Posts Tagged 'Potential'

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 – 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

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 3

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

Part of the role of a father, and especially of God who is our Father in heaven, is to be a creator. Genesis 1:1 reads, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Likewise, in Doctrine and Covenants 76:24 we read, “That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.” God is the creator of all things. We need to reflect on the things that we choose to create in this life, to be sure they are good. There are many things, that were first created by God and have since been altered by man for that which is not good. This also means that we cannot idle away the precious time that we have here. The modern prophets have counseled many times for us to be anxiously engaged in good causes and to strive to do the work of the Lord in our daily lives. In addition, we need to do our best to learn about these wonderful creations of God, because as Doctrine and Covenants 132 states (mentioned previously), we have the potential to be a creator for eternity. Our knowledge will bring us closer to understanding how it is that God created the amazing world we have around us. Again we read in John 1:3, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” There is nothing, in its most basic elements, that was not created by God. We do have the potential to make wonderful and perfect things of our own worlds without number.

Another attribute of God, is that He is omnipotent, or all-powerful. In Matthew 19:26, we read, “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” I think there are many in the world who try to find a problem with the idea of God because of this point of doctrine. Impossible is man’s idea, instilled by Satan to stop us from reaching the potential that we have. The natural man in us, would think that surely God could not do this one thing for us, which we feel would ultimately bring us joy. It is not true. 1 Nephi 7:12 reads, “Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” We need to believe in God, act in faith, and reflect on the things that He has done for us. In Jeremiah 32:17 we read, “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:”. There are many things in this life, that we say we are incapable of doing. Especially those things that the Lord asks of us. This is not so. We have the potential to have all power. The power of God is the priesthood. In Doctrine and Covenants 11:30 we read of the priesthood when it says, “But verily, verily, I say unto you, that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name. Amen. (emphasis added)” We can be given power of God in this life. How do we use the power that has already been given to us? To answer this question, we can look to the power of God as a creator which has been given to all people in the ability to bear children. Do we abuse this power or treat it with the sacred respect that it deserves? I know that the priesthood power, which was given to men in ancient times, has been restored to the earth. This power is there for righteous and worthy men to bear all the power that God gives to mankind. Men who have the authority to use this power of God, should consider how they make use of it. If we can learn to honor and use the priesthood power well, we have the potential to have all the power of God after this life.

(Coming tomorrow: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 4)

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

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 2

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

As I mentioned previously, we are all children of God. In other words, God is the Father of all mankind. To reiterate this point of doctrine, in Doctrine and Covenants 84:83 we read, “For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.” We also learn in the Doctrine and Covenants, that we have the potential to be parents of our earthly children forever as well as parents of spiritual children. In Section 132 we read the following:

19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. (emphasis added)

Along with all the other promises listed here, we have the potential to have “a continuation of the seeds forever and ever”. Since our potential is to be parents for eternity and to an continuing number of spirits, we need to strive to live up to our earthly potential as parents. The scriptures teach us a lot of things about how God is as a parent to us. In Proverbs 4:1 we read, “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.” Jesus told others that His Father was His teacher. In Luke 2:49 it says, “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” The Savior wanted to teach as His Father had taught Him. Likewise, in John 8:28 he said, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” As He taught Jesus, He teaches us. In Jacob 4:10 we read, “Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.” God gives us instruction, counsels or teaches us, so that we can know what is right and good. As parents, we need to be giving our own children the instruction that will lead them back to their Father in Heaven and help them to reach the potential that they each have. Proverbs 6:20 reads, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother”. As our Father, God gives us commandments or rules that we need to follow to be kept safe and have a fullness of joy now as well as in our futures eternally. Parents should give their children boundaries and rules that will keep them safe and happy. In addition to teaching us and giving us rules, our Father in heaven is always listening. In Matthew 6:6, we read, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” God leaves his lines of communication open for us always. He listens to all our concerns and successes. He hears our pleas and then gives us the things he knows we need. As parents, we need to be the best listeners for our children. We need to be there for our children in times of need and in the good times. Parents should listen to the pleas of their own children and do all they can to give them what they know will enrich and uplift their lives.

