Archive for the 'Conference Questions' Category

Conference Questions – Following Christ

Recently, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I watch conference, I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior. I love to take notes. When I first started being a note taker for learning in church settings, I would write everything I possibly could down. Including what the speakers said, as well as the little lessons the spirit would teach me during the talks. Once that became a habit, I learned that I should really be focused on writing down the things that I am personally taught by the spirit. So, with that as my focus for note taking, I found myself writing down questions that I should be able to answer. The thought then came to me that these are questions that I could attempt to study on this blog. To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

My final question in this series, comes from a talk given by Robert D. Hales during the Sunday afternoon session of conference. His talk was called, “Being a More Christian Christian“. As the title suggests, his talk discussed what it is to be a Christian and how we can do it more in our lives. My question was posed by Elder Hales during this talk, and it is what kind of Christian am I? Likewise, how am I doing in my quest to follow Christ?

What is a Christian? A Christian is one who follows Christ. It was a title given to those who believed in Jesus Christ both in the New Testament times as well as in the times of the Book of Mormon. In Acts 11:26 we read, “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Likewise in Alma 46:15 we read, “And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come.” Elder Hales described a Christian as one who took upon themselves the name of Christ.

I love that his second question uses the word quest. A quest is a long and difficult search for something. To seek after Jesus Christ is a quest. Having the faith to continue hoping for something that cannot be scientifically proven is difficult. Maintaining a hope in the atonement when none of us were there to witness the events for ourselves, is not easy. If it was easier, there would be more people willing to believe in Jesus Christ.

How do we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and then take the steps necessary to seek for him through the difficult and long journey of our lives? We do this by first making the covenants that we have been commanded to make. We start the quest with baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is the first steps the Savior took in his ministry and must be the first we take as well. Then, we continue in that quest, by following his example and living as he lived.

A true Christian strives daily to become more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This means looking at ourselves to see what things we need to change in us to become more like our Savior. This requires quite a bit of humility on our part. The Savior taught us the value of humility in Matthew 18:4 which says, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” We need to recognize that we are far from perfect. We need to gain a desire to change our natural ways and become better. Conversion comes in repenting and returning to the Savior whenever we find we have lost our way, even in the slightest. The quest to follow Christ is full of moments of reflection and repentance and we should check ourselves to see if we are doing this often enough to be truly converted to Christ.

Elder Hale’s talk caused me to question if I am one who responds right away. I would hope that I am now. I have had many times in my past, when I have been asked to do something that would show my discipleship to Christ, but I have hesitated to heed the call. Not that I did not respond, but I did hesitate. The more I learn of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more willing I am to listen and follow immediately. I have struggled internally when it has come to changing a habit I know to be wrong, but I have eventually followed through with feelings to change. I think that the parable of the ten virgins is applicable to this situation. We have to respond now and avoid procrastination. This applies to changes in our lives as well as to calls of duty assigned to us, or even simple inspirations. In Matthew 25:10 we read, “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” We miss out on the blessings now, when we hesitate to respond. Being a more Christian Christian means responding right away to those things that the Lord would have us do. I hope to be able to become the kind of person who can react immediately in all things that Christ would have me do. A true Christian, will act upon direction and inspiration immediately

A Christian Christian will do the work of the Lord. That work is to “bring to pass the immorality and eternal life of man” (see Moses 1:39). We do this by sharing the gospel with others. We do this by behaving as Christ would, and bring others to him by sharing his light. We do not have to share the gospel with words in order to this, but we do need to be living the gospel so that others can see by our example, the better way. In 3 Nephi 12, the Savior taught a portion of the sermon at the temple (see also the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5)

14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
15 Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;
16 Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

We can do the work of the Lord at all times, in all things, and in all places. We start in our homes, with ourselves and then our families. Then we can do His work at church, at work, in the community and so on. The Lord will provide the opportunities for us, if we will look faithfully for them. As a seeking Christian, I must ask myself if I am standing as an example of the Savior’s light in each area of my life. Am I patient at home? Am I loving at church? Am I kind at the grocery store? Am I caring and considerate in my neighborhood? What can I work on today to be a better light to the world? Elder Hales proposed several areas for us to consider how we are doing. These areas are love, faith, sacrifice, caring, service, patience, peace, forgiveness, conversion, and endurance. These things will bring us closer to Christ. We should take a look at where we are, study how Christ was in that thing, make a plan or goal for ourselves, and then seek for the way to become more like Him. It truly is a quest and we cannot expect to become the perfect Christians overnight. It will be something that we spend our whole lives working on. The faithful Christian is one who recognizes this, doesn’t find failure in not being perfect right away, and strives each day to do more than the day before.

