Sunday, March 29, 2015

Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority

I typed this post once, saved it, and then went back to add a graphic and it was gone - no where to be found.  So I had to retype it.  If this talk has many errors or doesn't make sense - you'll know why.  Happy Reading :)
by Elder Richard G. Scott

"Despite all of the negative challenges we have in life, we must take time to actively exercise our faith.  Such exercise invites the positive, faith-filled power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ into our lives.
"Our Father in Heaven has given us tools to help us come unto Christ and exercise faith in His Atonement.  When these tools become fundamental habits, they provide the easiest way to find peace in the challenges of mortality.  Today I have chosen to discuss four of these tools.  As I speak, consider evaluating your personal use of each tool; then seek the guidance of the Lord to determine how you could make better use of each one of them."

There is a wonderful woman, Carleen Tanner, who teaches parenting classes in Idaho.  She teaches a class with a theme very similar to this talk-  Elder Scott calls them tools, she calls them table legs.  Without all 4 legs, you would have one wobbly table.  In her most recent classes, Sister Tanner mentions Elder Scott's talk.  You can find the notes from this particular class HERE.  
She suggests that as we read this talk, we "take a piece of paper, fold the paper in half, and at the top of the first column write “To-do”; and at the top of the second column write “Blessings”.  As you read each section of this talk, write down everything that is a ‘to-do’" and also the 'blessings that come when we apply and use these tools in our lives.

So that is exactly what I have done.  (There are many many more to-do's and promised blessings that have been given, I have only listed the things mentioned in this talk including the footnotes.)

-THE TOOLS-

1. PRAYER
-TO-DO's -
 - Converse with your Father in Heaven often.
-Make time every day to share your thoughts and feelings with Him.
- Tell Him everything that concerns you.  
He is interested in the most important as well as the most mundane facets of your life.
-Safeguard your children by arming them morning and night with the power of family prayer.
-Protect your children from daily worldly influences by fortifying them with the powerful blessings that result from family prayer.
-Family prayer should be a nonnegotiable priority in your daily life.

-BLESSINGS-
-You heart will fill with peace, buoyant peace.
-That peace will focus an eternal light on your struggles.
-It will help you to manage those challenges from an eternal perspective.

2. SCRIPTURE STUDY
-TO-DO's -
-Study the word of God in the scriptures and the words of the living prophets.
-(In order) to know what the voice of the Divine sounds and feels like, read His words, study the scriptures, and ponder them.
-Make them an integral part of everyday life.
-If you want your children to recognize, understand, and act on the promptings of the Spirit, you must study the scriptures with them.  (Family Scripture Study)
-Don't yield to Satan's lie that you don't have time to study the scriptures.
-Take time to study them.
Feasting upon the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media.
-Reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God.

-BLESSINGS-
(Most are listed in  the Footnotes- not all are listed)
-(We will have)whisperings from the Spirit to our souls.
-(We will get) Answers to our questions.
-We learn of the blessings which come through keeping God's commandments.
-We gain a sure testimony of our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and Their love for us.
-When combined with prayer, we can of a certainty know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
-Our burdens will be made lighter.
-There will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord
-A strengthened resolve to walk in obedience to His commandments
-A stronger testimony of the the living reality of the Son of God
-Reverence in our homes will increase
-Mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow.
-The spirit of contention will depart
-Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom
-Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents
-Righteousness will increase.
Faith, hope, and charity - the pure love of Christ - will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.
-Peace will prevail in your life.  . . You will find peace in the turmoil around you and strength to resist temptations.
-You will develop strong faith in the grace of God and know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all will be made right according to God's timing.

3. FAMILY HOME EVENING
-TO-DO's -
 - Do not make your family home evening an afterthought of a busy day (plan accordingly for it)
-Decide that Monday night your family will be together in the home for the evening.
-Do not let employment demands, sports, extracurricular activities, homework, or anything else become more important than that time you spend together at home with your family.
-The structure of your evening is not as important as the time invested.
-The gospel should be taught both formally and informally.
-Make it a meaningful experience for each member of the family.
-Family home evening should be a precious time to bear testimony in a safe environment; to learn teaching, planning, and organizational skills; to strengthen family bonds; to develop family traditions; to talk to each other and more important, to have a marvelous time together!

-BLESSINGS-
-Stress taken away
-Directions given for our lives
-Protection added to our homes

4. TEMPLE ATTENDANCE
-TO-DO's -
(Again See Footnotes)
 - If you don't have a temple recommend, qualify to get one
-When you have a recommend, use it often.
-Schedule a regular time to be in the temple.  Don't let anyone or anything prevent you from being there.
-Be a temple-attending people
-Attend the temple as frequently as personal circumstances allow
-Keep a picture of the temple in your home that your children may see it.
-Teach (your children) about the purposes of the house of the Lord.
-Have (your children )plan from their earliest years to go there and remain worthy of that blessings
-Look to the temple of the Lord as the greatest symbol of your membership
-While you are in the temple, listen to the words of the ordinances, ponder them, pray about them, and seek to understand their meaning.
-Seek Him there.

-BLESSINGS-
-Come to understand the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ
-More blessings will come from providing your own family names in the temple.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"These four tools are fundamental habits for securing your life in the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Remember our Savior is the Prince of Peace.  Peace in this mortal life comes from His atoning sacrifice.  When we are consistently praying morning and night, studying our scriptures daily, having weekly family home evening, and attending the temple regularly, we are actively responding to His invitation to 'come unto Him'.  The more we develop these habits, the more anxious is Satan to harm us but the less is his ability to do so."
"I'm not suggesting that all of life's struggles will disappear as you do these things.  We came to mortal life precisely to grow from trials and testing.  Challenges help us become more like our Father in Heaven, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes it possible to endure those challenges.  I testify as we actively come unto Him, we can endure every temptation, every heartache, every challenge we face. . . "

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