As our Father, God has laid out a plan for us and yet given us the opportunity to choose if we will follow it. In Matthew 7:21 we read, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Our Father in Heaven has a plan for His children and expectations he wants us to meet within that plan. As earthly parents, we should also have a worthwhile plan for our children. We should teach them what our expectations are as parents, help them to understand that plan and then allow them to decide for themselves if they will follow it. Another thing our loving Father in Heaven does for us is found in Ephesians 6:4 which reads, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The Lord nurtures and admonishes us. Parents striving to live their potential, do not stir up the hearts of their children, but instead, they nurture them and then give advise and reprimands when necessary to help their children to know what is right. Going right along with that, 1 Thessalonians 2:11 says, “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,”. Parents should give comfort to their children, as well as exhort them and give them a charge to do what is right, the way that God does to us. It is important that we as parents, do not let our children go astray without attempts to help them see the error of their ways. I think in todays world, this is something parents are less likely to do. The example is given to us in Hebrews 12:7, which says, “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” We are chastened by God when we are sinning. Parents have a duty to chasten their children with love and kindness, so that they might be persuaded to return to the things that are righteous and good. Because fatherhood is one of the overarching roles of God, it is very important that we really try to work on these things as earthly parents in order to reach our own potential.

(Coming tomorrow: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 3)

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

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 1

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 second question comes from a talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, which he gave in the Saturday morning session of conference. He talked about what we might say we regret as our mortal life draws to a close. The question that came to my mind is am I living up to my potential? In other words, am I becoming the person that God wants me to be, as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a worker, and so on. This question is one that requires some serious soul searching and sincere honesty with ourselves. I had no idea the kind of study this question would have me doing. Sorry for lack of posting over the past few weeks, but this one topic was the reason for it because it is really that good (the topic, not my post). I have attempted to break this post down over a few days, so that my readers can take it a little less at a time.

To answer this question, we have to know what that potential is, that each of us has. Ultimately, this is between God and each individual. There are, however, some scriptures that teach us some general guidelines to the potential we have. As I studied this, I felt that this can be an overwhelming list of things that we may feel we have to be perfect at now. This is not the case. This life is a time for us to progress line upon line, precept upon precept. The point of this is to know where we should be headed and to gauge if we are on the right path or if our lives need to be adjusted.

We are spirit children of a loving Father in Heaven. In Psalms 82:6 we read, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” As children of God, we have the potential to become as our Father and receive all that He has to offer us, just as we have the potential in life to become like our earthly parents if we choose to do so. In Romans 8:17, we read, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Our potential to become as our Father in Heaven, must be chosen by us, just as being like our earthly parents is our choice. In 3 Nephi 9:17 the Lord teaches, “And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.” Through the power of the atonement, we have the power to be given an inheritance in the kingdom of God. In order to receive that, we must believe in the Lord. If we believe and follow His ways and commandments, we become the sons and daughters of God after this life by receiving all that he has to offer us. In Doctrine and Covenants 88, it was revealed what would happen at the end of the Savior’s earthly mission (those things that still remain to finish this work):

106 And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the seventh angel, saying: It is finished; it is finished! The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.
107 And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him.

The reward for those who believe and follow Jesus Christ, is that they will be made equal with the Lord in all things. We have the potential to be equal in godship, in power, in glory and all that He is.

The potential that God has for us, is to become Gods like Him. What, therefore, are the characteristics of God? What are his eternal roles? This is something that you could really study for the rest of your life and probably not know truly all that He is, but for the purposes of this post, I have turned to a list of characteristics found in the study helps of the scriptures. In the Bible Dictionary we read that God is the, “supreme Governor of the universe and the Father of mankind. … God created all things and is the ruler of the universe, being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent (through his Spirit) … The God of the scriptures is a holy being. … a being who is concerned for the welfare of mankind, and a Personage who hears and answers prayers.” From this we see that God is a governor, a father, and a creator. He has the qualities of being omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere in spirit), holy, caring, a listener and a helper. In the Topical Guide, words to see also under the heading “God”, add that He is eternal, a giver of gifts, intelligent and wise, just, a law-maker or standards-maker, loving, merciful, perfect, and a worker. These are just a few of the many things that He is and that we have the potential to be.

We have the potential to be a governor or a ruler. God gave our first parents, and all mankind, the authority to be a ruler on earth. In Genesis 1:26 we read, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” God has dominion over all things and has given us dominion over the things of the earth, so that we can learn to become more like him. How do we use the authority over God’s creations? We need to be watchful of the type of dominion we use and be sure to treat these amazing creations as God would have us treat them. Psalms 47:7 reads, “For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.” If we prove ourselves worthy with all that we have been entrusted with, we will be able to become Kings and Queens, even as God is King of all.

(Coming tomorrow: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 2)

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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