I am grateful to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I have faith in Him. I believe Him. I want to be like Him. I know that if I reflect on how I am showing my faithfulness as a Christian, the Lord will help me to see ways that I can improve and become more converted to Him. I am grateful for my weaknesses and the opportunities that I have to learn and grow. I am so glad that I have a Lord who is patient with me and allows me the opportunity to make mistakes, repent of my shortcomings and try harder each day. I know that it is a blessing to be a Christian and I hope to become more of a Christian throughout my life.

Conference Questions – Service for a Better Life

Recently, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I watch conference, I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior. I love to take notes. When I first started being a note taker for learning in church settings, I would write everything I possibly could down. Including what the speakers said, as well as the little lessons the spirit would teach me during the talks. Once that became a habit, I learned that I should really be focused on writing down the things that I am personally taught by the spirit. So, with that as my focus for note taking, I found myself writing down questions that I should be able to answer. The thought then came to me that these are questions that I could attempt to study on this blog. To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

In my last post I posed a question that came to mind during a talk by Linda K. Burton, the Relief Society General President. Her talk was titled, “First Observe, Then Serve”. It was a great talk and really had me thinking a lot. She told a story from her own life, when she had wanted to go to the temple, but was feeling a bit too busy. She realized the need for her to go at that time and went, even though her mind was on how she would get back the time lost. She talked of how a younger sister sitting next to her had expressed feelings of nervousness and asked her for help. It was in that moment that she realized God knew that she needed the opportunity to serve and she felt blessed for it. The question that this story raised in my mind, was do I notice how much I really need to be able to serve others, so that my life can be better?

This question almost seems to contradict my previous question and answer from this series, which addressed the issue of serving for the Lord and not ourselves. It is not a contradiction, however. The ability to serve others is huge. I can’t count the number of times that I have heard people feel such a lack in their lives, when they are physically incapable of doing things for others. Our ability to grow to become like our Father in Heaven, depends on the things we choose to do in this life. I don’t think that anyone who studies the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, could say that his life was anything other than a life of service to others. We become like God, by living like His Son. The Savior taught us of this in Luke 22:27 when he said, “For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” The Savior served all people and He is no doubt the greatest. We have been told to use our time to serve. In Galatians 5:13 we read, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” There is greater freedom found in loving service to others.

On the other hand, we become like the enemy to God, when we have the capacity to serve and we choose not to do so. That is, we become damned in our own progression, which is the state that Satan is permanently in. He has been stopped and cannot go any further towards becoming like God. In 2 Nephi 9:27 we read, “But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!” Wasting our precious time in this life designed to learn and grow, will only bring the rewards that are like Satan’s rewards.

How do we recognize the importance of service in our growth and progression in this life? I think the only way to do this, is to make service a matter of faith. Do it. We will not learn the life lessons from strictly learning of service at church or at home. We need to take an active role and serve others in faith. That is when we will feel the improvement of self that surely comes from looking outside of our own selfish ways and seeing and filling the needs of others. If we do not have our own testimony of the importance of service in our lives, then we are not serving enough. We live in a time where the world pushes selfishness upon us. We cannot give in to the waste of this life that the world lures us with. I know that I have been greatly blessed when I have hit a rut in life, through service to others. I know that we can learn more and become better people when we strive to serve. I also know that we can make a great impact on the world around us, as well as the work of the Lord, if we faithfully look for ways to serve.

