannot be described.

I repeat. What needs to be fixed in our lives? What are we doing that is wrong? Or perhaps, it’s what more do we need to be doing?

May I humbly suggest that happiness lies in knowing God. To know God is to know His words. Today is the day to find happiness. Of this I bear testimony, in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

1 comment :

*Chris*Stina*Aiko*Jacinda* said...

Great talk! You better be careful. If you move back to Utah, you do realize that you will be snatched up into one of the General Presidencies (Relief Society or Primary), dont you?

Seriously, it was that good. I could see you on the TV during General Conference.