Conference Questions – Purpose for Serving

Recently, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I watch conference, I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior. I love to take notes. When I first started being a note taker for learning in church settings, I would write everything I possibly could down. Including what the speakers said, as well as the little lessons the spirit would teach me during the talks. Once that became a habit, I learned that I should really be focused on writing down the things that I am personally taught by the spirit. So, with that as my focus for note taking, I found myself writing down questions that I should be able to answer. The thought then came to me that these are questions that I could attempt to study on this blog. To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

On Sunday morning of conference weekend, Sister Linda K. Burton, the new General Relief Society President, gave a great talk entitled, “First Observe, Then Serve”. It focused on seeing the needs of those around us and serving in Christ-like ways to fill those needs. It reminded me a lot of one of the cartoons that I have watched many times with my kids. In the movie Robots, there is a phrase that is used throughout and is a main point for the film. It is, “See a need, fill a need.” Ever since I first saw that movie, that thought has often come to mind as I have tried to serve others. Anyway, the thought is along the same line as the message of Sister Burton’s talk. In her talk she said the following:

Sometimes we are tempted to serve in a way that we want to serve and not necessarily in the way that is needed at the moment. When Elder Robert D. Hales taught the principle of provident living, he shared the example of buying a gift for his wife. She asked, “Are you buying this for me or for you?” If we adapt that question to ourselves as we serve and ask, “Am I doing this for the Savior, or am I doing this for me?” our service will more likely resemble the ministry of the Savior. The Savior asked, and so should we, “What will ye that I shall do unto you?”

My next question in this series is do I serve for the Savior or myself? I hadn’t really put a lot of thought into this question before hearing this. Then I was talking to a friend afterwards and she said that she had been feeling selfish in her service, because she wanted to serve to make herself feel better. I had never thought one way or the other about it, but I know now that it is a great question to ask ourselves. True Christ-like service is not done to help us with our own issues. It is true that we can be greatly blessed because of our service and the blessings may be that our own problems seem easier to bear, but we cannot choose to do service with that as the goal. Rather the goal of service, should be to help another without expecting anything in return.

I love the scripture found in Mosiah 2:17, which reads, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” When we choose to do service for God, our entire perspective changes. We will begin to ask ourselves if this thing we are doing is something that God would do if He were standing there in that moment. We will open our hearts to greater direction from the spirit as well. When we do this, we will learn to have charity, or the pure love of Christ, for those we choose to serve. That is because we cannot serve as God would serve, without becoming more like God.

As I pondered this question, I was reminded of Matthew 6:24 when it says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Usually when I think of this scripture, I am focused on serving the Lord or Satan. However, I think it applies here as well. If we are serving to get something out of it for ourselves, we are serving ourselves. We are the master then. This verse teaches us that we cannot be serving God as well as another master, even if it is us. If our focus is doing good so that we can get something out of it, we leave no room for service to or for God. It’s in moments like these that I feel the Savior would say to us what he taught his disciples many times during his ministry. It would sound something like, “You wanted this to be the outcome, well then, you have your reward.” If only we would recognize the greatness of the blessings that the Lord will give us for serving for Him instead of for us. If we truly knew what could come as a result of serving for the right reason, I am sure there would not be this desire to do things for ourselves.

I know that sometimes we get caught up in life and as we repent we desire to do the things that God has asked of us. It can be difficult to jump right in with the perfect perspective on service to others. At times like these, we need to leave ourselves out of it, and make our service a matter of acting in faith to God. In Mosiah 7:33 we read, “But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.” We need to be diligent and do our best, then the Lord will provide for our needs.

Our service to God, is how we show Him that we love him. In Doctrine and Covenants 42:29 we read, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me. . .”. This thought is found all throughout the scriptures. In John 21:17 we read, “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” I know that I will be serving for the right reasons if I am doing it out of love for the Lord. In Deuteronomy 10 we read the following:

12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? (emphasis added)

We worship God, when we love and serve Him. I know that as we strive to serve and love God, the desire to serve others will come naturally to us. I am far from great at this, but I know that even service to those in our own homes is of great importance and should not be overlooked. This is where most of my service happens on a daily basis. I know now that I should really think about the reasons I choose to serve those in my home. If I am doing it to make myself feel better, then it is not being done for the right reasons. If we can be more mindful of the real needs of those around us, we will do better to serve them the way the Lord would have us serve. I hope that more of us can find a way to take the natural selfishness out of our daily acts of service, so that we can truly make this world a better place.

Conference Questions – Doing Our Part

Recently, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I watch conference, I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior. I love to take notes. When I first started being a note taker for learning in church settings, I would write everything I possibly could down. Including what the speakers said, as well as the little lessons the spirit would teach me during the talks. Once that became a habit, I learned that I should really be focused on writing down the things that I am personally taught by the spirit. So, with that as my focus for note taking, I found myself writing down questions that I should be able to answer. The thought then came to me that these are questions that I could attempt to study on this blog. To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke in the Saturday afternoon session, about the honeybees from his father’s peach orchard. He talked of how so many of them worked together to make the honey. What Elder Ballard said was that each honeybee only contributed about one-twelth of a teaspoon of honey to its hive. It seems insignificant alone, but put together with the contributions of from all the bees in a hive, it amounted to much more. He related the work of each individual bee and the outcome of the work of the entire hive, to our work as saints in the church of God. My third question in this series, is am I doing my part in the beehive-like community of the church? (See “Be Anxiously Engaged”.)

What is the duty of those who have become a part of the Church of Christ? Our duty is to magnify our callings. Our callings within the church can be many. This is because the purpose of the church is so huge. President Monson said the following:

I would hope that we would not lose the real objective of our cherished opportunities to serve. That objective, that eternal goal, is the same spoken of by the Lord and found in the Pearl of Great Price: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39)

May we ever remember that the mantle of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cloak of comfort but rather a robe of responsibility. Our duty, in addition to saving ourselves, is to guide others to the celestial kingdom of God.

… I pause when I think of the words of President John Taylor (1808–87): “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (2001), 164.)

Just as the honeybees, we are all tasked with specific responsibilities within the church. If we have not received any callings, we should seek to have one, so that we can serve as the Lord would have us. Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, requires playing an active role in our salvation, as well as the salvation of others. As for myself, I have the calling of being what is called a visiting teacher. This means I have been given specific women to watch over and serve. I have also been given the responsibility to assist the president of our women’s organization, the Relief Society, as her secretary. In addition, all members of the LDS faith, accept the duty of sharing the gospel with others as moved upon by the spirit. I also have the callings that come with being a wife and mother, which are included in my duties as a faithful member of Christ’s church. What should we be doing in those callings to magnify them and truly do our part?

In 3 Nephi 27:21, the Lord taught the people of the Americas, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;”. What did the Savior do for others? He looked for the needs and then helped to bless and heal them. He taught the gospel to them. He helped others to see the potential they had by giving them opportunities to serve. Most of all, he loved others with the greatest love, the Love of God. The Savior’s call was to do these for all. I believe that we are given specific callings over certain people or groups in the church, so that we can learn how to do these things on a lesser scale than the Savior was called to serve. As the Son of God, He had the power of God, and was physically able to handle serving masses. God will help us to be able to serve those we have been called to serve. When we come to understand and fulfill our callings, we will be given the capacity to reach beyond those specific people, to others who are in need.

We, as disciples of Jesus Christ, need to be doing all that we can wisely do, to look for the needs of those we are called to serve. One of the things that Elder Ballard said related to this teaches us how we can strive to do our part. He said, “In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. Stay focused, just like the honeybees focus on the flowers from which to gather nectar and pollen. If you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible.” Prayer is only the first step. The Lord knows others better than we will ever know them. He also knows us best, and knows what we can handle. He would not ask us to do anything, that He cannot help us to achieve. We can strive to do our part, by honestly asking how we can serve and have a heart that is ready to follow the inspiration that He gives us in answer. Then we show the faith, as we focus our minds on that possibility for inspiration and the results of it.

I think that one of the things this talk really made me think about is how much I serve with a willing heart. It is easier to serve when someone else asks us for help, but the greater service, is to really put my heart into it each day. We need to keep some scriptures in mind related to this. First, Mosiah 2:17 says, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” When we serve others, we serve God, because we help Him to fulfill His work. Second, the greatest commandments are given to us in Matthew 22.

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Love for God and love for fellowmen will give us the drive to do our part. We need to develop a Christ-like love for others, so that our care and concern for them, both physically and spiritually, will give us the desire to serve them. I think that if we can keep these principles in mind, and truly ask with a sincere desire in our hearts, we will be doing our part. I know that there are a lot of times in my life, when the business of everyday gets in the way and I loose this focus. It’s a good thing that this is a life of progressing line upon line and not reaching perfection in a moment. I am grateful for the mercy of a loving Heavenly Father, who has afforded me the opportunity to repent of my selfishness and turn back to doing His work. I know that it is a blessing to live a life of commitment to doing our part. I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for his church. I am so glad that I have the opportunity to serve within the church. I know that I grow the most, when I am devoted to doing my part and being mindful of others. I know that my little acts may not amount to much on their own, but that if I continue faithful, the work of the Lord will move forward as the great and marvelous work it is.

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 9

(To view the previous posts for this question, start here: Our Potential Part 1)

One of the all-encompassing attributes of God for us to strive towards, is perfection. God is a perfect being. His plan for us is perfect. 2 Samuel 22:31 says, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” Likewise, in Proverbs 30:5 we read, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” There is purity in everything He has ever spoken. As we learn in Deutornomy 32:4, God is right and true to perfection. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” We can fully depend on what He has said, to protect us. In 1 John 1:5 it reads, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” God is the creator of light and the source of all light. In his perfect light, he is the dispeller of all darkness. He is perfectly good and perfectly whole. We have been given a charge by the Savior in Matthew 5:48 which says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” While to some this verse may seem daunting, to me, this verse gives me great hope in the person that I can become. I can be perfect, otherwise why would the Savior have said this. The key is remembering that our perfection will come over time and through eternity. In Doctrine and Covenants 67:13 we are taught, “Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.” This life is just a life of preparation, we cannot become perfect now. We can however, strive towards perfection, by working on our shortcomings with patience in ourselves and with God. We have the example of Jesus Christ to look towards and we have been given the laws to follow, which help us to perfection. Christ’s love, charity, is pure. Colossians 3:14 reads, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” We need to have the love of Christ in our hearts, in order to become more perfect. Just as God’s words are pure and we can trust in Him, we should strive for all that we say to be pure, right and completely true. We can strive to live in the light each day and do our best to dispel the darkness of our lives. This means, that we need to put ourselves in the best situations to have light, and avoid those things that we know are evil and wrong. As imperfect beings in mortality, God knows we are going to make mistakes, so in order for us to reach the potential of perfection, we have been given repentance through the power of the atonement. Doctrine and Covenants 76:69 teaches us about those who are a part of the first resurrection, when it says, “These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.” If we want to strive to be like God, we need to make use of repentance and the atonement every day of our lives.

God is a worker. We cannot number the works of God because they are so many. In Job 37:14 we read, “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” He started the work of our earthly existence, with the creation of our world. I am amazed every time I ponder on one of the amazing creations and works of God. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;”. His work is beautiful and leaves me with feelings of great reverence and awe. His work has continued throughout time and goes on today. We are a part of his work. The purpose of His work for us is learned in Moses 1:39, which reads, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” We live in an amazing era in the work of God. The prophecies of old are being fulfilled, such as that said in Isaiah 29:14. “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” Likewise, in 3 Nephi 21:9 we read, “For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.” The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is God’s marvelous work. God’s work is without end. God is not a being of idleness. If we are to work towards our potential to be like Him, we cannot be idle. Instead, we need to be an active part of the work of God. We need to be looking for ways to serve others. We need to be creating things of value in our lives. We need to further the work of God through building our testimonies, sharing the gospel, and doing work in the temple, so that all people can have the opportunity to choose eternal life.

These recent posts about our potential, are just a sprinkling of all that God is and all that we can become as His spirit children. I am grateful to have the opportunity to improve upon the person that I am and to become more like Him. It is so important for us to spend time learning the attributes of God and reflecting on our own lives to see where we are. We have been given the great opportunity to make the most of our time on earth. God did not send us here to idle away our days, or to wander aimlessly. He has shown us the way. He has given us the gospel and most especially His Son, Jesus the Christ, so that we might learn how we could live to be the best we can be. God as given us a glimpse of our eternal potential and just how amazing we can be. There are so many times in life, when I get down on myself for who I am or how I am behaving. I am so glad for the gospel and the ability to study the scriptures, which gives me a greater hope of who I will become someday if I am willing to try a little harder. I truly hope that more people will see their potential and turn to God where they can find hope, peace, love and joy.

To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 8

(To view the previous posts for this question, start here: Our Potential Part 1)

God is a law and standards maker. As mentioned before, God our father gives us commandments and boundaries to keep us safe and happy. In Doctrine and Covenants 132:21 we read, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.” God has established the law and He must be just in upholding it. He sets consequences for following the laws, as well as disobeying them. Because He is perfectly just, He must follow through with the consequences, whether they be blessings for the good or punishments for the bad. The pattern of laws and consequences, is an eternal pattern. In Doctrine and Covenants 88, we learn this about the kingdoms that will be rewarded to people after this life. Verse 38 teaches us, “And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.” God is bound by laws Himself because they are eternal. To become like God, we must learn how to obey and create laws and standards in our own lives. We become more like Him, when we live His laws with exactness. We also work towards our potential when we set goals and then give ourselves standards to live by in order to attain them. When appropriate, we should set standards for others as well, as with the case of our children as mentioned previously.

Along the same line as being a just judge and a law maker, God is merciful. In Deuteronomy 4:31 we read, “(For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.” God is merciful because he loves us. He does not forget the things that he promises to us and He gives us every opportunity to return to Him. This is always the case, for all people in all times and seasons. However, His mercy can only be applied to us, if we allow Him into our lives. In Psalms 103:17 it says, “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;”. God must fulfill the laws, as said before, but in His mercy, created a plan where we could be forgiven and have the choice to return to be with Him. In Alma 42:15 we learn, “And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.” Jesus Christ went through the atonement so that we all could have the mercy of God shown to us. In order to gain this god-like quality in this life, and ultimately to become perfect at it in the eternities, we need to become more merciful towards others. The Savior taught this to us in Luke 6:36 which reads, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. When others do wrong to us, intended or not, we need to have greater compassion towards them. Learning how to be more forgiving even with the worst offenses against us. This can be extremely difficult at times, but there is such a great blessing of peace and happiness that comes from being a forgiving person. I often reflect on the way that others treated the Savior during his ministry. He was ridiculed, persecuted to the fullest, and many times others desired to kill him to the point of his actual death. What amazing forgiveness he extended, when He, knowing the thoughts and desires of all men, asked God to forgive us all. Knowing the hatred and intentions of those men who condemned Him, He bled and died for the salvation of their souls. That was a perfect act of mercy and if I can only become a small portion of that, I know I will be blessed beyond measure for it.

(Coming tomorrow: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 9)

To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 7

(To view the previous posts for this question, start here: Our Potential Part 1)

Another attribute of God, is that He is eternal. Moroni 7:22 reads, “For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.” There is no beginning or end to God. It is hard for us to understand the eternal nature of God, because we look at the world in relation to time on our earth. I think an important thing to realize in relation to God’s eternal nature, is that He is unchanging and faithful. 1 Nephi 10:19 says, “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” Likewise, in Doctrine and Covenants 35:1 we read, “Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday, and forever.” And again in Doctrine and Covenants 20:17 it says, “By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them;”. We can depend on God to stay the same. 2 Timothy 2:19 teaches, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” There is a dependability that we can have with God, which we cannot have with any person on earth. The way to work on this attribute and strive towards this Godly potential, is to be a dependable person now. We need to be someone that others can depend on. More importantly, we need to be the kind of person that God can depend on. We need to work on our faith and stand firm in the gospel. This is not say that we don’t want to progress. Progression is a type of change. The good kind of change, is having a sure foundation and building upon that to become better. The kind of change that will have us leaving our path to our potential, is allowing our faith to waiver, turning back to the person we were before our conversion process began, returning to old habits, and so on. Becoming more like God, means that we have the kind of faith that will remain strong, even when the difficulties of life crash down upon us.

Through His eternal love for His children, God is a giver of gifts. In James 1:17 we read, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” A friend said once, that she imagines that God has a vast basket of blessings for each of and when we choose to live according to the laws He has given, the basket is turned over upon us, but that the blessings remain there is we choose not to have them through the way we choose to live. I believe that God desires to give us all that He has to offer us, which is everything really. As stated before, God gave the greatest gift to us in the giving of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. (See John 3:16) 1 John 5:11 reads, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” It is through this gift that we can receive eternal life. That combination, Eternal life through Jesus Christ, is the greatest gift of all the gifts of God. In Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 it teaches us, “And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” The gifts that God give to us, usually depend upon the life we choose to live. There are some gifts that are given to all, for being children of a loving Father. Every person is given the gift of some of the light of Christ within us. Every person is also given talents. We learn of this in 1 Corinthians 7:7 which reads, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” When we seek for greater gifts in the spirit of seeking to be more like God, we will be given more talents and other gifts. In order to work towards the potential of Godliness, we need to be more willing to give of what we have to others. When our children behave as we have asked them, we should give them gifts. This doesn’t mean giving physical gifts all the time, but more often than not, it is giving a greater witness of our love and appreciation for them. Give a hug. Give a note of thanks. Give a smile. Give time. We really should be willing to give of our abundance to all mankind. Giving gifts is one of the great ways that we can show others we love them and care for them.

Another attribute of God, which we can strive towards, is that He is just. In Deuteronomy 32:4 we read, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” God is the ultimate judge of all mankind. In that judgement, He is perfectly just. In Mosiah 29:12 we are taught, “Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just.” This is so true. Men are so easily swayed by their own backgrounds, beliefs and biases. Knowing that God is the one who will judge me in the end, gives me a much greater hope in receiving what I truly deserve. We can work towards becoming perfectly just as God is, by keeping our own judgements to righteous judgements. There are appropriate times for us to judge something or someone, but most of the time, we judge where we do not have a right to do so, and with motives that are anything but righteous. The Savior taught us a lesson regarding judging in his sermon at the temple, found in 3 Nephi 14.

1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he turned again to the multitude, and did open his mouth unto them again, saying: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (See also Matthew 7: the sermon on the mount)

We cannot judge others for things, when we are not perfect ourselves. So we learn to be more like God, when we restrain from judging others this way. Instead, we need to focus on forgiving others and seeing the good in them. We can work towards our potential by trying to see others through the loving perspective of their Father in Heaven, and as the people that they can become through His power.

(Coming tomorrow: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 8)

To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 6

(To view the previous posts for this question, start here: Our Potential Part 1)

To continue the study of the attributes of God:

7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

These verses from 1 John 4, are about God being loving. God is caring and kind. In Isaiah 63:7 it is written as, “I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.” And again in Jeremiah 31:3 we read, “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” There is no greater love than the love that God has for us. We learn of this love also in John 3:16, which reads, “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.” This was the ultimate sacrifice, which is evidence of God’s love for us. We can strive for that kind of love and the potential of having god-like love, by willing making sacrifices for others during our mortal lives. Sacrifices show that we are willing to put the well-being and happiness of others above our own selfish desires.

In addition, God shows his love by helping us to see the error of our ways. In Doctrine and Covenants 95:1 we read, “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you—”. The love of God, requires those loved to be chastened in order to become better and be kept safe. We show a greater and more god-like love, when we work to keep our loved ones safe from the destruction that Satan brings. It is important that we put aside the ways of the world (which would teach us not to say or do anything, and just watch our loved ones destroy themselves) and remember our duty to bring those who have strayed back to the way of the Lord, through loving persuasion and kindness.

One of the qualities that I hear of most as an attribute we should have is being charitable, which is the purest form of love. In 2 Nephi 26:30, we read, “Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.” To become like God, we need to develop our own charity. Charity, is having a heart full of love towards others. In 4 Nephi 1:15, after the Savior had left the Nephites, we read, “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” Striving to live in a way where we do not cause contention because we have such a great love for others, will bring us closer to our godly potential.

Going right along with love, God helps us. In Psalms 54:4 we read, “Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.” God does not love us from afar, but rather, is there to help those who allow Him into their lives. I cannot count the number of times that I have felt the help of God in my life. He is there both in the hard times of my life, as well as the good. We can work on this potential of being the greatest helper, by being an instrument in His hands now. When we have the gift of the Holy Ghost, as are living our best, inspiration will come to us as to how we can help others around us. God gives us many opportunities to love and serve His children. We cannot reach our potential, if we choose not to follow the promptings He gives us.

(Coming tomorrow: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 7)

To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 5

(To view the previous posts for this question, start here: Our Potential Part 1)

We are the spiritual offspring of God, and as such, we can become like Him. God is omnipresent or present everywhere in spirit. In 2 Corinthians 6:16 we read, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Our bodies are temples, made by God for us, to house our spirits. All people are born with the ability to receive inspiration from the spirit of God. If we make and keep the necessary covenants with God, we can be given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which allows us to be able to have the spirit of God with us at all times. God, as our loving Father, makes himself available to us whenever we are ready to receive Him. There are so many times in life, when I wish I could be in different places at the same time, each for good reasons. I think that to show we are striving for our potential to be like God and have the power to be wherever we may be needed at any time, we need to show that we can manage our time and energy wisely. Asking ourselves if we are doing the best things with our time, is the key to becoming aware of this. There was a talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, entitled “Good, Better, Best”, in which he explains the need to prioritize even just the good things in our lives, to learn what are the best things for us to do with out time and energy. In that talk, Elder Oaks starts by saying the following:

We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.

When we really take a look at ourselves and seek for our true potential, sometimes the good is just not enough. Elder Oaks goes on to say the following:

The First Presidency has called on parents “to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles. … The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place … in … this God-given responsibility.” The First Presidency has declared that “however worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.”

Part of seeking for the way to do the best, is to really know what sources will help us to know the best things we can be doing. Following the counsel of God’s appointed leaders for us, and moreover, following the personal inspiration of God through His Spirit, will let us know what the best things are that we can do now and ways in which we can become more like God.

We have the potential to become holy, even as God is holy. In Leviticus 19:2 we are taught the righteous standard of God. “Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.” We cannot be striving towards our potential, if we are not striving to be holy. In the Bible Dictionary it describes holiness in the following way:

. . . things or places were holy that were set apart for a sacred purpose; . . . Similarly a holy person meant one who held a sacred office. The Israelites were a holy people because they stood in a special relationship to Jehovah. Under the guidance of the Prophets it was seen that what distinguished Jehovah from the gods of the heathen was his personal character. The word holy therefore came to refer to moral character . . . in the writings of the Prophets it is clearly laid down that the value of worship in the eyes of God depends upon the personal character of the worshipper.

We can become holy as individuals, when we use all that we have been given (such as our minds, bodies, and talents) for sacred purposes. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear [or reverence] of God.” Turing our will to Gods and doing the things that He expects of us, will sanctify us and holiness will be the result.

(Coming tomorrow: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 6)

To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 4

(To view the previous posts for this question, start here: Our Potential Part 1)

God, our Heavenly Father, is omniscient or all-knowing. We therefore, have the potential to become all-knowing. In 1 Samuel 2:3 we read, “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.” God knows about everything thing he has created. In Moses 1:35 we read, “But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.” The Lord knows of every plant and animal. The Lord is aware of us. He knows us completely. As we work to be more like God, we need to work on knowing our own creations better. Do we recognize the things that we make with our hands and minds? Are we trying to get to know our children as well as God knows us? In Luke 16:15 we read, “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” God is aware of the deepest desires of our hearts. 1 Samuel 16:7 reads, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” Again in 1 Chronicles 28:9 we read, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” God knows more than just our desires. He knows what we need, more than we know what we need. In Matthew 6:8 we read, “Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” We need to become more in tune with our own relationships with our family and what they desire and need, by looking deeper. When we look outside of ourselves more, we will recognize the needs of others and be on the right path to becoming like God.

Since they go right along with being all-knowing, the next attributes we can strive to have more of, in order be like God, are the attributes of intelligence and wisdom. God is more than all-knowing, He is intelligent and uses that intelligence with perfect wisdom. God’s glory is intelligence. We learn this in Doctrine and Covenants 93:36, which says, “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” In Doctrine and Covenants 88:41 we read, “He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.” We cannot even begin to understand the things that God understands, because of the eternal and infinite nature of his intelligence. Mosiah 4:9 says, “Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” It would be outrageous for any person to consider himself as having more knowledge, intelligence or wisdom than God. There is so much more for us to learn than we could possibly imagine. In 2 Nephi 2:24 we learn that “all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.” Often times, the natural response to something difficult is to question why God would do something to us, or why He would allow something to happen to us. The question can always be answered with this scripture, and it is that God does all things in wisdom. He knows us, comprehends us as well as our pasts and futures. He knows what we will learn from every difficulty we face in life. In our search to become more like God and get closer to our potential, we should be seeking after greater knowledge and intelligence. Not the way the world would have it, but the way God can give it to us. We should seek to have the spirit with us, so that we can learn truth of all things. Then when we have more intelligence, we need to try to be wise with the choices we make. There is no point to having a greater understanding or comprehension, if we are not trying to use it wisely. The blessing of wise choices and actions, is that we are then capable of understanding and learning even greater things. God wants us to become more intelligent and wise and He will bless us if we strive for this with sincere desire and faith.

(Coming soon: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 5)

To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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